10 Steps to Selling Your Car
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10 Steps to Selling Your Car

Step 7: Negotiate for Your Best Price


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10 Steps to Selling Your Car

Step 7: Negotiate for Your Best Price

If a person comes to look at the car and it passes their approval after a test-drive, you can expect them to make an offer. Most people are uncomfortable negotiating, so their opening offer might take several forms.

"I like the car, but…." This is the softest way to negotiate on the price. They may not even state that the price seems too high. If they say, "I like the car, but…" and then lapse into uncomfortable silence, you might consider an appropriate response. If you really want to move the car, you could say, "How much would you be willing to pay?"

"What's your best price?" This is a more direct way to probe the seller to find out how much he or she will come down. If you get this from a prospective buyer, don't seem too eager to reduce your price.

"Would you accept…?" Now we're getting somewhere. This buyer has thought it over and is making an offer. But the offer is being presented in a polite manner designed to allow for a counter offer.

"Take it or leave it." This buyer is making an offer that supposedly leaves no room for a counter offer. In reality, this buyer might be bluffing. Still, they are sending a message that they are close to their final price. The only way to know for sure whether it really is a "take it or leave it" offer is to leave it — and let them leave. They may return tomorrow ready to pay your price.

The above are just a few of the openers you might encounter. Think of your responses ahead of time so you won't be caught unprepared. In general, it's a good idea to hold to your price when your car first goes up for sale. If you don't get any buyers right away, you'll know you have to be flexible about the price.

If you post an online ad you might get people trying to negotiate via e-mail. The problem with this is that they haven't even seen the car yet. If you discount the price by e-mail, they may ask for another price reduction after they've inspected it. Instead, respond by saying, "Come see the car first and then we can discuss the price."

Next: Handling Complications


To find a dealership that knows how to treat shoppers right, please visit Edmunds.com's Dealer Ratings and Reviews.

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