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    1. Member 4.OMG's Avatar
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      05-16-2017 08:03 PM #1
      We've had at least one thread lately about squeezing dealers for every last dollar of profit in new car purchases, but I'm curious how the TCL dealmasters approach used sales from private parties.

      So how do you guys negotiate the price when dealing with individuals? Do you start off by offering X% or $Y below asking, regardless of what the asking price is? Do you initially offer what you think the car is worth/your max price and tell the seller to take it or leave it? Bring a pocket full of cash to entice the seller to take less for a quick sale? Offer some cash plus "interesting trades" and/or personal services?

      I'm in the market for an old(er) domestic POS and plan to look at one I believe is priced about $1000 (or 15%) too high and would like to negotiate the price down without angering the seller, who I expect will have multiple tattoos, a mullet and possibly a concealed weapon.
      Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.

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    3. 05-16-2017 08:57 PM #2
      Don't say, "what's the lowest price you'll take?" That's not how negotiations work. And it's just dumb. Seller thinks it's worth X, you think it's worth Y. Knowledge is power, know what the car is worth in your market, offer what you think is a fair price you're comfortable paying. It's not that hard.

    4. Member 4.OMG's Avatar
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      05-16-2017 09:04 PM #3
      Of course that's dumb, and not really the point of the thread. Even if I have a good idea of what something is worth, I still want to pay as little as possible, preferably below market-that way my mad money goes farther.

      I was hoping people would share their tactics so I/others might learn something new. I'm perfectly capable of playing the "seller wants $10k so I'll offer $8k expecting a counter offer of $9k" game, but there has to be other ways and I was hoping to spark a lively discussion replete with war stories about sellers falling to their knees, murmuring incoherent nonsense after being schooled by the skilled negotiators of TCL.
      Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.

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      05-16-2017 09:08 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by Roverdude View Post
      Don't say, "what's the lowest price you'll take?" That's not how negotiations work. And it's just dumb. Seller thinks it's worth X, you think it's worth Y. Knowledge is power, know what the car is worth in your market, offer what you think is a fair price you're comfortable paying. It's not that hard.
      I have tried this on sellers who do not seem to be too savvy with their car knowledge. On more than one occasion, I have had the seller immediately say a price lower than I was going to offer. In one situation, the seller made a repair before selling me the car without asking me for more money! In the first few minutes of a conversation, you can get a sense of the seller's motivation and if they did their homework.

    6. Member 4.OMG's Avatar
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      05-16-2017 09:13 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Hufeisen View Post
      I have tried this on sellers who do not seem to be too savvy with their car knowledge. On more than one occasion, I have had the seller immediately say a price lower than I was going to offer. In one situation, the seller made a repair before selling me the car without asking me for more money! In the first few minutes of a conversation, you can get a sense of the seller's motivation and if they did their homework.
      The only time I've asked that is after a lowball-but-not-insultingly low initial offer is rejected. In my experience, there's typically a few hundred bucks more to be had, but not always.
      Now this was a superior machine. Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced special effects. The rear windows lit up with a touch like frogs in a dynamite pond. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights and dials and meters that I would never understand.

    7. Member turbo_nine's Avatar
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      05-16-2017 09:27 PM #6
      Here's a hot tip.

      When someone advertises a running, driving car for $500 on craigslist...

      you're probably not getting it for much cheaper.
      call it potatography

    8. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      05-16-2017 09:38 PM #7
      A cash offer usually helps, assuming the price of the car is something relatively low (<$10K).

    9. 05-17-2017 02:52 PM #8
      A wholesaler friend of mine is very good at this- having a big hunk of cash helps the negotiation- a lot.

      He's bought some fairly expensive stuff for very cheap because he had the cash- like a 930 for $35k last year. The seller can field all of the offers you want on the phone or email, but when you have a real live buyer in front of you and they have a brick of $100s on the table in front of you, it's hard to say no.

      Obviously, that can be hard to do for a lot of people, but it works.

    10. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 03:14 PM #9
      be a 'serious' buyer versus someone just looking to poke around and joy ride, if that makes sense.

      know the value of what you are buying.
      what does it kbb, nada at?
      what is the asking price for other cars on the market?
      if there are issues, what are the replacement costs to repair these items?

      taking cash helps a lot too.


      i was just going through this trying to decide on a couple of different miata's.
      did my research about the models, market, pricing, etc.
      found my candidates.
      figured out the issues on the red car, and the costs to repair.

      determined another car (blue), even though listed at a much higher price ($4k) actually represents a better overall value TO ME.
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      05-17-2017 03:42 PM #10
      1) I never appear that interested, but if it gets to talking a deal, I'll let the seller know what I like about the car...
      2) ...but then I list what faults I've seen/diagnosed during the walk-around and test drive, and what I think it'll cost to fix them (roughly) and/or I'll tell them I want a PPI, then use the results of that to bargain with them.
      3) Then I tell them that based on what the likely repair costs are going to be, the best offer I can make is $_________. There might be some negotiation from that point.
      4) They aren't interested in doing a deal at that price? No worries, feel free to think about it and shoot me a text/email later if you'd like to talk further. I'm off to my next appointment to view <same make/model>.

