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How to negotiate the best price on a car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators that provide original and reliable content. This allows you to conduct research and compare information for free and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn Money The offers that appear on this site come from companies who pay us. This compensation may impact how and when products are listed on this site, including for instance, the order in which they appear within the listing categories and other categories, unless prohibited by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity and other products for home loans. However, this compensation will not influence the content we publish or the reviews you see on this site. We do not cover the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
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4 minutes read. Published September 20, 2022
Authored by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter
Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers in navigating the ways and pitfalls of using loans to buy the car they want.
Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor
Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances through providing clear, well-researched facts that break down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.
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A new car purchase is thrilling, but negotiating for the lowest price may be intimidating. Preparation is the key to having confidence and pushing for the price you’re entitled to. 7 steps to negotiate your car price Get yourself set for success when negotiating by and exploring your options. These tips will help you feel more prepared to negotiate with the seller, and will help you get a deal that fits your budget. 1. Figure out the essentials Before negotiations can start take a look at the type of car you want. If you don’t have your dream set of wheels, consider your needs and lifestyle. Are you likely to drive long distances or through high traffic, and require an efficient vehicle that is fuel-efficient? Are you only traveling with your spouse, or do you need something larger to transport your children and relatives? Are any features non-negotiable? These are only a few questions to ponder when determining which makes and models to choose . Also, you can run the numbers to get an idea of . Make use of an auto loan calculator to calculate the cost of a monthly installment Be sure to take into account the other option in determining a budget. Determine the maximum amount you will spend and keep this number in mind when you negotiate. 2. Get preapproved for financing The second thing you must look into financing. You should think about financing prior to going to a dealership to buy a car. Many car dealerships offer in-house financing, however it’s not . Dealerships usually raise their loan rates to make gain. There are better deals from banks, credit unions and online lenders. So, compare offers and online. Securing financing will help you stay firm. You’ll know precisely the amount you’ll need to pay, which means less incentive to upgrade and expensive add-ons. Preapproval also gives the buyer the ability to negotiate – dealers could be willing to match or beat the other offers you get to gain your business. To find out what your the monthly payment could be with different rates and loan conditions. 3. Do some research on the car’s worth Find out the car’s value and jot down the following numbers (MSRP): Manufacturer Suggested Retail (MSRP) is the suggested sale price of the manufacturer, also known as the « sticker » price. invoice price : The amount the dealer pays to the manufacturer to purchase the car. Fair market value : The cost that other people pay for the exact same or similar car. Look for the MSRP on the price sheet attached to the window of the car. You can identify the invoice price and fair market value by conducting an online search or by using a tool. If you want a new car, consider the price of your invoice as your starting place. The ideal price to decide on should be in the range of that MSRP and this amount. If you’re purchasing used or a used vehicle, you’ll have more flexibility when negotiating, depending on the vehicle’s model, make, mileage and condition. 4. Find out about dealerships. Even if a dealership offers good deals on vehicles you like, it may not be the best choice. Beware of dealers that charge high dealer costs or have bad reputations. Read online reviews to get insights from customers who have been there. Also, ask about dealer fees before you start shopping for the next car. 5. If you don’t have a clear idea of the automobile you’re looking to buy, right up to the manufacturer models, VIN and model Shop around. Check out some dealerships in your area in the span of several weeks. Get a feel for the cars that are available, and speak with a few different salespeople. Create a shortlist of your top choices and look up the MSRP, invoice price and Fair Market Value. This will help you in the process. You’ll have the information you need to negotiate the most favorable price and the dealer will know you’ve conducted your own research. It is harder to negotiate and it is easier to overpay when buying a car when you hurry through the purchasing process. 6. Read up on negotiation tips The salesperson will want you to negotiate the cost of your car. Don’t feel bad asking, but make sure you’ve got an idea of what you want to achieve. Prepare prices reports or comparison sheets. Visit websites like and . If you know what a fair price for the car is or the dealership you are considering offers an offer that is better, you should communicate this information. This gives you a leg up in negotiating. Be firm. Even if it is difficult about seeking a better price, try not to show it. Be confident and tell them the price you want to pay. It also implies faith in knowing what you’re entitled to. For instance, if you know you have good credit make use of it to your advantage when discussing dealership financing. Prepare yourself for the long run. It’s not unusual to find the negotiation process to take time. Plan for an extended time at the dealership by being rested and taking care to avoid the possibility of getting angry or racing due to thirst, hunger or other issues. If you aren’t able to negotiate the price you desire, don’t be afraid to walk away. You might find a different car for sale and a better price elsewhere, or visit the dealership next time and attempt to bargain again. The fact that you walk away proves that you are serious about getting a good bargain. 7. Alternate salesperson if you’re dealing with a salesperson who is infuriating you, locate another person who can help. It’s a good idea to bring your business to a different dealership for a fair treatment while shopping and negotiating the most favorable price for an automobile. Next steps Buying a car requires effort and time, but when you’re spending this much money you must be sure to get the car you desire at the price you desire before you close the deal. Take time before getting to the dealership to prepare to negotiate with confidence and knowledge about how much you should pay. Don’t be afraid to insist on the price you’d like to pay and leave if needed. Find out more
Written by Auto Loans Reporter
Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She has a specialization in helping readers to navigate the ways and pitfalls of using loans to buy a car.
Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor
Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers to take control of their finances by providing precise, well-studied information that breaks down complicated subjects into digestible pieces.
Auto loans editor
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