You’ve done your research and found the best new or used car for you. It ticks every box and sits somewhere inside your budget, but now you want to make sure you are getting the best possible deal.
Negotiating can seem daunting at first, but it’s a skill you can develop. You don’t need to be stern or have nerves of steel; it may be just as effective, if not more so, to negotiate with a friendly smile. These tips will help you feel more comfortable when entering negotiations with a seller.
Knowledge is power
In any debate or negotiation, knowledge is power. Buying a car is no different. Before you enter negotiations with a seller (private or dealer) be sure that you have a rough idea of the minimum market value for similar cars. Use our valuation tool to obtain a ballpark value and compare the price to the comparable car listings on carsales.com.au.
First impressions matter
Negotiating does not mean being hard or rude; as previously stated, you are likely to go further if you are polite, respectful and discuss things with a smile on your face. Remember, a lot of private sellers will be attached to their car. In fact, they may be more likely to sell and offer a better deal if they feel that their car is going to a good home.
Buying privately vs dealer
A private seller is less likely to have experience in selling a car. Therefore, he or she may not have a firm idea as to the minimum price they’re willing to accept. This gives you the best chance of negotiating the price. Buying from a dealer may make it more difficult to budge on price, however you can negotiate on items such as on-road costs, accessories or extra warranty cover. But remember, you determine the true value of these ‘extras’. If you don’t want them, don’t pay for them…
Things to consider before discussing price:
- Take note of all damage: when you are completing the inspection of the vehicle be sure to remember any scratches, dents, minor tears, et cetera, that have not been discussed in the ad or conversations up until now. Draw attention to these when negotiating; it will help you haggle the seller down.
- On-road costs: In some states you will need a roadworthy when transferring the vehicle into a different name, so be sure that this is discussed within the price negotiation.
- Ask why they are selling: Always ask why the person is selling; this might help shape the negotiation. If the seller is in a situation where they need to sell in a hurry, eg: moving interstate/overseas that may provide additional grounds for lowering the final price.
- Is there a history of previous crash damage? There are ways to check a car’s history. If you haven’t already purchased FACTS+, it is a good idea to do so. This may give you some indication of previous damage, if it’s stolen or if there is evidence of an odometer discrepancy. For more information about FACTS+, visit carsales.com.au/facts
- How much registration does it have? Be sure to ask how long is left on the vehicle registration, as you may be able to factor this into the final cost.
Don’t be afraid to walk away
Expect that your offer could be turned down. You have two options when it does: either increase your price or politely decline and leave your details with the seller in case they change their mind. If you have followed the steps up to this point and your offer is reasonable, there is every chance the seller will realise this and call you back to accept your offer.
If you have the luxury of time on your side, don’t rush into your purchase. With dealers it is usually a good time to purchase at the end of the month or end of financial year. When it comes to private sellers, it’s usually down to the seller’s situation. If they’re in a hurry to sell that’s usually a strong indicator you can arrange a great deal.
How do I know I am getting a good deal?
Now you’ve negotiated and reached the final price with the seller, prior to accepting you should always ask yourself whether you could find another car in the same or better condition, for a better price prior to accepting. If the answer is no, you’ve just bought a new car!
Now you’ve closed the deal, what’s next?
Here are a list of things to consider once you have closed the deal:
- Organise your finances: Arrange the transfer of funds through a safe electronic facility,
- Complete the vehicle transfer paperwork: Fill in the registration transfer documents in the presence of the seller and ask for photo ID with a valid address for this purpose,
- Clean your new car: Hygiene is important! Give the car a thorough clean with alcohol wipes,
- Get the car insured: Don’t forget to arrange insurance cover before you drive away in your new car.