      More often than not, my walk away strategy ends up with the seller emailing me to take my offer. And if not? No big deal.

      I've only once written a check for asking price on the spot for a car, and that was my NA Miata. Guy had 40+ emails in less than 24 hours on it; I was #1.

    12. Member Samson's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 03:49 PM #11
      I bought my current car from a private party. He was "firm" on the price (probably because he was selling an old Infiniti on Craigslist and was tired of offers to trade for a stolen gun and some weed). I decided I wanted it, so I took it to a dealer for a PPI and subtracted everything they found from his asking price and offered cash. He accepted. Done and done. I probably could have worked another ~$500 off, but he was a great seller and let me take the car for a few days to see if I wanted it. That's worth something.

      In addition to subtracting the cost of any needed work (at dealer cost in my case), show them comparable cars for sale in the area. Don't use dealer prices for the car, as it's not going to help you. Things like KBB are a good place to start, but actual listings are more realistic.

    13. Member t_white's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 04:29 PM #12
      I usually do a fair amount of research on a particular car, and determine a reasonable amount that I would pay for the car (based on market value, miles, potential repairs necessary), and then decide if the listed price is worth my time for negotiations.

      If all seems well, and after a conversation with the seller, I will go look at the car. I am very detail oriented and I usually nit-pick and try to keep a list of issues or things the car will need.

      When I negotiable, I will throw out my offer. If they start working with me and counter offer a reasonable price I will continue the negotiation. If the seller says no to my offer, I will ask them what they would be willing to come down to. At this point, I typically show them cash and say I am here to make a deal and buy a car... for the right price. Often times, when they see cash and realize I'm not just there talking BS they will work with me.

      If the price isn't right, I walk. I'm not wasting my time or money. After a look around, general discussion on the car, review of maint. records, test drive and some minor negotiations I am ready to either drive home with the car, or ride back home with whoever I bribed to bring me to the car. Time is money.
      Last edited by t_white; 05-17-2017 at 04:31 PM.
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      05-17-2017 04:48 PM #13
      I flip on my fake Russian accent, works every time.
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    15. Member turbo_nine's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 06:50 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Samson View Post
      I probably could have worked another ~$500 off, but he was a great seller and let me take the car for a few days to see if I wanted it.
      I can imagine someone willing to do that has generous insurance coverage and would have been just as happy to accept a check from them.
      call it potatography

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      05-17-2017 08:26 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      1) I never appear that interested, but if it gets to talking a deal, I'll let the seller know what I like about the car...
      2) ...but then I list what faults I've seen/diagnosed during the walk-around and test drive, and what I think it'll cost to fix them (roughly) and/or I'll tell them I want a PPI, then use the results of that to bargain with them.
      3) Then I tell them that based on what the likely repair costs are going to be, the best offer I can make is $_________. There might be some negotiation from that point.
      4) They aren't interested in doing a deal at that price? No worries, feel free to think about it and shoot me a text/email later if you'd like to talk further. I'm off to my next appointment to view <same make/model>.

      More often than not, my walk away strategy ends up with the seller emailing me to take my offer. And if not? No big deal.

      I've only once written a check for asking price on the spot for a car, and that was my NA Miata. Guy had 40+ emails in less than 24 hours on it; I was #1.
      You're probably not, but this post makes you sound like a pompous ass. I usually let "hardasses" like you walk away. I the negotiation is going to be such an issue I can't imagine the hell that follow on the close of the deal. I just sold my GLI, today actually, and what I did with him is obviously set the initial asking price. Then he asked me that same question about what I would take, I told him to make me an offer. As soon as you speak in a negotiation you lose. No one buys the not interested shtick, if you weren't that interested you wouldn't be there. I let him set the parameters of the ball park and we make a deal in the middle. You know you made a good deal when no one is happy but everyone is satisfied.

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      05-17-2017 08:40 PM #16
      Walk if you don't get it for your number.

    18. Member jepva's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 08:47 PM #17
      I have a friend who is always telling me about the great deals he finds from the private party / craigslist crowd (as well as driving around and seeing cars for sale sitting around). One of his main tactics is to make a low ball offer, and then he creates fake e-mail accounts, and sends even more lowball offers to the seller. This way, the seller's expectations get lowered and his offer suddenly seems pretty good. Combine that with showing up with cash, and he's had a lot of sellers cave in to his price.

      Now, there is obviously some finesse and work involved to doing this right as to not tip the seller off, but he takes his time and does his research and doesn't ever rush things.

      Personally, I've never done this as I think it's borderline sketchy, but I guess anything goes in the world of negotiations.

    19. Member Nateblizzy's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 09:18 PM #18
      Ha! Good tactics.

      I always get them on the phone, ask about the history of the car or their interests in cars since most of them that I buy/look at would be owned by enthusiasts, and then find out why they are selling (moving, having a baby, hate the car, can't afford insurance/gas/tickets/maintenance, looking to upgrade, already bought a newer replacement, etc).

