Most people dread the negotiations part of car buying. You might have a sense already that the dealership is out to get every single penny they can from you. You’re right, that is their business model. You might also feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the car buying process. Have no fear because knowledge is power. With a little bit of knowledge even you can become a master negotiator for your next car purchase.
Probably the single most important aspect of negotiations, and the hardest thing to do when you’ve fallen in love with a car on the lot, is to walk away. You have to be willing to walk away from a deal and a dealership if they won’t budge or if you feel there isn’t much to that deal that benefits you. It’s hard to walk away if you have your heart set on something, but it the single most powerful negotiating tool you have. Chances are, the salesman will be calling in short order to see what they can do to make the sale happen since their livelihood depends on it.
Another important negotiation aspect for car buying specifically is to time your purchase well. There are certain days of the week, weeks of the month, months of the year and holidays that present better opportunities for car buying. Car salesmen’s salaries are tied to the number of cars they sell. If they are selling a lot, they might get a bonus at the end of the month, the quarter or the year. Try visiting the lot toward the end of those time frames and you might find salesmen looking to do whatever it takes to add another vehicle to the sold column. The winter months are also a great time to buy a vehicle since most people don’t want to shop during crummy weather and might be saving for holiday spending. Both of these scenarios could mean car salesmen are hungry for a sale and inclined to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Way before you ever walk into a dealership, you will want to be sure you arm yourself with knowledge. This is probably the most critical aspect that will land negotiations in your favor. Know how much the car you want to buy is selling for. You can research topics like these on websites like Cars.com. Know how much your trade in vehicle is worth and be sure not to tell the dealer before you agree on a purchase price. Know that you have lending options outside of the dealership that you can call if you agree on a price. And finally, know how much your maximum purchase price is so that you know when to walk away.