Getting the best deal at a car dealership isn’t the same as it once was. Some dealers advertise “no-haggle” pricing, but if you like to haggle, you certainly can.
Unless a dealership specifically lists every car at MSRP or Blue Book Value, you have room to negotiate. Even at these prices, you should have some room to either ask for extras or get a better deal. If you have the right information, you can get a great deal on the car you want to buy.
Here are seven tips to help you negotiate the best deal at the car dealership.
1. Arrive at the dealership armed with knowledge
The internet is your friend and is filled with information regarding the vehicles you want to consider and how much you should pay for that model. Before you ever leave your home, it’s possible to have a complete deal setup, including trade-in value and financing. Of course, if you want to maximize the trade-in value of your old ride, you’ll need to take it to the dealership first to get a quote. Regardless, the information needed is available from the comfort of your home.
2. Try to keep emotions out of the conversation
If you’re someone that tends to get emotional and might get too excited during the car shopping experience, you have to find a way to keep them at bay. The dealership team will treat the transaction as a business deal, and so should you. If you can seem dismissive and keep your emotions in check, it’s much easier to negotiate the best deal at a car dealership.
3. Focus on the price of the car, not the payment
You’ve likely worked out how much your monthly payment can be, but that isn’t the price you want to focus on. Instead, you need to know what the “out-the-door” price a dealer is willing to offer. This price needs to include all fees and taxes, which is the full amount you’ll finance. If you can afford it, you can lower your monthly payment by paying the taxes upfront and asking the dealership to waive certain fees.
4. Negotiate everything you can
If you’re looking for the best deal possible at the car dealership, you’ve got to negotiate everything you can. There are only three things you can’t negotiate, taxes, registration fees, and destination chargers. These are charged to the dealer by outside entities. Everything else is negotiable. Look for ways to cut the price down and don’t pay for secondary freight charges; that’s a dealer add-on that should never be allowed. You can even negotiate the price of the car because the MSRP is a suggested price and not set in stone.
5. Timing is everything
One of the best ways to get a great deal is to shop for the current model year vehicles when the new models are scheduled to arrive. Most dealers are looking for ways to clear inventory and make room for the new models. This is the best time to get dealer discounts and extras that aren’t available during other times of the year. The time of year, when you buy a new vehicle, makes a huge difference in how much you’ll pay.
6. Get pre-approved financing before heading to the dealership
It’s always good to show the dealership you can beat their deal, especially when it comes to financing. Get some pre-approved financing with the terms you want at your bank before you head to the dealership. This allows you to have another negotiating item in your pocket. The dealership might beat your bank’s rates and loan terms, but without pre-approved financing, they have no incentive to do so. This is part of cutting down on the amount you pay for your next ride.
7. Negotiate your trade-in separately from the vehicle price
Dealers can make paperwork say anything they want. Your paperwork could show a high value for your trade-in, but the new car’s price might go up significantly during the process. Negotiate a trade-in value and the price of your new car separately. This might require that you visit the dealership more than once or that you need to visit several dealers and make them beat prices to get your business. This is a great way to get the best deal and keep the dealer from adding to the price of your new ride.
Use these seven tips to negotiate the best deal at car dealerships and drive a vehicle that costs a lot less for you than other consumers.
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