Tips for Handling the Negotiation Process With Private Sellers
Once you've learned everything about the car you're interested in, remember these tips to handle the negotiation process without breaking a sweat:
Set Your Price Range in Advance
Gather your research on the following key points to consider for your negotiation: the vehicle's mileage, its minimum and maximum possible book value, history, previous owners, and repair records. Then set your custom price range before negotiating.
You can start the bottom end of your range with a lower price estimate of the car's current market value. For example, if a car has a market value of $25,000, you can start your negotiation at $23,000 or $22,000. Avoid going too much lower than the market value, as it may offend the person selling their car.
Ask About Mechanical Issues and Maintenance Records
The rule of thumb when buying a used car is to check its vehicle history report beforehand. This report includes all the necessary factors that determine the car’s price and value in the market. A few elements of the vehicle history report include:
• The previous owners of a car
• Accident history
• Whether the car has been stolen
• Repair records
• Cosmetic issues
• Recalls on the vehicle
• Reason(s) for selling the car
• Salvage title
If you notice any missing information in the report when it comes to maintenance records and mechanical concerns, you should ask the seller to provide this separately.
You can get the vehicle history report on Carfax andAutoCheck by entering the vehicle identification number (VIN). Find it near the car’s windshield toward the driver’s side dashboard. It is also available on many online listings posted by private sellers.
Doing so can help you determine whether a vehicle is worth buying for a given price based on its current condition. If a seller hesitates to provide authentic details about the car, you should look for a different party.
Use Cosmetic Issues To Bargain
Finding cosmetic issues on a vehicle and mentioning them during the negotiations is a great way to lower the price. When used correctly, these issues can be a real game-changer.
Even though cosmetic issues don’t directly affect a car's performance, they can still affect its overall value. Cosmetic issues can be used as a bargaining chip, no matter how minute they seem.
Inspect the vehicle on your own or ask a professional mechanic to do it on your behalf. If you’re buying a used car online, you can look at photos or, if you want more detail, connect with the seller via video call and see the car’s condition on your own. Sellers on reputable online marketplaces (like those listed above) usually accommodate buyers in this regard.
By being specific about repairs you’ll need to cover after the sale, you can better convince the seller that it’s fair to lower the price of the car.