Best way to get a deal buying a used car? - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Best way to get a deal buying a used car?

So I was having a conversation with a friend about buying a used car. Her approach is to spend weeks emailing dealerships negotiating prices, going back and forth and using the others' prices against each other. Then go in and use the email price without negotiating further.

The way I do it is find the car you want with the options you want, find out what its worth (based on internet searches), go into the dealership, low ball and negotiate the best deal possible (leaving the place once or twice if necessary).

My argument is that a dealer is more likely to negotiate a lower price when you're actually sitting in front of them than when you're emailing back and forth. A guaranteed sale that day if the price is agreed upon vs. a maybe sale someday via email.

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Last edited by Chills; 08-29-2012 at 09:44 AM.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 09:56 AM
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I think the face to face is better approach as they know you are for real and willing to help...

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 10:00 AM
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I agree for used, come in educated and knowing what your bottom line is. For new, I like her approach, but I would make it a much quicker process.

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 10:00 AM
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It depends on the type of person you are.

I think face to face will yield the better deal, assuming you can pull off negotiating, otherwise the dealer will see right through and use that to their advantage.

Know what you want, know what you are willing to pay based on similar cars and most importantly, look like you will walk away at any time.

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 10:10 AM
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 10:23 AM
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+1 for face/face for used cars.

When I buy cars, I always look for a specific model, year, color and trim. This is not something you want to tell the dealer.

Before I walk into the dealer, I set a limit to what I want to pay and commence lowballing.

However, in reality, I test drive the car I want and already know deep down inside that I will buy this car. I try not to reveal this and I always knock some dollars off the price. I don't end up getting a "steal" because I'm always looking for something very specific.

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:22 AM
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the hardest part is being willing to walk away from a car you really want.

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:26 AM
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Typically I will comb Craigslist for something that looks like it might be a good deal, then I'll call to look at it have everyone in my family call and be elusive and abrasive.

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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@Nick


It seems we are all in agreement that dealers are more willing to give a better deal when negotiating in person.

I completely agree you have to be willing to walk away from a car you want to get a good price. Easier said than done, I walked out twice when buying my Ford... I didn't walk out at all when buying my Porsche (I really wanted it. LOL).

Has anyone tried the email method?

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:44 AM
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I definitely fail at the walk out method as well because I'm picky like others have said and research the exact car down to the interior color and specific options. I try to play it cool, but I doubt it works.

Shit, before I bought my previous car, I had the final piece of paper in front of me to sign and the car was officially mine and I stopped as the pen hit the paper and said, and yes, I quote:

"Wait a minute.... I should probably test drive the car before committing to buying it."

That's how excited I was

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 11:47 AM
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When I bought my Audi, I checked KBB, gave them a low offer. They came back with a price close to the MSRP. I raised my offer by just a few amount.

They accepted.

No fuss.

Both parties were happy.

Easiest negotiation. No need to haggle over something as $500 I see some do.

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Last edited by Gone In 3; 08-29-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 12:24 PM
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You are forgetting one very important thing. When requesting a quote online you are dealing with few different dealers and are indeed shopping for a best price/relationship. In addition, every time you are going to a dealer and negotiating then leaving you are wasting their time because they have to "entertain" you. Having a customer and not closing a deal is not a good thing.

I used to sell cars for major brand dealership and the best and most honest deals were done with online quotes.

I have also purchased numerous cars that way and have used competing quotes from different dealers to get the price even lower.

Some people prefer face2face some prefer online negotiations.

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 01:03 PM
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 01:53 PM
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For used comparing internet prices from other dealers is sort of a moot point. Condition varies SO much on used cars. A price can be higher or lower by 30% even with the same miles between two cars. Have her look at Carmax, they are pretty no nonsense folks. No farting around with prices but they seem to have consistent high quality used cars.

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 02:00 PM
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IF you have the time to hunt, the best deal will typically be a private seller. Depends on how far you'd have to travel to pick it up...
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 03:15 PM
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To get the best deal on used cars you need to do your homework and know what you want like everyone has said. But there's more to it.

