If you dread the following, you aren’t alone:
“The price of the car? Well it’s on the sticker. And look, it lists right here how much we paid for the car from the factory. With all these features of the package, here’s your price. No, please don’t leave. Are you looking to get a good trade-in price? How much do you want to pay? You can pay only $199 per month! Wait, don’t leave, let me get my manager…”
As emotionally charged buying a car can be, it’s actually a very simple game. If you’re ready to play, it comes down to a few key steps:
- Decide which car you want to buy, then come back to negotiate after you’ve done your homework. Never be afraid of walking out after a test drive – they will do their best to keep you there, but they will also welcome you when you come back!
- Research. Look up the invoice price, true market value, and have a ceiling for what you are willing to pay. For a used car, find the market value on Kelley Blue Book. I like using TrueCar or AAA Members Auto Buying Service to get bids before I go to the dealership. Chances are the dealer paid below their listed price due to dealer incentives, promotions, etc. Its also important to weigh if they’re looking to move a certain model or make a month-end quota.
- Remember a Car Purchase Has Up to 3 Different Negotiation Points (the price, the financing rate and $ down, and the trade-in value) – Keep Each Separate. Don’t let the dealer fool you with language like, you’ll pay $200 per month– For how many months? Based on what price? At what rate? How much down? What’s the price of your trade-in? Negotiate each separately with a smile.
- Bring In Backup. If you have a friend who’s a good deal-maker, bring them. Or if you are doing the negotiations, bring your husband and make sure he backs you up. The dealer will outnumber you with the manager, the financing guy, etc. so it’s good to have a partner in crime!
- Have Fun!!! Once the negotiations are over, the salesperson will be your new BFF. You get to learn about using it, they run it through the car wash, and you get to drive off into the sunset!
Looking for more information on cars, prices, and the car buying process? Check out the Edmunds.com car buying site.