5 Tips for Negotiating with a Car Dealership

Buying a car can be one of the most stressful events you experience.  From the search for the right model, determining a budget, arranging to finance, to finally negotiating the right sales price for your next vehicle there are many uncertainties that lead to making the entire process lengthy and frustrating.  To have a better experience when buying your next car, here are 5 tips that will help you when negotiating with a car dealership:

  • Do your research.  Before going to the dealership to begin looking at potential cars to buy, do some research.  Create a list of items or criteria you want to find in your new car.  Are you looking for a commuter vehicle or a family-sized car?  What is most important to you, safety or fuel economy?  Are you looking for a brand new car or a used car?  If you’re looking for a used car do you have a specific year range you want to buy?  These questions can help you begin to create a checklist of what you want to look for in your next car.  You can begin searching by visiting dealership websites, looking at car listings online, or checking out local advertisements.  When doing research you should also become familiar with what the going price for the standard model is.  You can even look for the blue book values to know what a fair price range is.  If you want to be even more prepared you can even have your financing in place before beginning your search.  This will make you more aware of your budget and price range when searching as well.
  • Don’t let your guard down.  For many car buyers, they are prepared for the initial negotiation process but often fall into the trap of adding on lots of “extras” after an initial purchase price is agreed upon.  It is important to realize that every step of the process before you sign paperwork is still part of the negotiation.  You can choose to add extras, but most times these are not necessary for the purchase.
  • Understand the negotiating process and how it works.  As you learn about what a negotiation is you are better prepared to be part of one.  Knowing that a successful negotiation process usually means that both parties will end up compromising to make the deal better prepares you for deciding which items you are prepared to compromise on.
  • Know where you want to end up.  If you have a specific budget that you can’t exceed it is important to know that you may need to start with a much lower offer in order to make a compromise that will meet your end result.
  • Be willing to walk away.  Most importantly it is important to know when you can’t make a deal and be willing to walk away.  Buying a car is often an emotional process and it is easy to become swept up in the negotiating.  You need to know where your bottom line is and what you are willing to accept and walk away if you can’t make that deal.