Buying a Used Car– Part 8: Closing the Deal

Posted on Posted in Car Buying

Well, you’ve test driven the vehicle, and you’re sure it’s the one that will work best for you. It’s now time to negotiate and close the deal. If you’re buying from an individual, the process will be different than if you’re buying from a dealership, so we’ll look at those two processes separately.

If you’re buying from an individual, you’re probably holding a wad of cash in your pocket, so you won’t be discussing financing and trade-in values. However, you can still definitely negotiate the asking price, especially if you noticed any issues during your test drive and examination. One thing you should remember in your negotiation with an individual, and a dealer for that matter, is to keep your mouth closed. So, comment the asking price is too high, especially considering x (something you noticed on the test drive), and then be quiet. If the seller offers a lower price, remain quiet. Often, sellers will continue to lower their prices just to fill the void of silence. Another technique that was advised in the past is to count your money in front of the seller, to make him or her psychologically drool; however, with the amount of crime surrounding sales between individuals, I don’t know that I recommend flashing money around. Remember, if you properly researched the car beforehand, you know the correct asking price- and the seller probably does as well.

If you’re buying from a dealer, you should keep some additional things in mind: what’s your trade-in worth, how much are the taxes, how much are the doc fees, etc. Keep in mind, aside from the taxes, these items are negotiable, although some dealerships act as though the doc fees are set in stone. If you’re financing, you’ll ultimately be negotiating your monthly payment, not the total price. So, go in with an idea of your maximum payment with which you’ll agree, and don’t waver. Once again, silence is golden. If you can afford $270 a month and the dealer comes back with a payment of $290, tell the salesman that won’t work, and then be quiet. Usually, they can finally get you your monthly payment, as long as you’re being reasonable (you cannot buy a 2015 Escalade for $150/month). If the dealer won’t match the price you can afford, there are other cars available. If you feel the dealer has treated you well and is equitable, possibly look at other cars there. If not, you need to look elsewhere.

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