How Much Can You Negotiate On A Used Car - (2023)

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Used Cars: How to Negotiate the Best Possible Price (Updated for June 2020)

Car buyers today have more information about vehicles and the car-buying process at their fingertips than ever before. The information allows you to find the exact vehicle you want, determine how much you should pay, and arrange financing before leaving your house.

You can learn about trade-in values, get an instant cash offer, look at dealer inventories, and talk to multiple dealerships. Car deals and lease deals pages assist you in locating special offers from automobile manufacturers.

Negotiate With A Private Party

Once you find a vehicle, you want to buy it from a private seller. You first want to get the vehicle identification number , so you can review the vehicles history. This will keep you from wasting time trying to buy a car with a severe discrepancy.

I recommend reviewing the on the vehicle. This will keep you from wasting your time attempting to buy the car.

When contacting a private seller, be polite and ask many questions. This will give you an advantage when you start the negotiation process later. You can cross the vehicle off your list if you dont feel good about an answer.

Ask the seller these types of questions:

  • Whos name is the car titled?
  • Why are you selling the car?
  • How long has the vehicle been for sale?
  • How many miles on the car?
  • What was the vehicle used for?
  • Do you have the maintenance records?
  • Did you buy the car new?
  • What is the overall condition?
  • Does everything work?

How To Negotiate To Buy A Used Car

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  • 5. Inking the deal

Whether youre negotiating to buy a used car from a dealer or private party, learning a few simple concepts can save you a lot of money.

Back in the day, used car-buying negotiations were always done face-to-face, either on the car lot or standing at the curb haggling with the previous owner. Today, many shoppers negotiate for a used car by requesting a car dealer quote online or texting the car’s owner.

Whether you’re negotiating for a used car in person or online, here are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Get the numbers: Look up the cars current market value.

  • Make the right opening offer: Keep your offer low, but realistic.

  • Make a counteroffer: Sweeten the deal, but not too much.

  • Getting to yes: Review the numbers and all the terms before you shake hands.

  • Inking the deal: Make sure you have all the right documents before you pay.

    Now, here are the details for each of the steps to help you negotiate the best used car deal in the current market.

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    How Much Off Msrp Can I Negotiate: #3 Determine The Invoice Price

    Once youve entered the invoice charges for all options, add the invoice prices for each car option to get the total amount. Keep in mind that the dealerships invoice price can be greater than what you estimated online, and dont forget to include the destination fee. Dealerships may have non-negotiable advertising fees on their invoice.

    The Biggest Factor Of Negotiating On A Used Car

    How Much Can You Negotiate On A Used Car - (1)

    One of the most important parts of going into a car negotiation is the research you need to do. It doesnt matter if youre buying privately or from a car dealership, if you go into a negotiation not having a good understanding of what the car is worth and factors that affect the pricing, you wont be able to effectively negotiate.

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    Smart Dealers See The Trend Use This As Leverage

    As summer comes to a close, there are more used cars on dealer lots than at any time this year. Data from Black Book reveals that days to turn, a metric used to measure how long cars sit on the lot before selling, is increasing. At the same time, data from Black Book shows that there are more used cars for sale right now than at any other point of 2022. Supply is up.

    Increasing dealer inventories, paired with higher interest rates, means that car dealers are paying more floorplanning cost than they have in years. Floorplanning is the interest payments car dealers make on their inventory. Just like you and me, car dealers typically finance the purchase of their inventory, which means that as inventory sits and interest rates rise, dealers have a financial incentive to negotiate and lower their prices to sell vehicles.

    Unlike the past 18 months, dealers are once again working hard to sell cars. How do they do that? They lower their prices. Suddenly, with the softening of the market, more dealers are negotiating again, and many are starting to drop their used car prices rapidly. A quick look at YAA Car Search shows that more vehicles are seeing price drops. Take a look at this 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander for example.

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    How To Talk Down Price Of Used Car When Buying

    When you are negotiating, remember that dealers and individual sellers expect buyers to negotiate and challenge the list price. Also, remember that the worst thing that can happen in negotiations is that the buyer rejects your proposal. You can then still pay the higher price, or opt for a different option altogether.