Cars sitting on the dealers lot cost them money as far as inventory and space. The longer they sit in the lot, the more it cost the dealer. I look for cars that have been sitting on the lot for at least a couple of months, then go in and negotiate price. They will be more willing to discount that car over one that has been on the lot for a couple of weeks.

You need to have patience though.

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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoFactory View Post
To get the best deal on used cars you need to do your homework and know what you want like everyone has said. But there's more to it.

Cars sitting on the dealers lot cost them money as far as inventory and space. The longer they sit in the lot, the more it cost the dealer. I look for cars that have been sitting on the lot for at least a couple of months, then go in and negotiate price. They will be more willing to discount that car over one that has been on the lot for a couple of weeks.

You need to have patience though.
Nicely said!

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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 07:44 PM
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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All good advice.

RSV, you're the only one that's actually sold cars and also you're advocating the online/email price thing. Does that really nab you a better deal than someone who is sitting in front of you ready to buy?

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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 10:27 AM
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Yeah ....


Know what you want, know what it's worth.

If you have a trade, know what that is really worth.

Make them an offer and don't be afraid to walk if they don't accept it.


Stick to your guns....... and be patient.


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post #21 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chills View Post
All good advice.

RSV, you're the only one that's actually sold cars and also you're advocating the online/email price thing. Does that really nab you a better deal than someone who is sitting in front of you ready to buy?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLARNEY View Post
Yeah ....


Know what you want, know what it's worth.

If you have a trade, know what that is really worth.

Make them an offer and don't be afraid to walk if they don't accept it.


Stick to your guns....... and be patient.


Tom
Dealers are in it to make a deal. Right Now! Simple thing is to do your homework! The used car market is funny right now... Everybody trading in vehicles think they are plated in Gold, and everybody buying them think they can get THOUSANDS off!

Online quotes are really aggressive, Dealers know they are up against every other dealer and even a couple hundred bucks can make the difference between you going there or elsewhere!

I have seen some crazy deals happen with a motivated buyer in the dealership, for what it's worth. You get your best deal if you are face to face and ready to buy.

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post #22 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 10:37 PM
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I've done a little of both. The last used car I looked for I wanted in a particular trim level and color. Not a lot of them around at the dealerships so I used this thing called the Interweb. From there I found a few and did some initial negotiating over the interweb. Then I visited and negotiated and walked out. They called me back a few times. Got it closer over the phone and then went in and got them down to my price and bought it. If you are going into a dealership it is always best to go in on the last day of the month. A weekday is better than a weekend day. A bad weather day. They will be trying to make quota and are more likely to deal.
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post #23 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 09:52 PM
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Dueces makes a good point about online prices being aggressive. I found the same thing. The prices they list online are a lot more aggressive than if you went into the dealership. I learned that they don't like to discount much off of that internet price, so expect that. Good Luck!

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post #24 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 11:45 PM
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does anyone seriously search for cars now using anything but the internet? How else would you do it?
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post #25 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 04:26 PM
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Chils, I have tried the email method and I found it to be a big waste of time. I was living in College Station and my dealer options were limited, so I started emailing Houston area dealers. I went in to a few places only to find any info I got my emailing was either outdated ("oh that car sold yesterday") or bogus ("oh shucks little darlin' did I say we had the black on the lot? I meant bright purple.")

Your method of car shopping, described in your original post, is really the best I've found. Do your research, be prepared, and go deal in person. Also, being prepared to pay cash helps. Even if you're going to finance, never negotiate the monthly payment; always negotiate the total cash price.
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post #26 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 05:12 PM
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post #27 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Alison. That's also what I've thought: dealers will use email quotes to get you into the dealership and then do the ole' bait-n-switch.

Nothing like in person face-to-face haggling.

