How to Buy A Used Car - Six Negotiating Tips

Everyone has bought or helped someone else buy a used car. It is usually how teenage boys get their first cars. If they are fortunate enough to have their father there to coach them, it is the lesson that they actually listen to and take to heart.

Because we frequently purchase used cars we all think we know how to negotiate with a car dealership. To some extent this is true. But consider this, used car sales people do this all day long. They likely make as many deals in one week as you will in a lifetime. So they are more practiced than you are. That is a given.

So it is wise to respect your adversary when buying a used car. The dealer will have many tactics and techniques to eke the best possible price out of your negotiation.

To be prepared to buy a used car, consider these six negotiating tips.

Typically buying a used car is the perfect setting for a negotiation. The buyer has limited assets and the seller is eager to get the car off his lot. Both parties are motivated to make a deal. The setting is ideal.

1. Define your objective. Never discuss price until you are you have found the car you want. Price may make a car appear attractive but that allure will fade when you see what you really wanted in the paper or another lot tomorrow or the next day.

2. Be prepared to buy. Make sure you know what the car would cost elsewhere before making an offer. There are several blue book resources and online shopping can give you a feeling for a fair asking price. The actual condition of the car you are considering will only tweak what the car should bring as compared to others that are available.

Remember, asking prices are marked up in anticipation of buyers negotiating discounts and offsets. When you find the used car you want get it checked out by your mechanic before you negotiate the price. A lemon is a lemon at any price!

3. Manage your time. When you have found the car you want don't start negotiating with limited time. Come back when you have ample time as the dealer will use the negotiating delay tactic to make you anxious to complete the deal and drive out with your new car. Avoid this trap.

4. Don't go first. Knowing that there will be a negotiation, the asking price is always set high. Before you make a firm offer ask what the best deal the seller is willing to take is. Typically the seller will pare something off his price to get the negotiations started. This will not be their best price but the most they are willing to offer before you state your price.

There are times when they will drop their price below what you are about to offer. Even if this is the case grimace and feign that their best price is slightly out of your reach. Slowly make your counter at a price affordable to you but beneath their asking price to establish the parameters of the negotiation.

5. Don't forget the terms. The terms of a deal can make the price more or less attractive. Make sure you factor in the financial impact of the terms before settling on the final price. Do not pay top dollar for deal options or maintenance agreements. This is often where the dealership makes high margins. Keep it simple and negotiate the best price and financing when buying a used car.

6. Be Observant. Be aware of the other person's response to your offer. Your objective is to bring the negotiation to a close just before they decide not to sell. Don't over negotiate.

While salesmen in dealerships have experience negotiating the sale of a used car you have an advantage of your own, the power of choice. There are many used cars and many dealerships. There are private and public sellers. You can buy in your town, in your area or on the internet. There are online and print resources. Because you have all these options or choices you have a lot of power because you are free to choose to go to the next seller if you are not happy.

If the salesperson will not come down to what you know the low market is, then leave your number and walk out indicating you have other opportunities. At this point the salesperson only has one buyer. This means he will need to come after you and improve his deal or, which might be the case, he paid too much to get the car and is not in a position to be competitive.

Either way, you time is valuable and you need to know if you can deal with the person or go to your next option.