    When discussing price, make sure to reference the Kelly Blue Book value, based on the physical condition of the car. This resource gives buyers a concrete reference point. Ideally, you want to pay slightly less than the Kelly Blue Book value to get a decent deal. Be open to hearing about customizations or special features that the seller may have added, such as custom rims, a fresh paint job, or a remote starter. These could help explain a higher price and add value to your purchase. Remember that you can always ask for some time to mull the deal over just let the seller know when you will get back to him or her, and reach out either way.

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    How Much Off Msrp Can I Negotiate: #2 Buying A Car Is A Business Transaction

    Buying a new or used car for the first time can be an emotional experience. The thrill of getting behind the wheel of a new vehicle is often tempered by anxiety about the purchasing process. If you need a car quickly, this can add to your stress. If things arent going your way, you might even be angry.

    When negotiating car prices, bear in mind that its a business transaction. Dont let your emotions get in the way of a good deal. The more sensitive or emotional you are, the more power the salesperson has to exploit the situation.

    Negotiate A Fair Price

    How To Negotiate The Best Price On A Used Car In 2021

    Figuring out a fair price for a used car is even harder than with a new car, because no two cars have identical histories, and mileage and condition will vary. A variety of websites offer used-car prices and break them down by transaction typedealer, private party, CPO and trade-in. For any car youre interested in buying, look up pricing at, and and come up with an average as your target. rates each vehicle it lists from Great Deal to Overpriced. TrueCar also labels prices from Great Price to High Price based on its own algorithm.

    You may prefer the no-haggle routefrom, say, CarMax or Carvana. Without negotiating, you may end up paying a slightly higher price. But remember, its not all about the price you pay on the vehicle. For most buyers, the entire transaction consists of a trade-in as well as the cost of financing. Youll probably come out ahead if you negotiate the price of the new vehicle and the trade-in separately.

    Illustration by Adam Allsuch Boardman

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    How Much Will Dealers Come Down On Used Cars

    The short answer: yes but it depends. You have to know how to negotiate used car prices, know what to research and understand exactly how much the listed price is negotiable. There are a multitude of other considerations as well. You have to find out: Does the dealership have a non-negotiable, one-low-price policy? Are you buying a certified used car? Were others successful in getting a lower than listed price? By doing your research beforehand, you’re in a better position to get a lower price on a used car.

    Leverage The Dealers Cost

    Online resources available through websites like Kelly Blue Book and Autotrader also tell you the dealers costor the invoice pricefor your preferred vehicle. If it is a used vehicle, then search for the cars book value, which is the original cost minus depreciation. Use this information as the foundation for your negotiation.

    Rather than negotiating based on the manufacturers suggested retail price , keep your bid focused on the dealers invoice cost . Your wiggle room is typically between what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the vehicle and the price listed on the lot.

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    Better Times Ahead For Used Car Prices

    On the other hand, used cars are more negotiable than at any point in time this year. If youre looking for a better deal, heres what you need to know: used car prices are only beginning to decrease at the retail level. There will be better deals in the weeks to come.

    While making long-term predictions is difficult right now, were confident that used car prices will be even more negotiable at the end of September than they are today. If you are in the market for a used car right now, your goal should be to negotiate 5-10% off of the sticker price, or consider waiting a few more weeks for the market to soften further.

    How Much Can You Negotiate On A Used Car

    How Much Can You Negotiate On A Used Car - (2)
    (Video) What Is Your Trade-in Really Worth?

      When buying a car, one of the first decisions that is made is whether to buy a new or used vehicle. For those choosing to buy a used car, negotiating used car price requires a targeted and well-researched approach. A user car buyer can score a highly advantageous deal by doing their homework and flexing their negotiation skills. Similarly, an uneducated used car buyer can walk away having paid too much. This article breaks down the basics of used vehicle price negotiations.

