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Negotiating a Good Deal

When negotiating for a new or used car, remember that you have the advantage. There is a long line of people ready to sell you a car.

Don’t let salespeople pressure you into making quick decisions. They’ve most likely been doing this for a while. When they act or react, they do so with experience. For the buyer, buying a car often is an unfamiliar process. Slow down and try not to get emotional. Sleep on your decision if you have any doubts at all. You’re going to be living with this car and car payment for years to come. The more proactive you are and the more you take control, the more comfortable you’ll feel.

Here are a few strong negotiation moves and redirects that can help you:

Keep a neutral outward attitude. Give the impression that you could take or leave this car and it isn’t the perfect car for you.

Avoid financing questions. Even if you don’t have the money, say you’re paying cash. Doing so may make them concentrate on the price negotiation and not on monthly payments (which can be manipulated to charge you more than you might think you’re paying.)

Be prepared to haggle back and forth for a while. The salesperson might try to wear you down with prolonged negotiation sessions. Don’t give in. Stay strong and save money.

Watch for the “good cop, bad cop” move. The salesperson may claim the manager is preventing them from giving you the price you want. You may feel like the salesperson is on your team. Just remember, the salesperson works for the dealership.

Ask to see the invoice. If they are against showing you the invoice, there’s probably a reason. Remember, the invoice is not the price the dealership paid for the car. There are incentives, holdbacks and other payments that bring the car well below the invoice price. A dealer selling “below invoice” is still making money!

Shop for a car towards the end of the month. Many bonus and rebate programs offered to dealerships and salespeople are based on monthly sales quotas. For this reason, dealerships and salespeople generally are more willing to work with you towards the end of the month.

If you really hate haggling, you might look for a no-haggle dealership. These dealers still will make some money on their cars, but the price negotiation has been removed from the buying experience. You may not get the best price at one of these lots, but you’ll get a good price. They have to remain competitive to remain in business.


This content has been provided by Practical Money Skills and is intended to serve as a general guideline.