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How to Negotiate a Used Vehicle Purchase or Sale

Handy tips and advice to make the best possible deal Automotive expert , Updated:

Article provided by CARPROOF

Whether you’re buying a used car or selling your old one, it’s important to get a good price so you can drive away happy and confident. Here are some negotiation tips for buyers and sellers:

1.    Do your research. 
It’s important to know what vehicles similar to the one you’re looking at are selling for. Checking out list prices can give you an idea of features and ballpark prices to help you narrow down your choices. Be aware that list prices are just asking prices and that there will typically be a difference between the asking price and how much the vehicle actually sells for. Understanding this will help you make realistic expectations.

2.    Get the details about the car. 
Many factors influence the price of a used car, so make sure you know everything there is to know. Things like higher-than-normal odometer readings and accident history can reduce the value of a car, while add-on features like winter tires and new brakes can increase its value. Here are some more factors that influence vehicle value

3.    Be prepared for your test drive. 
The test drive is a great opportunity to ask the seller questions about the vehicle. Being prepared with a list of questions and things to check helps ensure you don’t forget to look into any of the important details. Learn to master the art of the test drive here.

4.    Get a CARPROOF Vehicle History Report. 
About 30% of vehicles have been in an accident and damage history impacts vehicle value. A car with damage history can still be a great buy, and may even be your opportunity to get into a more premium model than you could have afforded otherwise. Finding out about the damage is key to making sure it’s been properly repaired and the vehicle is safe. 

On top of that, 37% of vehicles searched by CARPROOF have active liens, and buying a car with a lien could leave you responsible for someone else’s debt. Not sure what a lien is? You’re not alone. Click here to learn. CARPROOF reports tell you about accident history, lien status, registration history, unfixed safety recalls and more, giving you confidence that the vehicle you’re buying is exactly what the seller says it is.  

5.    Get a pre-purchase inspection
Take the vehicle to visit a trusted mechanic. Bring the CARPROOF report to give them a heads-up on previous repair or body-work so they can check to make sure any damage has been properly repaired. 

6.    Know your limits. 
Walk into the negotiation knowing what you’re willing to pay– don’t be afraid to walk away if the seller isn’t open to your price ceiling. 

7.    Don’t forget the tax. 
When you decide the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for the vehicle, keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay sales tax. Check with your provincial licensing office so you know how much you’ll need to hand over.

8.    Be respectful. 
Don’t give the seller a lowball offer that’s way below their asking price. You’re better off just walking away if their asking price is significantly higher than what you’re willing to pay. A lowball offer will likely insult the seller and they may not want to negotiate with you any further.

For more information on buying a used car, download the free Used Car Buying Guide from CARPROOF

1.    Make sure your car is ready for sale.
Every car looks better after a good wash, and that includes the interior. Clean out all the junk in your car, including any sporting equipment and kid’s stuff you may have in the back seat. Wash those floor mats and vacuum between the seats. Make the car look (and smell) as clean as the day you bought it. 

2.    Post detailed, comprehensive listings online.
Most Canadian used car shoppers (47% according to Into the Minds of Consumers) start their used car search on listing sites. Make your listings count by including all of the information the customers are looking for, especially a CARPROOF Vehicle History Report (VHR). In fact, 81% of online VHR viewers disqualify vehicles from their search if they don’t have a VHR attached. 

3.    Be realistic about your asking price. 
As you’d expect, price is the element most used car shoppers are certain about when they start their search. They may not know which vehicle they want, and they may not know where they want to buy it, but they know how much they are willing to pay. Make sure your asking price is reasonable and in-line with what comparable vehicles actually sell for to avoid disqualifying yourself from the running before you have a chance to negotiate with potential buyers. 

4.    Be transparent.
It’s the information age, and used car buyers have access to more information than ever before. Show them you’re a seller they can trust by being open and honest about anything that may have happened in the vehicle’s history – 60% of consumers are open to buying a vehicle with damage history, and this is your opportunity to show them that it’s been properly repaired. It will also help to hang onto your maintenance records so you can show your potential buyer that the vehicle has been well cared-for.

5.    Know which questions to expect.
Every buyer is different and some may surprise you with the things they want to know – but there are common questions that you’ll get, and having well thought-out replies can help make sure you remember all of the details you want to share. Here’s a list of questions to expect.  

6.    Throw in your winter tires.
Do you have winter tires for the car? How about a roof-rack? Any extra add-ons or bells and whistles can help sweeten the deal.

7.    Be knowledgeable about the process. 
The rules and regulations around finalizing a used car sale differ by province. Make sure you know the process and present yourself as a knowledgeable, experienced seller. Have a look at this free guide that breaks-out the documents you need and processes you’ll have to follow, based on the province where you’re making your deal. 

For more information on selling a used car, download the free Used Car Selling Guide from CARPROOF