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post #28 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 01:08 PM
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I am the only one who had a hassle free internet dealership transaction with a used car? I emailed, called, set an appointment and paid the salesman a visit. Granted, I was VERY specific on what I wanted, so there were only a few in the area. I knew the price was good, so I couldn't negotiate too much.

It's pretty simple. Filter down to the car(s) you want, email, then call them back after you get a response. You actually need to TALK to one you emailed. Then set an appointment to check the car(s) out (again, with a specific person). If the person isn't there for an appointment..move along. And if you get the bait/switch just leave cause they'll try to screw you some other way.

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post #29 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 04:11 PM
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If financing be sure to be honest with the dealer, this can really cut a lot of BS and get you a good deal. When I bought my new car I told them up front that I had a score well over 800. This allowed them to get right to the lowest point knowing that financing is not a problem. Also shows them that you are not some goof that is wasting their time. I always tell them that I am ready to buy right now if the price is right. Not having to hassle to get financing makes life a lot easier for them. Nothing worse for a dealer to spend 2 hours haggling on a price to find out that the buyer can't get financing in the end. Time is money for them.

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post #30 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 05:02 PM

 
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I've bought both via email, and in person...and...have bought a ton of cars. So I have a lot of experience with this.

On new cars...only via email. You pick what you want, and find a few dealers that have the car, and negotiate against each other. On my last lease, the first 2 dealers came back at approximately $780/month. I got the car at $651/month (keep all other parts of the least constant). So you can see how much range there is. I shopped 6 dealers for this car, took me about 4 weeks total...but I got the car for bottom dollar. Since it's a new unit, the dealers will be happy to move the car, at the end of the month, to get the unit sold. Every extra unit counts on new cars.

On used cars...this is tough, because as other have said, I know exactly what I want, so usually it's only 1 dealer or 1 private party that is selling it. You can start the conversation via email, and see where they stand, but ultimately the best thing to do is walk in, negotiate a bit, and walk then say, if you meet my number, I'll sign right now, then just stare at them. If they say no, who cars, you don't want to overpay for your car, and if they say yes, then you got a deal you're happy with.

Most important factor to a dealer selling you a car at a great deal is buying it AT THE END OF THE MONTH (last 3 days).

We were in a Mini dealer looking to lease for my fiance, they wouldn't come down to our terms over $8/month. We knew what price we wanted to pay, and what they COULD sell it for, and they didn't agree. So we walked out. (Note, I would have agreed actually, but my fiance stood firm. I'm so proud of her!). Anyway, that was a week before the end of the month. 2 days later, they called and said the car is ours for our price. Too bad we already bought something else. Dealers know if they let you leave, they risk you not coming back, so their loss. We had been shopping for 2 months already for her car, and were ready to buy, so moved on from that dealer and bought.

MUST DO: Read KBB and NADA, and get a good price. KBB isn't all its cut out to be. But, gets you in the ballpark. NADA is a second opinion which gets you close. For new cars, use the internet to find out what what Invoice is and what MSRP is on the car. Then find out what the dealer markup is and you'll know where you can buy the car at. For example, Mercedes dealer markup is 11%. They have 1% sunk cost in prepping the car for sale, and if you leave them 2% profit you got a great deal. So take 8% off of MSRP, and you got a good deal on Mercedes Benz (for most models, obviously this doesn't hold true for higher end models).

As stated earlier, if a car is on the lot for long its dated, and needs to go, so they're more willing to move. A car that's been on the lot 90 days has to go to auction...they can't keep it any more. Also note, a new car has more room to play than a used car. You might get $7K off a new car, where at most you might get $2K off of a used car. Dealers don't make their big money on new cars, they make their big money on used cars.

Peter's 3 keys: Knowledge (use the internet!). Patience. Timing.

Lastly, for new cars, go to Edmunds.com, click on the forum section, then choose the sub forum for the car you want to buy. People post where they bought, how much they paid, details of the sale, etc. When you see what others have paid, you know what the dealer CAN sell to you for. If they won't get to that low, then move on to another dealer who will. If one dealer has done it, others can too (they just might not want to).

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