12 tips for negotiating the price of a used car


Bargaining a lower price on a used car isn’t as scary as it sounds

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You’ve found a vehicle that could be your next car and you’re ready to chat with the seller to see if you can lower the price.

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It might seem like an uphill battle, but if you use the tips below, negotiating the price of a used car will be a lot less stressful than you might think.

How to negotiate for a used car

Negotiating a lower price on a used car isn’t as scary as it sounds. Getting in with a clear mind and the research you’ve done is half the battle. If you do your homework, schedule releases, and manage your expectations, the experience will be much smoother. Having a specific number in mind when starting a negotiation could hurt the whole process. Instead, pick a price range you’re looking to get and base that range on the research you’ve done. When choosing the range, keep in mind that there are a lot of things that can influence the price of a used car, so plan for them.

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How much can you trade on a used car?

There is no set amount for which you can negotiate a used car. Every used vehicle is different in one way or another, and the price will be a direct result. There are many factors that can influence the deal you are negotiating. Things like: what is the average selling price of similar cars, was the scheduled maintenance met, does the car need to be detailed, are winter tires included? These might seem like little things, but they could be a big difference in how much rebate you can get on the used car you’re looking for. Use these factors to negotiate the price.

Trading Tips:

1. Do your research . It’s important that you get a great car for a fair price, and the first step in doing that is understanding how much it’s worth. Start by knowing what prices similar vehicles have sold for in your area so you can make an informed decision on which vehicle you are interested in. Find out what the car is worth using the CARFAX Canada Value Range Tool.

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2. Obtain the CARFAX Canada report. Obtain the seller’s VIN in order to run a CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report on the car you are interested in. The report will provide important information about the car such as accident history, unpaid liens, odometer reading, and maintenance records. It will also give you an overview of the registration history and the brand. This critical information can be used as leverage in the negotiation phase.

3. Take other factors into account . There are several other things that can influence the selling price of a car like color, if it has been smoked, interior wear, number of previous owners, extended warranties, aftermarket features, extras like winter tires or recent replacement of important features like the brakes. Use them as factors like opportunities to negotiate the price of the used car.

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4. Take the car for a inspection before purchase. Get an independent and licensed mechanic to do a detailed vehicle inspection. Bring your CARFAX Canada report with you as you will want to verify that any previous damage has been properly repaired.

5. Don’t forget the sales tax. If you are purchasing the vehicle privately, keep in mind that when you register your vehicle, you will have to pay sales tax on the price you paid for the vehicle. Check with your provincial licensing office to find out how much you will need to pay.

6. Know your starting price. Before you begin the negotiation process, determine the highest amount you are willing to pay for that particular vehicle.

7. Work as a team . If you’re going to make the offer with your significant other, make sure you’re both on the same page. Discuss your trading strategy beforehand and decide together what is your ideal price range and determine your maximum price. Arguing or questioning yourself later in front of the salesperson won’t help you get a better deal.

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8. Ask the tough questions. If the CARFAX Canada report reveals that the vehicle was damaged, verify that the vehicle was properly repaired. Ask to see if this incident impacted the vehicle in any other way. The same goes for any issues discovered during the pre-purchase inspection, as well as any visible damage or defect – don’t be afraid to talk about it! These elements could influence the price of the vehicle and give you more negotiating room.

9. Control what you say and how you say it. It’s important to be confident when negotiating a lower price on a used car, but there is a balance. Don’t be pushy or overconfident, it might scare off the seller. On the other hand, don’t sound uncertain when speaking – your negotiated price shouldn’t be a question. You may feel frustrated that the deal doesn’t go the way you hoped, but don’t show it. Don’t get angry or make it difficult for yourself, it won’t change the course of the negotiation in your favor.

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10. Show respect. Don’t make a lowball offer well below the seller’s asking price. You risk insulting them and they will probably not want to negotiate with you anymore. Think about it from their perspective: if you were sell your used car , would YOU like someone to make an excessively low bid?

11. Don’t rush the decision. If the seller makes a counter offer and you’d like to think about it, that’s okay. Let the seller know – buying a car is a big decision, not a decision you want to rush into. If the seller has other potential buyers, be aware that you could lose the car if you wait.

12. Be ready to go. There are many options for buying a used car. Don’t get too attached to the vehicle, especially if you and the seller can’t come to an agreement. Anytime you find yourself in a negotiating situation, you need to be prepared to walk away if that’s the case.

This article has been provided by CARFAX Canada; the country’s definitive source of automotive information, providing vehicle history and valuation.

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