‘Be prepared to walk away’: Everything you need to negotiate the best price on a car
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New cars are at a premium due to delays in manufacturing, sending the value of used cars sky-rocketing by some 30 percent in just a year. With that in mind it’s important to get the most value possible and the lowest price you can. Express.co.uk spoke to Cargurus buying expert Chris Knapman to get some tips and tricks of the trade.
Research Is Key
In order to decide at what price to start haggling, car buyers need to know roughly how much the car in question is worth, says Chris: “Use an online valuation tool like Cargurus Instant Market Value which instantly tells you how the price of the car compares with similar models on the market.
“If the advertised price is higher than the Instant Market Value, print out listings for similar models to show the seller.
“Even if the advertised price is below the Instant Market Value, it’s still worth making an offer, but don’t be surprised if the seller doesn’t want to budge.
“In this instance, also take note of how long the car in question has been listed.
Chris added that when buying a new car, it’s worth spending time searching various broker and leasing websites to see what kind of prices are being offered.
He says: “Your local dealer might not be able to match them pound for pound, but by knowing how similar models are priced online, you’ll be well placed to make a counteroffer.
“Car dealerships selling new cars also have sales targets to hit. These are usually set on a monthly basis, so approaching a showroom toward the end of the month can increase your chances of achieving a good price.
“If they don’t want to shift on price, ask if they’ll throw in some optional extras instead, such as car insurance or even just a tank of fuel.”
Chris explained: “Remember to check specialist car news and reviews websites to see if a model is about to be replaced.
“A car dealer will rarely tell you this information, but it can be a good reason to expect a significant discount, because the arrival of a shiny new model will inevitably force down the value of its less-desirable predecessor.”
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Although the concept of haggling seems confrontational in nature, there is no reason it can’t be carried out in good humour says Chris.
“Simple things like smiling and making eye contact will help to lighten the mood during the haggle, which will in turn increase the chances of a deal being reached.
“The trick here is to let the seller know you are a serious buyer without revealing your maximum budget.”
Whether you are buying new or used, the seller will need to attain a certain price for the car, and it is not unreasonable for this price to include a profit margin.
Chris says: “Therefore, if you make a silly offer just for the sake of starting the bidding low, it is quite possible the seller won’t take the negotiation process seriously.
“It is also good practice to be able to explain why you are asking that money be knocked off the price.
“Take a good look around the car and note any scratched alloy wheels, damaged paintwork, or scuffed interior trim.”
The Part Exchange Factor
When you’re part exchanging a vehicle as part of the buying process, the trade-in value for your old car is just as important as any discount you can negotiate on the price of the new vehicle.
Chris explains: “As such, it’s important to do your research and know how much the part is worth, being realistic about its condition and specification compared with similar models on the market.
“With all this in mind, the value you need to focus on when part exchanging is what is called the ‘price to change’.
“That is, the difference between your part exchange and the cost of its replacement. By setting your budget early in the buying process, you will know for certain if the price to change is one you can afford.”
Be Prepared to Walk Away
Finally, it’s always worth remembering that another car will always come along.
Chris says: “If you can’t agree on a price that is right for both buyer and seller, it is absolutely fine to walk away.
“Until you have paid a deposit, you are under no obligation to buy (just as the seller is under no obligation to sell). So, if the numbers don’t add up in your favour, you can simply thank the seller for his or her time and continue your search elsewhere.
“There’s no harm at this stage in leaving your contact details in case the seller changes their mind and agrees to a better price.
“In many cases, sellers cave when they realise the potential buyer really might be about to search elsewhere, meaning that walking away sometimes represents an effective tool in the haggling process, rather than the end of it.”
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