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3: Analyze Your Circumstances

Practice Your Negotiation Skills

Boxing gloves punchingYou may not be a natural negotiator, but here are some ways to increase your skills:

  • Be pleasant. The seller has a job to sell you a car. No need to treat him or her like a villain.
  • Slow down. Don’t rush to show how anxious you are to buy the car. 
  • Know what you want and explain it. If you sense that the seller is trying to move you away from your criteria, walk back to your research and your list of needs. 
  • Know what you can afford. It can help to be preapproved through your bank or credit union ahead of time.
  • Keep each transaction separate. Don’t get caught up in numbers for trade-ins. Negotiate the price of the car separate from the value of your trade-in and loan financing arrangements
  • Keep in control of your time. 
    • Limit the amount of time you give the seller to get information. 
    • Have a time frame for making your purchase. Tell the seller when you intend to purchase a car. This will prevent the “what will it take to get you into this car today” discussion.
    • Be respectful. Of course the seller is able to take money off to make the deal right now. That’s the job he or she does. Explain that you have a time frame in mind and will get back to him or her in that period. 

Car Buying Don’ts

The Credit Union National Association makes these suggestions for what not to do when buying a car:

  • Don’t buy a car on your first visit.
  • Don’t give away the price or price range you’re willing to pay.
  • Don’t go there on an empty stomach.
  • Don’t get hung up on superficial things like color; focus on the performance and driving experience.
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