Negotiating used car during price surge

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michaeljc70
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Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by michaeljc70 »

We need to replace an old car and unfortunately cannot wait. We want a specific make/model/trim level used car. My question is, other than making sure they don't tack on ridiculous fees, how do you know if you are getting a good deal during a time where prices have surged? One car we are particularly interested in (at a dealership) is at the very low end of the KBB private party sales price range. There aren't a ton of this particular vehicle available so it is not like I can pit 10 dealers against each other and they almost all have slight differences in mileage, year, packages, etc.

Do we just offer 10% less than the asking price and see where we wind up? After seeing/test driving it in person, is it better to try and negotiate at the dealer or say we'll think about it and then try via email?

There aren't really any for sale by private sellers in my area that I can find.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by JoeRetire »

michaeljc70 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:37 am We need to replace an old car and unfortunately cannot wait. We want a specific make/model/trim level used car. My question is, other than making sure they don't tack on ridiculous fees, how do you know if you are getting a good deal during a time where prices have surged
With those strict limitations, you aren't in a position to negotiate for the best deal.
Your best bet is to shop around as much as your timeframe permits and hope you get lucky.
Do we just offer 10% less than the asking price and see where we wind up? After seeing/test driving it in person, is it better to try and negotiate at the dealer or say we'll think about it and then try via email?
That probably depends on what "cannot wait" means in your context.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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gwe67
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by gwe67 »

If they can find someone who is willing to pay more than you, then you are out of luck.
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livesoft
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by livesoft »

michaeljc70 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:37 amDo we just offer 10% less than the asking price and see where we wind up? After seeing/test driving it in person, is it better to try and negotiate at the dealer or say we'll think about it and then try via email?

There aren't really any for sale by private sellers in my area that I can find.
I have been able to do the email thing and also negotiate on the phone and also negotiate while sitting at the dealer. The main thing is to have another vehicle to buy at the price you are willing to pay. If no such vehicle exists and the seller knows it, then you do not have any reason to believe that they should lower their price. If you are just jerking their chain, then they will know that immediately and jerk back. If you say, "I will buy this vehicle right now at this OTD price", then they will perk up.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by BogleFanGal »

michaeljc70 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:37 amOne car we are particularly interested in (at a dealership) is at the very low end of the KBB private party sales price range. There aren't a ton of this particular vehicle available so it is not like I can pit 10 dealers against each other and they almost all have slight differences in mileage, year, packages, etc.
I'd be more concerned with why this dealer - in the midst of the hottest used car market in history and far more buyers than available inventory - is pricing this vehicle as bolded above. That sounds too good to be true. Proceed cautiously.
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rebellovw
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by rebellovw »

I just bought a nice Honda Civic for my son - no negotiation at all. I'd find a nice one - come in low - and the sales person would just say - the price is what it is.

In fact one dealer that I was working with - I offered a price - which they rejected - I bought a car at a cross town dealer - and now I see the car I placed the offer on is now at my price. They lost a sale - but don't really care.

It's worth a try to offer a lower bid - but don't count on it. It is not like the old days. They all have the carfax/truecar report which is awesome and shows the dealer price as either good or great - so not much room for negotiation.
squirm
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by squirm »

Sounds to me you're going to have to cough it up if you really want it. You're not going to get "a good deal" when prices are elevated. However most people like to think they got one regardless if they really did or not, so I guess that's what really counts.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by EddieGee »

The best thing you can do is accept the fact that you, like everyone else, are entirely at the mercy of the marketplace. When car prices are high, they are high, and you are going to have to pay a high price. When cars are selling like hotcakes, dealers have no incentive to make concessions, so they won't. There is no magical way for you to circumvent reality, regardless of how unpleasant it is.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by michaeljc70 »

squirm wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:16 pm Sounds to me you're going to have to cough it up if you really want it. You're not going to get "a good deal" when prices are elevated. However most people like to think they got one regardless if they really did or not, so I guess that's what really counts.
I am not expecting to get thousands off, but I think it would be silly to just say, "yeah, I'll take it." If nothing else, maybe we can get rid of some of the junk fees they will likely try to add on. Since this isn't listed as a "no haggle" price, I assume they don't expect someone to pay full price. Unless it is just to get you into the dealership.....
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by livesoft »

michaeljc70 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 12:50 pm... If nothing else, maybe we can get rid of some of the junk fees they will likely try to add on.
I don't think "junk fees" matter if they lower a different number elsewhere on the sales order. Of course, the sales tax is calculated on a specific number and usually does not include the junk fees.

