It's unlikely that anybody would want to pay more than the real value of whatever they are purchasing, and when we're talking about a pretty big investment such as a car, knowing how to get a good price for it is a valuable thing to know. So how does one manage to buy a car at a very fair price?
Do your homework. When you walk into a car dealership, you need to be prepared with such information as what brand, model and make of car you want and how much it is typically valued at. Use the Internet, which has abundant information about these topics.
Shop around for the best deal. Before you leave the house, you can opt to call up various auto dealerships around your area so you can be familiarized with the price range and model of the car you want. You might be surprised at how much difference the price is on the exact same car between one dealership and another. Once you have short-listed the auto shops you would like to look into, then feel free to visit them and talk with a salesperson about the specifics.
Know some sales psychology. This is virtually a survival requirement nowadays. Always be wary, and maybe brush up on the verbal and non-verbal tactics that could help you get what you want. Here are some tips:
- Don't show over-eagerness upon seeing the car that you want. You show too much joy over a car, suddenly the salesperson has the winning card. He knows that he doesn't have to make too much of an effort over the sale, and that he has practically won you over towards buying. Maintain your bearing even if you have seen the car of your dreams, and commence discussing the car's conditions (i.e., mileage, age, and repairs, especially if you're buying it used) and the price in an intelligent manner. With this, you stand a better chance of taking home your dream car and more of your money, too.
- Talk the talk. This simply means knowing sufficient car lingo. This gives the salesperson the perception that you are in the know, that you have lots of experience and contacts within the auto industry and that you could probably purchase the same car they are offering you at a lower price in another place. It's basically like turning on an alert signal that makes the salesperson think, "Hey, she's one of us. She knows if I'm offering a good price or not." Yes, all that just by using the correct terminology. With that kind of positive perception working for you, the salesperson would tend to make more of an effort to convince you to buy in their store, usually resulting in them offering to sell at a lower price.
- Don't talk about prices outright. If the salesperson asks you right away about what your budget is, don't answer him at that point. One reason for this is that once you have established your price range, you might get a tendency to get stuck there and get a lower chance of acquiring an even better deal. This is especially detrimental if you haven't researched the going rate for the model you're eyeing and you have just quoted, say, a budget you established offhand.
A better technique is to ask the salesperson how much they're asking for the car. Compare that with what you have found to be the car's typical price, and with your budget. Know that most car salespersons increase the real car value by about $3-$4 thousand dollars for their commission. With these factors in mind, know that you can typically haggle for about $1-2 thousand dollars off the car's asking price, leaving the salesperson still with a modest commission.
If you are buying used, also take into consideration the condition of the car. If you have a friend who's knowledgeable about the technical aspects of a car, then perhaps you could bring her along so she could examine whether the car could still last you a few more good years or if you would just end up spending a mint on repairs. Then, you talk about the price.
Just remember that buying a car entails preparation and persistence on your part. Happy shopping!