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Used Cars For Sale By Owner: Negotiate

Many people prefer to purchase used cars from the owner whenever possible because it often results in a much better deal than what a dealership can offer.  The key to making this a reality is knowing how to negotiate.  You don’t have to be a slick salesman to get a good deal, you just need to know what to do and some of the key signals to watch out for.  Here are some quick tips to help you more effectively negotiate a great deal when purchasing used cars that are for sale by the owner.

Quick Tips – Used Car For Sale By Owner: Negotiate

1.Understanding the Asking Price

When negotiating for a used car that for sale by the sale, it is important to understand that asking price is exactly what the name implies.  The first characteristic of almost every asking price is that it is actually higher than what the seller expects to get.  They know that you are going to want to negotiate with them, which means that they will tell you a higher price then what they actually expect to get.  Taking their asking price at face value will always one of the worst things you can do (just like paying the sticker price at a dealership).  Because of this, it is never a bad idea to start with a low ball offer.  By making an offer that is lower than what you are willing pay, it is much more likely that you and the seller can find a happy medium.

2. Use Small Increments

When negotiating with the owner of a used car that is for sale, make sure that you are moving up slowly.  A simple rule of thumb is to simply move up at increments of $100 if your price and the sellers price are within $1000 and $200 if your offer is more than $1000 less than the sellers price.  If the owner makes larger jumps than you, then you will get a better deal.  Additionally, if the seller is making bigger jumps in the price, it likely that they really want to get the car sold.

3. Always Make Your Final Offer Twice

If you and the owner cannot come to an agreement, which will happen more often than not, then make them your final offer twice.  By making the same offer twice, you are demonstrating that you are serious about your final offer and not trying to play another game.  You can even tell the owner that the offer will be on the table for a day or two.  This will give them a chance to think it over without the stress that the negotiating environment inherently creates. 

This tactic is particularly effective if you are talking to the owner early in the week.  Most people will place their ads before the weekend, because the weekends will often give them the most exposure.  If you are negotiating with them after the weekend is over, then they know that you may one of the last people that shows interest in their car for while.  The threat of not making a sale at all will outweigh the disagreement over the price, which could give you the edge you need to make the owner agree with your terms.

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