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      Should I Buy New Or Used Right Now

      With both new and used car prices still greatly inflated, its important to think about how todays buying decisions could affect your future finances. New car prices are up 11.9% year-over-year, and 21.5% since July 2020. Used car prices climbed even higher, averaging 45% above early 2021 price levels. Theres no sign of new car prices coming down, and automakers seem to be announcing MSRP hikes weekly.

      Deal School is 100% FREE! Learn how to negotiate!

      If youre determined to buy a new car, dont expect MSRPs to go down at all. However, its worth the effort to work with dealers selling cars without markups. Theyre rare, but theyre certainly out there. With MSRPs likely to increase in 2023, consider yourself a winner if you buy the new car you want with zero markups or dealer add-ons. Dont forget, you can challenge dealer add-ons!

      How Much Off Msrp Can I Negotiate: Tips For Buying A New Car From A Dealer

      The first car buying tip is knowing what you want and where to find it. Check out the manufacturers website if youre looking for a specific model or vehicle. Here are seven recommendations for buying a car in 2022.

      • Trade-in your current vehicle at the dealership where you will purchase your new car.
      • Compare the trade-in value of your vehicle at third-party sites and dealers.
      • Figure out your financing.

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      Can You Negotiate Used Car Prices

      Thats what we believe too, which is one of the reasons why we created Car Guide.

      Even if you dont think negotiation and haggling is your strong point, youve got nothing to lose. The worst that will happen is youll have to decide whether youre happy to pay the asking price. And if it all goes to plan, you might even bag yourself a bargain!

      Read on to learn how to negotiate a better deal and possibly lower price with confidence.

      The 5 Reasons Why Now Is A Better Time To Negotiate

      How to Negotiate Used Car Price: Lowest Offer to Make on Used Cars (2021)

      When you go to negotiate a used car, know that these are the five reasons why theyll be willing to negotiate with you. Feel free to even print this out and show them if they give you a hard time!

    • Floorplan costs going up We know that it is costing the dealer more money to hold onto their inventory than before.
    • Demand is going down and cars are sitting on lots Dealers who overpaid for used cars a few months ago are nervous because demand has softened. This, paired with increasing floorplan costs is a recipe for disaster for a car dealer.
    • Dealers cant sell their cars at the auction for a profit Just a few months ago car dealers were selling used cars at dealer auctions for a profit. Now that option no longer exists. Wholesale prices have crashed, which means dealers are going to need to sell to retail customers, or take a HUGE hit at the auction.
    • Retail prices are beginning to trend downward, albeit slightly Car dealers had been holding out. Even while wholesale used car prices plummeted, car dealers were not lowering their advertised prices. Well, that trend has reversed, and we are finally starting to see a softening in retail asking prices.

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      Negotiating Sometimes Means Not Giving Into Pressure

      The most important thing when trying to save money on a used car? Know what you want.

      Barnard recommends knowing these three things before you go in to buy a used car:

    • The car model you want
    • The price point you want
    • The monthly or biweekly payments you can afford, including interest rates and insurance

      Barnard says its not enough to just to know these things, but to stick to them.

      Dont get drawn in and make the purchase on an emotional basis, he says. Its very easy when you fall in love with a car. If youre looking for a vehicle to transport the kids to soccer, then you dont want a two-seat roadster.

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      Most importantly: dont panic.

      The market will eventually come around, he says. But, boy, its taking a while.

      Dont Be Afraid To Walk Away

      When you find a car thats within your price range, you should be prepared to walk away if the seller wont take what you were originally willing to pay.

      If the seller doesnt budge, walk away.

      Salespeople will usually negotiate more for higher dollar items, so dont go lowballing either.

      The old saying is when in doubt, walk away.

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      Why Do Car Salesmen Make You Wait

      Fewer people work there and each customer might be talking to one of the finance managers for 30 minutes or so. While all this is going on, your new car is being washed, gassed and prepped for final delivery. If that process doesnt sync up exactly, you might have to wait a while longer for the car to be ready.

      Use The ‘if’ And ‘then’ Technique

      How Much Can You Negotiate On A Used Car - (3)

      One of the most effective negotiating tactics at your disposal is the if/then method. Its a simple matter of offering the seller an easy-to-digest choice, like saying If youll consider coming down to my price, then Im prepared to pay for the car right now. Providing an immediate incentive can work wonders and means theyre making the compromise – not you.