Salespeople have many different incentives to sell cars and I don't think we can know all of them. For instance, I can imagine that a dealer is having a great week and the sales manager tells their staff "If you sell another car today, you will get an extra $100 in your paycheck!" Of course, whatever price that the salesperson comes up with has to be approved by the sales manager before the deal goes through.

You may not like to play their games, but I think it is fun sometimes. However, I have been involved in sales support for decades, so I may think differently than some other people.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by cacophony »

Negotiating on a used car is tough. Every one is unique (mileage, condition, etc) so you can't easily pit dealers against each other in any effective way. My best advice would be to only to do the negotiating remotely via phone or email. You could say something like "I'm interested in car X but I'm also considering some other options at other dealers, depending on pricing. But if you can give me a good enough price on X, I'm willing to buy today". You'll be perceived as being in a greater position of bargaining strength when you're not already in the dealership and have other options.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by livesoft »

cacophony wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 1:06 pm Negotiating on a used car is tough. Every one is unique (mileage, condition, etc) so you can't easily pit dealers against each other in any effective way. My best advice would be to only to do the negotiating remotely via phone or email. You could say something like "I'm interested in car X but I'm also considering some other options at other dealers, depending on pricing. But if you can give me a good enough price on X, I'm willing to buy today". You'll be perceived as being in a greater position of bargaining strength when you're not already in the dealership and have other options.
However, if you have not even test driven the car that tells them you are not as interested as someone who has test driven the car. I have test driven a used car and then did all negotiation by phone messages over the next few days. I was able to point out similar cars online, too.

When my spouse did the e-mail thing in May, she had already done the test drive, too.
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cacophony
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by cacophony »

livesoft wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 1:16 pm
cacophony wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 1:06 pm Negotiating on a used car is tough. Every one is unique (mileage, condition, etc) so you can't easily pit dealers against each other in any effective way. My best advice would be to only to do the negotiating remotely via phone or email. You could say something like "I'm interested in car X but I'm also considering some other options at other dealers, depending on pricing. But if you can give me a good enough price on X, I'm willing to buy today". You'll be perceived as being in a greater position of bargaining strength when you're not already in the dealership and have other options.
However, if you have not even test driven the car that tells them you are not as interested as someone who has test driven the car. I have test driven a used car and then did all negotiation by phone messages over the next few days. I was able to point out similar cars online, too.

When my spouse did the e-mail thing in May, she had already done the test drive, too.
Agreed, I should have been more explicit. You should always test drive and inspect a car before purchasing, so that should happen before any negotiation.
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Watty
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by Watty »

BogleFanGal wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:59 am
michaeljc70 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:37 amOne car we are particularly interested in (at a dealership) is at the very low end of the KBB private party sales price range. There aren't a ton of this particular vehicle available so it is not like I can pit 10 dealers against each other and they almost all have slight differences in mileage, year, packages, etc.
I'd be more concerned with why this dealer - in the midst of the hottest used car market in history and far more buyers than available inventory - is pricing this vehicle as bolded above. That sounds too good to be true. Proceed cautiously.
+1000

And why nobody else has bought it yet.

One huge advantage of shopping for a new car is that they are basically a commodity where you can shop a dozen dealerships looking for the best price.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by michaeljc70 »

Watty wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:26 pm
BogleFanGal wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:59 am
michaeljc70 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:37 amOne car we are particularly interested in (at a dealership) is at the very low end of the KBB private party sales price range. There aren't a ton of this particular vehicle available so it is not like I can pit 10 dealers against each other and they almost all have slight differences in mileage, year, packages, etc.
I'd be more concerned with why this dealer - in the midst of the hottest used car market in history and far more buyers than available inventory - is pricing this vehicle as bolded above. That sounds too good to be true. Proceed cautiously.
+1000

And why nobody else has bought it yet.

