Buying A Used Car The Smart Way - Part 2by Jim Johnson
The previous article discussed how to find out the worth of your own car as well as any vehicle that you want to buy, how to find all available vehicles in your area that you want to see, and how to arrange your financing in advance to save you money in the car buying process. Now it is time to actually visit those dealers or private parties that have the cars you want to see. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you do:
If you are visiting a dealer you will most likely be greeted by a friendly car salesperson who will start asking very soon if you have a vehicle to trade in. It's vital that you keep the car buying and car trading segments of the process completely separate if you want to get your best deal and know what you are spending, so just tell the salesperson that you are only interested in a straight sale at this point. Then let then know what vehicles you are here to see, and don't let them steer you away to another model instead.
Be sure to make a thorough visual inspection of each vehicle that meets your criteria and make notes as you do so you can remember what your impressions were about each car that you looked at. It can even be a good idea to make up a checklist of things that you want to inspect on each vehicle in advance, to make sure that you are as thorough as possible about your inspection. Once you have settled on one vehicle that interests you, start the price negotiations as if it were a straight cash sale, since you have your financing already arranged that will give you the cash needed for the purchase. Get as close as possible to the real worth of the vehicle that you have established by doing your advance research online.
Now is when you can ask them to also appraise your vehicle afterward and give you a trade-in figure. Because you kept the sale of the used car and the trade-in of your car totally separate you can now see clearly how good each price is and can negotiate each price to your benefit.
Once you have their best offer, leave and continue shopping elsewhere. Of course, the dealer will not want you to leave and will try to get you to buy right then and there, but it's usually not best to give in to the pressure. Keep shopping until you have 2-3 cars that are good candidates for purchase, and also can be bought in a fair price range. Now begin the final negotiation process on those three cars letting the dealers know that they must compete with other cars that you could be buying soon. Let the bidding war begin and see who wins.
Once you have your best deal, test drive that car thoroughly to make sure that it will indeed meet your needs and then have an independent mechanic inspect it to be sure of it's mechanical condition. If a dealer balks at this, just pass them by as there is usually a reason why they don't want you to know the true condition of that car. Then go to the next best deal on your list and repeat the final inspection process if necessary. Ultimately you will be able to get the car you want at the best price possible, and know that it is a quality vehicle when you buy it.
If you follow these simple suggestions you can usually negotiate the best price for the best cars, and stay in complete control of the whole buying process as you do.
About the Author
Find out more about used car buying tips and a used car buying guide by visiting our Auto Review website.