The thought of negotiating with a person that doesn’t work for a dealership can be stressful. It can be nerve-racking on both sides of this type of situation. The seller is trying to get the most out of their car, and the buyer is looking to save a little cash. Not having to pay all the extra fees that are applied at a dealership will keep costs lower.


Before any large purchase do your research. Don’t just run out a buy the first pretty car that you see. Make sure you know what you want and what you are willing to compromise. When buying used, you have to be prepared for it not to be in the perfect condition. It will not be like buying a brand-new vehicle. One place to get an idea of what you can expect to pay is Kelly Blue Book. Also, look at the local listings to see the prices of similar vehicles.

Ask Questions and Inspect the Vehicle

Once you have narrowed down your selection, reach out to a seller. Ask as many questions as you can. They are in the hot seat, not you! The seller is trying to get rid of their vehicle for one reason or another, so find out why. If you are not technically inclined, you will want to have it checked out by a trusted mechanic. Make sure you are not buying something that is going to fall apart and end up in the shop.

Be Kind

Knowing about any issues, mechanical or cosmetic, can be your first bargaining chip. This is where it can be a little uncomfortable. You don’t want to be too negative about the vehicle, which can rub the seller the wrong way. Remember that they have many great memories with this vehicle. It is a good idea to use any problems to your advantage as long as you approach it tactfully. Bring up anything you would have to spend money on before giving your first offer. Kindness will never hurt in awkward situations.   

Start Low

Don’t go in with your final offer! Most sellers are going to price their vehicles a little higher than what they are willing to accept, as long as they do not need to sell quickly. However, all sellers want to sell quickly, and you can use this to your advantage. Start below the max you are willing to pay and see how they take it. Best case scenario they take it. Worst case scenario they counter with asking amount. If they don’t budge, go a little higher, and see if it changes their mind.

Make sure to read the ads very carefully, if it says no negotiating don’t be surprised if you get the cold shoulder when you try it. Hopefully, you will be able to find the perfect price to satisfy both parties. Don’t forget to have fun!

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