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How to buy the best used car: Closing the deal

By Kijiji Autos
Used car part 5 closing the deal

Comfortable with the sale? Car handles well? Mechanic gives you the thumbs up? It’s time to negotiate price. Now that you have a printout of the quotes for the repairs that the car needs (if any), tell the seller you intend to buy the car and that you will make them an offer in a day or two (granted there are no other buyers waiting to snatch it up). Now is your chance to do your homework.

Doing your homework

Fire up your laptop/tablet/desktop/phone/pigeon and get cracking on average prices for the car you’re looking at. Scan through more listings on Kijiji Autos to get an idea of what these cars are going for. Just make sure to look at cars with similar mileage, year, and trim levels. The main thing you want to get out of this is the average asking price of other similar cars in the area for comparison’s sake.

Looking at repairs

If the car got straight As at the shop and passes all of your tests, then you can skip this part of the negotiation. But, if there is work that needs to be done on the car before you feel comfortable dropping cash, bring it up with the seller. Small maintenance items like an oil change or brake pad replacements are usually up to you as the owner of the car, but if it needs a new timing belt, you want the seller taking care of it first.

Make sure you have your mechanic’s inspection report and all of the quotes for the repairs. For smaller items, offer to either ignore them or help out with the cost in the interest of getting the deal going. For bigger items, ask the seller what would be a reasonable plan of action for getting them fixed before you buy the car. If the seller tells you the car is “as-is” and all repairs are up to you, it’s time to consider the possibility of walking away. Although you have gone through a lot of work finding and getting the car checked out, it is sometimes better to just cut your losses. If the repairs needed are minor and the car is still otherwise a great catch, it may be best to just bite the bullet and take it as-is. If the seller thinks the cost of the repair is inflated, tell them you don’t care if they get it done somewhere else, as long as it’s done right.

Is the price right?

If the seller’s original asking price is quite high in comparison to the average price of similar cars in the used market, try to get them to lower the price to that ballpark after you get the repair talk out of the way.

Subtract the amount of the repairs that you think the seller should pay for from your first offer. If the seller comes back with a much higher counter, go over the repair list one by one. If you both can’t come to an agreement on price including the repairs, thank the seller for their time, leave your offer on the table and leave a copy of the repair quotes with them as a sign of good faith. If your deal comes down to a matter of $500 dollars or so, it may be best to just shake hands and buy a quality car rather than nickel and dime-ing – after all, that is a small drop in the bucket in comparison to the total costs of owning a car, and you’ve already sunk a fair bit of time into this deal (and time is money!).

If you’ve followed all of the tips in this five part series, you should come out with a quality car at a decent price. Happy shopping!

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