There are many good reasons to consider buying used cars instead of new ones when it’s time for an upgrade. Depreciation is one of the more significant reasons since new cars will depreciate up to 20% within the first year. This means when you buy used, the price can be significantly lower, but you’ll still get many years and miles out of it. Whether you’re buying from a used car dealer or an individual, you want to get the best price possible. Here are some tips to help you negotiate the best deal.

Arm Yourself with All the Numbers

Do your research before you start the negotiating process. Find out what the average market value is for the vehicle you want by going to sites like Kelley Blue Book. Know what the car’s value was when it was new, and find out what the depreciated value is right now. Make sure you know the condition of the vehicle, so you can get an accurate number.

Get Preapproved for a Loan

Even if you think you might use the dealership’s financing option, get preapproved before you go in. One of the first questions a salesperson usually asks car shoppers is what kind of monthly payment they are looking for. If you’re already approved for a loan, you can tell the salesperson you already have the money; you just need to talk about the price of the vehicle.

Don’t Be Afraid to Bargain

You want to start off by making the right offer. There’s usually a lot of wiggle room with used cars, and the opening offer sets the tone for the rest of the negotiations. In an ideal situation, you want the salesperson to make the first offer, just in case it’s lower than what you are willing to pay. You don’t want to start too high if you don’t have to. You can start by asking what their best price is, and then negotiate the price down from there.

Know When to Walk Away

Pay attention to the salesperson’s body language. It may not be intended, but they will let you know when you’re not getting anywhere. If they are not willing to meet you in a place that works for both of you, you might need to walk away. If you’re at a dealership and the salesperson takes your offer to the manager, you might be close, but you want to avoid a long and drawn-out game of back and forth. At this point, tell them your time is limited, and you need an answer, or you have to leave.

If you have time, walking away may be the answer to getting the best deal. The salesperson may make a final offer to keep you from walking out the door. If you do make it out the door, you may find a similar vehicle at another dealership nearby, or one will come along soon. There is no end to the market when it comes to used cars; they just keep coming.


This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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