Negotiating is part of the process of buying a vehicle, even if it's used. If you're focusing on used cars and have found a vehicle that suits your needs, responded well during the test drive, and sits within your budget, it's time to begin negotiating. The negotiation process requires some good faith from both parties. You want to get the vehicle for the least amount of money possible, while the seller wants to sell the vehicle for the most money possible. Ideally, you'll meet in the middle and both be happy with the result. However, you'll want to stay away from some negotiation mistakes that can harm the process, including the following.
Starting Way Too Low
Starting your negotiation by low-balling the seller is one way to get the entire process off on the wrong foot. While sellers understand that buyers will typically offer a price that is below the vehicle's asking price, it's important to avoid being disrespectful. A purchase offer that is too low may send a message that you're not serious about buying the vehicle, at which point the seller may turn his or her attention toward another interested buyer. For example, if a seller prices a vehicle at $12,500, it's because he or she thinks it will sell in that neighborhood, and an initial offer of $6,250 isn't going to work.
Outlining Everything You Don't Like
When you assess a used vehicle and its price, you may decide to offer less than the asking price because there are some things you don't like about it. For example, perhaps it has more mileage than you'd ideally want, but it's otherwise a sound vehicle that would suit you. It's handy to keep such thoughts to yourself. No seller, especially if you're buying from the owner directly, wants to hear a long list of criticisms about the vehicle.
Changing Your Mind Partway Through
While it's certainly acceptable to politely walk away partway through a negotiation if it's not going the way you'd like, it's a bad idea to change your mind when you're well into the process. For example, if you've offered less than the asking price and the seller and countered your offer, you'll typically raise your initial offer a little and the process will carry on in this fashion. It's poor protocol, however, to decide that you want a better deal and begin offering less money than you started at. Doing so may compromise the deal.