One huge advantage of shopping for a new car is that they are basically a commodity where you can shop a dozen dealerships looking for the best price.
That is a good point....but I'm not sure....the KBB may reflect the surge in prices. In fact, putting our other car into their calculator, it is worth 15% more than when I checked more than a year ago.

The car has only been listed a few days.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by Big Dog »

Expand your search parameters, say 500 miles from home?
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by leeks »

Big Dog wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:23 pm Expand your search parameters, say 500 miles from home?
+1
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michaeljc70
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by michaeljc70 »

Big Dog wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:23 pm Expand your search parameters, say 500 miles from home?
I have used sites like Vroom , CarMax and Carvana. We are willing to drive....maybe 100 miles. To drive 500 miles to see a car that might not be what you think it is is too much. Or to get there and be told it just sold.....
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by Nowizard »

Always negotiate to the point where possibly losing the vehicle becomes more important than paying a price you would prefer not to pay. That is the decision point in a seller's market.

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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

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Delete: Duplicate.

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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

I like shopping on the internet. I feel like I have done ok with getting a good price that way.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Used, you really, really need to see the actual car. I was once shopping for a car. The dealer had 2 identical cars. Exact same options. One had less miles but cost less. I went to test drive it and opening the door, I got it. It was like I opened a gigantic ash tray.

If you found exactly what you want, buy it. If you're ordering new, it's way easier. I doubt I'd find a Jeep like mine that I ordered exactly what I wanted. Almost all of them on the lot had $5k of useless options added.
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lthenderson
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by lthenderson »

I wish you luck. My brother sold his 2018 Camaro for $4000 more than he paid for it new and the dealer now has it marked $8000 more than he paid for it.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by KFBR392 »

We just went through this and focused on buying the right car for our family and not getting too hung up on trying to negotiate the best price in town. As others have mentioned, buyers just have very little leverage right now.

We got a used Prius with low miles and it was probably $2000+ more than it would have been a year ago. We were able to negotiate a whopping $300 off the price and that was only because I found a small dent that wasn't disclosed in the listing. It is what it is.

You might try limiting your search with places like Carvana and Shift that have 7-day return policies. That way you have plenty of time to get it inspected by a trusted mechanic and drive it for a week.

Beyond that, I'd just accept that you're going to overpay relative to normal times in the past and future.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by livesoft »

KFBR392 wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:52 pm.... I found a small dent that wasn't disclosed in the listing. It is what it is.
I am a big proponent of PDR (paintless dent repair) for dents. It is inexpensive, so if I have any dents amenable to PDR, I have them fixed once a year when my car gets an oil change.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by michaeljc70 »

I thought I'd relay our first experience. Sorry, this is long. I contacted them via internet sales through their website to check if the car was available still. They said yes and made an appointment - ask for Sara.

We got there and asked for Sara and the sales guy said "never heard of her" and then "she isn't here, but I can help you". Took personal info and copy of driver's license and said car was at warehouse and it would take around 15 minutes to get. We walk outside and right in front of the dealer is the car. I call Sara. She says she doesn't know why he said it was in the warehouse. I tell her I am not going to be jerked around and they already lied to me.

We talk to a manager. He apologizes and says the computer had it listed incorrectly as at the warehouse. Yeah, okay.

