negotiating used car prices

Is There a Right Way to Negotiate Used Car Prices?

The art of haggling isn’t something most Americans are particularly keen on. While many countries consider relentless bargaining fair game, American consumers and traditional retail businesses are accustomed to clear pricing expectations.

However, there are exceptions, especially on expensive pre-owned products with variable quality, like used cars. If you’ve ever purchased a pre-owned car, chances are good you were able to work out a more favorable deal than the vehicle’s original price.

Some people like to purchase brand-new cars for their perceived reliability (generous warranties, no murky history or damage from accidents, etc.). However, today’s post-pandemic auto market has priced many auto shoppers out of the new car market.

Stalls in auto production during the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing supply chain struggles and parts shortages have caused a national shortage of many new vehicles. As a result, many drivers are switching gears and choosing to purchase pre-owned vehicles instead.

Shoppers looking for a great deal on a used car may benefit from doing plenty of research on their favorite makes and models and brushing up on their negotiation skills before setting foot in a dealership.

How to Negotiate a Better Price on a Pre-Owned Car

There is no blueprint to a successful car price negotiation. However, there are many things you can do before and during your visit to a dealership or when meeting with a private seller to maximize your chances of getting a good deal on a car that’s caught your eye.

Decide What Make and Model You Want

If you’re looking for a used car, take some time to establish what you’re looking for. Perhaps you already have a specific make and model in mind. If that’s not the case, ask yourself what you need in your next vehicle and how much you can afford to spend. Then, based on your determinations, look for vehicles that match your preferences. Some things to consider include:

  • The size
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Safety and reliability
  • Whether the vehicle will fit in your garage
  • What you like and dislike about your current vehicle
  • How you’ll use your new vehicle (commuter car, road trips, off roading, etc.)

Research Prices

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, learn how much it’s worth. You can do this by going online and researching various dealership inventories and online used car retailers. Also, if you’re going to trade in your current vehicle, make sure to know how much it’s worth to get a fair offer., powered by Easterns Automotive Group, makes it easy for Washington DC and Baltimore car shoppers to maximize their current vehicle’s trade in value.

Avoid Becoming Car Poor

Unless you pay cash, you likely will need to take out a loan to finance your used car purchase. A monthly auto payment can put a significant strain on your finances. Make sure you know the limits of what you can afford when you start shopping.

Back Up Your Counteroffer with Facts

Negotiating a better price can only be successful if you can back up your counteroffer with facts. Get quotes for similar makes and models from other dealerships and use them as leverage in your negotiations.

Print any instant cash offer you may have gotten for your trade-in vehicle. If the dealership you’re interested in buying from tries to lowball you, you can show them tangible proof your current vehicle is worth more than what they’re offering.

Effective Communication Can Go a Long Way

Successful negotiations require effective communication. Here are some communication tips to help you get the upper hand while bargaining for your preferred used vehicle:

  • Always remain courteous and respectful. Trying to play “tough” or using intimidation will discourage any salesperson from working with you.
  • Negotiate thoughtfully. Write things down, ask questions and ask for clarification if something isn’t clear to you.
  • Keep the conversation light and even humorous but remain calm, matter of fact and firm in your convictions.
  • Know when to walk. Not every private seller or dealership is willing to negotiate prices on their used inventory. If you feel you’re getting nowhere in your negotiating, don’t be afraid to walk away and continue your search elsewhere.

Visit Easterns Automotive for a Pressure-Free Used Car Shopping Experience in DC, Maryland and Virginia

When you shop at Easterns, you won’t have to worry about haggling over a price. We make our vehicle prices as competitive and transparent as possible. If you’re looking for a certified and reasonably priced used car, be sure to browse our plentiful pre-owned inventory.

For more information or to schedule a test drive, call (888) 650-4775 or visit one of our dealership locations.