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June 2, 2016

Secrets of Negotiating with a Used Car Salesman

When you buy a used car, do you feel at a disadvantage because you don’t think you are very good at negotiating? Do you leave the car lot thinking you could have gotten a better deal?

The secret to negotiating is all about knowledge and preparation. You need to even the odds a little because initially the salesman holds most of the cards – he knows what the dealership paid for the car, and how much it is willing to sell it for. Plus, if you give away too much too soon, he knows what you are willing to pay and what car you want.

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Improve your negotiating skills before agreeing to a used car’s price!

To even things out a little, some experts suggest keeping your cards a little closer to your chest. Don’t reveal immediately how much you are willing to pay or what car you are interested in. And before you go to the dealership, find out as much about the car you want as you can.


  1. Do your research.

Check out Consumer Reports’ used car section to find out which are the most reliable. Then check out Kelley Blue Book’s Guide to Used Cars and the National Automobile Dealer’s Official Used Car Guide. Don’t rely just on the online version of these publications: they will only have the retail price – what the dealer charges the customer, not the wholesale price, which is what the dealer paid for the car.

Check out the dealerships in your area to see if they have the type of car you are interested in and see what they are asking for it. You might be able to find out by going on their websites or by checking

Use CarFax or a similar car history service to find out the vehicle’s history. It will tell you things such as how many owners the car has had and whether it has been involved in any accidents.


  1. At the dealership.

The first thing you need to determine is the absolute limit you are willing to pay. Have this in mind before you go to the dealership. If the dealer will not meet this price, it is time to walk away.

Most dealers mark up the vehicles about 20 percent from what they paid for it. So a good first offer would be 15 percent below what they are asking. You want the dealer to make a profit, but you don’t want to pay through the nose.

The salesperson may hem and haw and start haggling, but simply let him or her know that you want to get as close to wholesale as possible. If the salesperson still won’t come down much, offer 10 percent below the original figure.

And again, if he or she won’t meet your price, be ready to walk away.


  1. If possible, negotiate from home.

Find a car you’re interested in, but don’t talk sales price with the salesperson on the lot. Instead, tell him or her you need to leave, but will call later to discuss price. Negotiating on the lot means you’re doing so on the salesperson’s territory, which puts you at a disadvantage. Instead, call from your own territory – your home or office.

The PAACO Automotive Group is known for helping residents of the greater Dallas region find – and finance – affordable and reliable new cars. Check out one our locations near you soon. If You also may call us at 877-810-4555.

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/

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