There are 11 common mistakes people make when buying or selling a used car, according to the October 2011 issue of ShopSmart, published by Consumer Reports. All of them add up to lost money. Summarized below. About to buy a new car? Here’s how to negotiate a good price and the three steps of haggling. Did you know you can save a lot of money buying car parts from a junk yard? Make sure to check this car recall site before you pay for any repairs.
1. Settling on price. Trading in your car is quicker and easier than selling it yourself, but the dealer price will be lower than if you sell it on AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, or Ebay.
2. Risking your privacy. Don’t list your address or full name or you may attract unwanted visitors. It’s a good idea to meet potential buyers in a public place, instead of your driveway.
3. Combining buying and selling. Trading in your car and buying one at the dealer is a super
complicated process. Negotiate the price of your new car first, and if the dealer won’t meet your selling price, either walk away or sell your used car privately.
4. Selling dirty. Cleaning up your car’s body and interior can raise the price of your vehicle and perhaps lead to a quicker sale. Some people even buy “new car smell” air freshener.
5. Getting ripped off. Do not accept a personal check or installment payments from a buyer, even if the buyer is a friend or family member. A car deal gone bad will effect the relationship. Cashier’s and certified checks can be counterfeited, so verify the check is good with the bank before you sign away the title. Offer a discount for buyers who pay in cash.
1. Owning up. Never let the seller know what you can afford. Unless you are happy to pay that amount.
2. Going in blind. If you don’t know the value of the car you are trying to buy, how will you negotiate a fair price? Best to check multiple sources, like Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, Cars.com, Ebay, and AutoTrader. The mileage, condition, and maintenance history will effect the value.
3. Rushing. Dealers like folks in a rush because they often forget to inspect the car and ask important questions. Slow down or come back another time.
4. Staying put. Being able to walk away is a crucial – and detectable – bargaining tactic that will influence how you and the seller discuss the car and come to an agreement on price, or not. If the seller won’t accept your top price (assuming you’ve started with a lower price and slowly worked your way up), walk away.
5. Nixing your mechanic. Have your own mechanic inspect the car, even if the seller says they had it inspected for you. Tell the seller ahead of time that you want to deduct the cost of repairs from the selling price.
6. Blowing off VIN. Do a background check on your car by getting a VIN (vehicle identification number) history report. The report costs a few bucks, but will reveal any accidents and how many past owners the car has had. A car that has been in an accident is often less worth, and a car that has had many owners may have more problems.