How to haggle when buying a car

Ford Focus

Haggling is an art form, a joust between someone who is trying to get as much money as they can for a vital object, and someone who is trying to pay as little. Other than perhaps a home it’s the most expensive item you’ll ever barter on, with a huge array of variables that can affect the final price.

Here are several ways to capitalise on your finance position courtesy of Money Advice Service.

Know the market

What Car provides an online Target Price guide to what you should be paying for a car, based on real prices from across the UK. Take printouts of costs of models of interest with you to the dealer so you have a yardstick for your potential purchase.

Take an expert

One of the best pieces of advice we can give; take someone to the dealership who knows the car industry. A pal who’s into their motors or a mechanic who is a friend of the family are perfect choices. The ideal candidate is someone who can give you an honest appraisal of a car and its value, pointing out defects and rust spots that you wouldn’t have seen.

Decide on a maximum price beforehand – and then go home

This is a tough decision, because you can absolutely, cast-iron refuse to contemplate spending more than £10,000 before you arrive and see your perfect car for £10,500.

It’s tempting to just push ‘go’ there and then. Don’t do it. Look at other cars and models, and go home and think about it some more. If you absolutely, definitively have to take that car, then see if you can makes savings elsewhere in your monthly outgoings.

You hold the balance of power

There are thousands of cars for sale, but only one salesman standing in front of you. You can walk away at any time and you both know that. And unless you’re after a rarer marque or model you’ll be able to find a similar car elsewhere, possibly at a better price.

You can definitely play a strong hand at certain times of the year such as just after Christmas or just before the release of the new models, when sales might be tougher.

So go in with a bid at the lower end of the market, and let the dealer take the price up to a level you’re both happy with. If he doesn’t do so and remains resolute, walk away.

He’s not your friend

…but he’ll act like he is. Slick and smarmy, the pro will make you feel he’s doing you a favour by letting you have this car. Cups of tea at the desk, asking about your family and other small talk are all additional bait for the catch, and you’re the prize. The confident dealer will even stand differently and change their voice to exert power, as this recent report from San Diego State University details.

Don’t be fooled or intimidated, but equally don’t be rude or aloof.

Extras

If you’ve decided on paying a little more than you wanted, look for ways to soften the blow – especially if you’re buying on finance. Ask for extended warranties, a service, road tax, insurance discounts, or other perks.

History

The final piece of advice; when you’re doing your research at home, use a company such as HPI to find out about the history of the vehicle to confirm that it hasn’t been written-off, stolen, or the subject of a logbook loan. One little check could save you a lot of heartache.

Once you found the car you want there are further savings to be achieved in the overall costs. One of the first ones is to insure your automobile at a reasonable cost. In order to achieve this objective, you should get cheap car insurance quotes from a few companies and compare them to find the best deal. You could easily reduce your premium as much as 50% by using this method. Always keep this in mind.


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