Buyers' Guide: Negotiating for your next car
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When shopping for a used car, you always want to get the best possible price. Whether it’s your first car or your fifth, being able to effectively negotiate with a private seller or a dealer salesperson can help secure the outcome you want.
To help give you the added confidence when buying your next car, here are a few of our top tips.
Do your homework
Before entering into any negotiations, the most important step is to do some research in order to boost your knowledge and confidence.
Thanks to the internet, it’s much easier in today’s world to find out what most cars are worth.
We suggest finding several examples of the same model and compare the final cost.
Remember to factor in any on-road costs.
These typically include a registration, a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) and a valet clean.
Remember that not everyone is a car buff and many sellers will be able to tell you only about the functions that they’ve used when driving their vehicle.
But that isn’t necessarily going to be everything it has to offer.
Even professional salespeople may not know every feature of each model on the yard, which is why it’s important to do your own research beforehand.
We also recommend that you always test drive the vehicle.
For sight-unseen vehicles this can be covered off in your pre-purchase inspection providing the vehicle is road legal.
Even a short road test can pick up unusual noises, vibrations and other faults.
When shopping privately, there’s no protection from the Consumer Guarantees Act or Fair Trading Act should anything go wrong with the vehicle.
However, you may have protection under the Contract and Commercial Law Act if the seller has misled you.
This applies particularly when you are misled about something significant and you decided to buy because of what was said.
Always ensure that there’s no outstanding finance on the vehicle by purchasing a vehicle history report. The last thing you want is to take on any outstanding security interest.
It’s time to negotiate
After you’ve done your research and you’re happy that everything checks out, it’s time to start discussing price.
1. Don’t be afraid to bring a friend or family member for support
2. Show an expression of interest
3. Explain any concerns you have with the vehicle’s condition
4. Ask for vehicle history (if you haven’t already) and evidence of any repair/modification work that’s been completed
5. State your terms and insist on a Warrant of Fitness no more than 28 days old as a minimum requirement.
Also ensure that the registration, or road user charges (RUC) for diesel vehicles, hasn’t expired
6. Make a reasonable offer and support it with reason. Negotiations are all about compromise and being realistic. Going too low could put the seller off completely
Once you’ve agreed on a price, it’s always recommended to get a pre-purchase inspection before finalising the sale.
Having a professional look over the car makes you aware of any urgent or imminent repairs.
Any repair work that’s required may give you another bargaining tool.
Can’t agree on a price?
If you have reached a stalemate and can’t agree on a price, shake the seller’s hand and share your contact details.
Ask them to contact you if they change their mind, and explain if you will be looking elsewhere for alternative choices. This in itself could lead to a breakthrough or you could receive a call over the next few days.
Ensure that you discuss any issues you have with the car, and never be afraid to walk away before signing an agreement and handing over any money.
You should always be fully satisfied with your purchase.