How to Make an Offer on a Car


Whether you're buying a new or used car, here's how to make an offer they can't refuse.

  • Know the car's value. Whether you have an invoice price or the Kelley Blue Book price (see Related Sites), you need to know where to start your negotiations.

  • Avoid having your heart set on one particular car. You make yourself susceptible emotionally if you do that, because you really want this car and will give in if the deal starts heading south.

  • Decide how much you're willing to pay as a final price. Stay firm on that; if the seller won't agree, walk away.

  • Be polite and friendly. Comment on what you like about the car and ask questions. The intent is to make the seller comfortable.

  • Make your first offer. This should be below what you're willing to pay, but not insultingly low.

  • Allow the seller to make a counteroffer.

  • Point out that the car isn't the color you want or has options you don't need. Stay friendly.

  • Pay close attention. When the seller feels like he's getting close to making a deal, he'll work harder to keep you there. Negotiate until you get to this point.

  • Say you want to think about it and will call him later. When he hears that, he'll likely offer a price close to what you have in mind.

Tips & Warnings

  • When bargaining for a used car, you'll want to take into account low or high mileage, extras such as a CD player or tinted windows, and especially how well the car has been maintained.
  • Dress comfortably and stay calm and loose. You'll be harder to read if you remain unconcerned as the dealing escalates.

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