Know what you want and what it’s worth
The first step is to know the market and do some research, this will give you the confidence when securing a deal and will convince the seller that you are a serious buyer. Decide on what your needs are and what you’re willing to compromise on. And set a budget in your mind. Look at similar used cars to get an idea of what they’re selling for.
Know what you’re buying
When the dream car turns up, it’s time for you to think with your head not your heart. Always conduct a vehicle history check to see if it has something to hide; is it an insurance write-off, stolen or has it got a dodgy mileage. Also consider having an expert look over the mechanics and pay attention to the bodywork for signs of rust or a quick touch up with the spray paint.
Buyers should go in with an offer that’s lower than the going rate for similar cars on the market, then let the seller negotiate up towards a price that suits both. If buying a new car from a dealer, it’s worth remembering that many car industry sales targets are set on a monthly basis. That means it’s easier to get a bigger discount towards the end of the month, whether it’s a reduced price or optional extras.
Keep an ear out for inconsistent stories about the car’s history and don’t be afraid to walk away.
Equally, never pay more for a car than you can’t afford. There are plenty of deals out there, so never settle for a bad deal. A car is an investment so don’t make any rash decisions.
Haggling ‘Dos and don’ts’
Expert haggling tips: what NOT to say
- I really like this car.
- Have you sold many cars today?
- What sort of discounts are people getting on cars at the moment?
- Please can I have a discount?
- Are you sure you can’t meet my budget?
- Is that all that my old car is worth?
- What will it cost if I pay in cash?
Expert haggling tips: what you SHOULD say
- I’m interested in buying this car from you, but to do so I need more than you are offering in part exchange on my old car.
- I’m ready to do a deal today at the right price or I’m a cash buyer.
- Has this car ever been in an accident?
- How much discount will you give me?
- Can you meet my budget – if not, I can buy elsewhere…
- If your manager is the one making the decision, can I talk to them?
- I’ve seen a better deal at… (a nearby competitor). Make sure you really have or you’ll look silly.
- If we can agree on £xxxx (price) then you have a deal.