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      Research First Pull Out Your Wallet Later

      Buying a car starts with deciding which vehicle is right for you. If you fully understand the type of car you need, youre less likely to be talked into buying something you want from a car dealer playing on your emotions.

      Base your decision on practicalities. Does your lifestyle suggest youd be better off with a people-mover, a city-friendly SUV, a hybrid, a bush-bashing ute or a small, fuel-efficient sedan that fits into tight parking spaces?

      Have a firm idea of what best matches your needs and then narrow it down to a handful of choices. This gives you a negotiating advantage because you can immediately dismiss unsuitable and budget-destroying choices out of hand.

      Think about the future, too. Are you planning to start a family soon? Will you be moving closer or further away from work one day soon? How much do you currently drive and what are the chances of that changing? How secure is your income and what can you realistically afford in the current economic climate?

      Meticulous research saves money. Ring up a few local car dealerships and ask them their price for your preferred car you may be surprised to get different answers. Check out popular online car selling sites to get a sense of current pricing. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales.

      Be On Guard For Common Dealer Tricks

      Car dealers often get a bad rap but you cant blame them for trying their best to maximize profit. Their job is to sell a car as close as possible to the sticker price, while yours is to convince them to sell it nearer the invoice price.

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      Sellers use several methods to extract more money from you. Here are some of the main culprits:

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    • FAQs

      How much is reasonable to negotiate on a used car? ›

      Based on your pricing homework, you should have a good idea of how much you're willing to pay. Begin by making an offer that is realistic but 15 to 25 percent lower than this figure. Name your offer and wait until the person you're negotiating with responds.

      Is it possible to negotiate the price on a used car at a dealership? ›

      Negotiating the price of a used car at a dealer should depend on the car's condition, market value, and how much you're willing to pay. Negotiating a used car price begins with your first impression, so strike a balance between friendly and confident.

      What should you always negotiate a car deal on? ›

      In most cases, you'll still need to negotiate the value of your trade, the cost of financing and the price of any add-ons. If a car is in high demand, a dealership can charge far more than the sticker price. When demand is lower, you can expect to pay less than the sticker price.

      How do you negotiate a used car right now? ›

      Today, many shoppers negotiate for a used car by requesting a car dealer quote online or texting the car's owner. Get the numbers: Look up the car's current market value. Make the right opening offer: Keep your offer low, but realistic. Make a counteroffer: Sweeten the deal, but not too much.

      What is a lowball offer on a car? ›

      A lowball offer is a slang term for an offer that is significantly below the seller's asking price, or a quote that is deliberately lower than the price the seller intends to charge. To lowball also means to deliberately give a false estimate for something.

      How do you ask for a lower price? ›

      Top eight phrases to use when negotiating a lower price
      1. All I have in my budget is X.
      2. What would your cash price be?
      3. How far can you come down in price to meet me?
      4. What? or Wow.
      5. Is that the best you can do?
      6. Ill give you X if we can close the deal now.
      7. Ill agree to this price if you.
      8. Your competitor offers.
      Jun 15, 2022

      What should you not say to a car salesman? ›

      Things to Never Say to a Dealer
      • “I'm ready to buy now.” ...
      • “I can afford this much per month.” ...
      • “Yes, I have a trade-in.” ...
      • “I'm only buying the car with cash.” ...
      • “I'm not sure…which model do you think I need?” ...
      • “Oh, I've wanted one of these all my life.” ...
      • “I'll take whatever the popular options are.”

      How do you talk down a car salesman? ›

      Make a Reasonable Offer and Stick to It

      Tell them that if they can hit that figure, you're ready to sign on the dotted line. Be sure to let them know that you're not budging. Be polite, but firm. If the dealer makes an offer first, use this same tactic with your counter-offer.