      My M3 was on Ebay and I bid but the auction never made the reserve and ended. It was listed under the seller's business name so I looked up the business on the Google and called the CEO asking about the car, why he was selling, and what he was looking to get for it. Turned out his wife was having a baby the following week so he had to ditch the M for a more family-friendly car and wasn't going to have time to deal with the hassles of selling a used car privately. That part was not listed in the Ebay auction. What he wanted was way out of my price range and definitely on the high end of the market. I made him a cash offer $4,000 below his asking price and he went for it to my surprise.

      I got lucky but point is the motivation to sell was key and it's not always mentioned in the ad.

    20. Member turbo_nine's Avatar
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      05-17-2017 09:42 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by jepva View Post
      One of his main tactics is to make a low ball offer, and then he creates fake e-mail accounts, and sends even more lowball offers to the seller.
      This kind of crap is why I won't hear any offers except on the phone or in person. Email is too easy for buyers with almost-zero interest.
      call it potatography

    21. 05-17-2017 09:53 PM #20
      I would think showing enthusiasm for the car over the phone and upon first view would be very effective. Seller knows you want the car, there you are to look at it, you're ready to pull the trigger. He's already counting his chickens.

      But then you, the expert in that model, start to find niggly things, then more serious issues, and your smile fades. "Oh, man, I so wanted this one to be the one," you say dejectedly. "See, this is this much to fix, and this is so much, and this little niggly thing is not that much, but it's about to go/needs immediate replacement, and" on and on and on. "The other one I saw that I'm considering doesn't have this and this, and it's this much money less. I just don't know, man." Then SHUT THE HELL UP. Let him speak next. I don't care if he stews for half an hour. Look at the car with eyes brimming with tears if you have to. But SAY NOTHING UNTIL HE TALKS.

      Then, no matter what the seller comes down to (and he will), hit him up with a lower figure you're comfortable with. "Well, you listed it for $Z, which might be doable if it didn't have all this, and now you offer for $Y, and that's probably a figure you might, might [repeat it] get someone to pay eventually if they're not familiar with this model. But listen, I know you need to sell it, I'm here now, I'm going to offer you $X because I know what the car is really worth, and I'll take it off your hands today. Deal?"

      Betcha you do end up with a deal...

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      05-17-2017 10:23 PM #21
      i will give you these many doll hairs

    23. Member 01tj's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 07:41 AM #22
      I have a car for sale now, I know what I need to sell it for and won't go any lower unless someone is paying cash. Cash is probably the best bargaining chip you could have.

    24. Member 2 doors's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 09:27 AM #23
      I dislike anyone who puts "firm" in their for sale ads, be it cars or otherwise. Whenever I list something for sale, it's always at a price somewhat higher than I think I will take, but not outrageous. Sometimes I get my full asking price, sometimes I get my target price, and sometimes I get less if I just want it gone.

      I bought my truck last summer. It was listed for $2500. I knew I wouldn't pay that - to me it wasn't worth that much. I went and looked at it once, then talked it over with my wife and went back with cash. After more detailed inspection and a test drive I made an offer. I was willing to pay $2000 for it and thought about offering $1800. At the last second I said $1700, knowing it was kind of low but not insulting like $1200 or something would have been. He thought about it an countered with $1850. DONE. I think he was hoping to get $2k for it, but I was standing there and it didn't hurt for me to make a slightly lowball offer. Bird in the hand and all that.

      So like others have said, be serious, take cash, and make a reasonable offer based on what it's worth to you. Smart people should expect some haggling on used goods they are selling. I think offering 50% of asking price is insulting to the seller, however.

    25. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      05-18-2017 10:21 AM #24
      I have in mind what I'm willing to pay before I show up based upon how the car is represented in the ad. If its in worse shape, that number goes down considerably. If its better, I'm willing to increase. But I also understand that I won't be keeping the car long, and so its easy for me to pass up something if I can't at least break even on it.

      That said, I don't play games. I just toss out my offer and if they don't want to take the money, I can walk. Sometimes they call back, some times they don't.

      On my Camaro, the previous owner wanted $11k for it. I offered $6500 in March, and by July or August, he hadn't sold it. I contacted him again, and he accepted my offer.

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      05-18-2017 11:15 AM #25
      I've read that most private party sales are listed $500 over what the person will actually take..
      I recently purchased a mk5 GTI to replace one that was totaled. One owner, all maintenance records, fully loaded 07 with 75k miles, listed at $8000. I asked the seller would he consider taking less. He responded, " What price were you thinking?". "$7600?". "Sure, I'll take $7600". It's funny because I feel like he might have taken even less lol, but I was satisfied in getting the car I wanted at a below asking price.
      Alternately, there was a loaded 08 with 95k for $8100. Asked the owner the same question. He responded with every reason he felt the asking price was fair.

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