We test drive it and then said we'd look at the "numbers" when asked. He presented the numbers which included your typical fees, taxes, etc. and a $2500 charge for some interior/exterior coating that performs miracles and was already applied to the car. No, they cannot take that off because it was already applied. {Do these tactics really work???] So, I said if it was already applied it should be in the price of the car and the price isn't competitive. He offered to cut it in half...and then drop it if we bought right then. We left. So, basically they negotiated and gave us $2500 off without giving us anything. We said we'd think about it. We might make an offer. Their initial offer was $27,500 for a $22k car after taxes and the other charges. Since the car is priced fairly competitively, we might take it w/o the garbage charges but will probably try to get $500-$1000 off.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by michaeljc70 »

We bought a car so I thought I'd give a final update. After going to a few dealers I came to the conclusion that unless you are willing to tolerate silly add-ons the dealer will just wait for someone who is. We bought a car from Carvana. You need to be on top of it as new cars are added and sold all the time. The one we were interested in was on hold so I signed up for an alert if the buyer didn't complete the purchase. I got the alert and did the purchase. Very easy. I'd recommend it (at least in the current environment). The price was competitive (even better) relative to the dealers we visited. I'm sure it probably cost $5k more than it would have a year ago. A 2018 Jeep Compass Limited with 45k miles came in at $24k out the door (10.25% sales tax).
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by jabberwockOG »

gwe67 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:40 am If they can find someone who is willing to pay more than you, then you are out of luck.
Buying used is about supply and demand for a unique item. A used car is unique because it has specific miles, wear, color, maintenance history, etc. And a previously posted if the seller thinks they can sell that car for $1 more to someone else in a reasonable time-frame they will not take your offer. Used cars are normally depreciating assets so sellers want to sell as fast as possible.

What matters most in a negotiation is how long that car has sat unsold, and how long the seller thinks it will take to sell at a price higher than what you are offering. Do not under any circumstances sit around in the dealer office to negotiate. To win in this game - 1) offer a fair drive out price (total cost of car except tax, tag, and title fees) that is at fair market value, 2) give seller your phone number, 3) tell them you will buy immediately at that price if you have not bought another car but that you are going to continue to aggressively shop for other cars. Do this by phone or email or as you leave the dealer after a brief discussion/visit. You gain tremendous leverage by not being there - this puts all the pressure on the seller - if they want to sell at market value immediately, and have no other likely buyers you will get a call. However you have to be realistic if your offer is below market or the car is in high demand they can usually find a higher price buyer.
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8foot7
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by 8foot7 »

Some of the used cars the dealers around here have on their lots are, shall we say, not the best. We went looking last weekend and one dealer couldn't even be bothered to vacuum out the trunk of one of the cars. This was a late model Accord, probably traded in for 12k and selling for 18k no haggle. Nice business.

But it is what it is. If you don't want to buy new (and even then, maybe), you have to play the game because there are more people wanting used cars than there are used cars for people wanting them. We don't get to pick our market cycles; we just have to live in them. :moneybag
Last edited by 8foot7 on Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by Shallowpockets »

OP - You cannot wait and you found a car that fulfills your needs at a dealer. Now you are equivocating. Maybe you want to offer 10% less than dealer asking price. I guess you should make a decision soon or it will be gone. Then, when you miss it and have to start again what will that 10% have been worth?
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Re: Negotiating used car during price surge

Post by BogleFanGal »

michaeljc70 wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:29 am We bought a car so I thought I'd give a final update. After going to a few dealers I came to the conclusion that unless you are willing to tolerate silly add-ons the dealer will just wait for someone who is. We bought a car from Carvana. You need to be on top of it as new cars are added and sold all the time. The one we were interested in was on hold so I signed up for an alert if the buyer didn't complete the purchase. I got the alert and did the purchase. Very easy. I'd recommend it (at least in the current environment). The price was competitive (even better) relative to the dealers we visited. I'm sure it probably cost $5k more than it would have a year ago. A 2018 Jeep Compass Limited with 45k miles came in at $24k out the door (10.25% sales tax).
Bingo...best decision. I've bought 3 cars from carvana in the past 5 years. EVERY time, I did my due diligence comparison shopping around like a maniac...emailing, calling, trying some of the tactics posted here on BH. Bottom line, no one ever matched the out-the-door value I got with Carvana based upon 4-5 different online pricing engines and a lot of forum research. Now don't get me started on post-sale snafus with Carvana...lol. A few of those, but I'd still buy from them over a dealer.

The biggest benefit of all was that 7 day return policy...so darn easy. I will never buy from a dealer again.
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