      How do you negotiate with a pre owned car dealership? ›

      Here are useful tips which help you negotiate when buying old cars.
      How To Negotiate To Buy A Used Car For Good Price?
      1. Be friendly. ...
      2. Research the price in advance. ...
      3. Give a vivid description of your desired car. ...
      4. Request to view invoice. ...
      5. Pay as low as possible and increase gradually. ...
      6. Communicate effectively.
      Oct 13, 2018

      What are 3 car negotiation tips? ›

      5 tips for negotiating a car price
      • Do your research. Knowledge puts you in a better position to negotiate the price of a car. ...
      • Keep your options open. ...
      • Get preapproved. ...
      • Focus on out-the-door price. ...
      • Be willing to walk away.
      Jun 16, 2022

      What are 3 tips you should remember when negotiating for a car? ›

      Tips on how to negotiate the price on a used car
      • Don't buy a car in a hurry (unless you have no choice). ...
      • Check all the numbers and ask for the out-the-door price.
      • Read online reviews of the dealership before you begin negotiating. ...
      • Plan to spend a chunk of time at the dealership.
      Aug 29, 2022

      What percentage should I haggle? ›

      Don't lowball. While (almost) everything is negotiable, and you are allowed a lot more “give” in expensive items, overzealous haggling will turn off the seller. A good rule of thumb is any offer below 25 percent of the ticket price is a slap in the face.

      Do dealerships still haggle? ›

      The short answer is yes. However, for many, even the thought of negotiating new car prices can seem intimidating. Treat this experience like any negotiation and go in with a plan. The more thought you put into it upfront, the more confidence you'll feel about speaking with your dealer about the price of your new car.

      What is the best time of the year to buy a car? ›

      End of the year, month and model year

      In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. Car dealerships have sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. All three goals begin to come together late in the year.

      Are used car prices going to get better? ›

      Used car prices have likely peaked, but new car prices are expected to remain high. In 2023, prices are expected to decline by roughly 10% for used cars and by 2.5% to 5% for new cars.

      How do you get a seller to accept a low offer? ›

      Winning Strategies for Lowball Offers
      1. Find Out the Seller's Motivation.
      2. Write a Clean Offer.
      3. Always Counter the Counteroffer.
      4. Divert Attention Away From Price.
      5. Give a Logical Reason Why Your Lowball Offer Is Fair.
      Jan 24, 2022

      Is 50% a lowball offer? ›

      There is no set definition of a low-ball offer, but most real estate experts place it between 20 to 50 percent below the asking price.

      What is a reasonable low offer? ›

      Typically, a lowball offer is considered to be at least 20% below the asking price. If you're offering 10% below, the property should be in a good condition but may just need some cosmetic work done.

      How much under sticker price should I pay for a new car? ›

      Negotiating Tips (And When to Pay Sticker Price)

      So where do you start? According to Auto Cheat Sheet, a good rule of thumb is to offer 3-5% over a dealer's new car cost. You can search sources like Kelley Blue Book, Consumer Reports, and Edmund's True Market Value to find the invoice price for your make and model.

      How do you beat a car salesman at his own game? ›

      Come to the showroom with a figure in mind and stick to it. Be polite, firm, and direct. Tell the sales guy your price and instruct them to get the paperwork ready if they can match it. Leave them your phone number, and walk away if they can't.

      What day of week is best to buy a car? ›

      Three of the best times to buy a car
      • Mondays. Monday can be the best day of the week to buy a new car. ...
      • End of the year, month and model year. In terms of the best time of the year, October, November and December are safe bets. ...
      • Holidays. Holiday sales can also offer deep discounts.
      Mar 2, 2023

      What time of year is best to buy a used car? ›

      If you're shopping for a used car, the early months of the year — January and February — are a good time to ship. You may see more vehicles on the market then as people sell their old vehicles after buying new ones over the holidays. That increased supply can lower prices, making it a good time to buy.

      Do car dealerships prefer cash or financing? ›

      A new trend we've seen since vehicle shortages started is dealers not accepting cash or even your own financing when buying a new vehicle. The reason? Dealerships make money financing cars. With far fewer vehicles to sell, they want to maximize every dollar of profit, so some will not take your check.


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