The dreaded purchase has been made. A second vehicle has been acquired. As title implies, the time consuming process of searching and looking at used vehicles got old fast. For those of you following along, what I decided on purchasing was right inline as per my previous post on this topic seen here. To provide a bit more detail, I bought a 4 year old used car. Make and model will remain unnamed, because I don’t need to comments on why I shouldn’t have bought the car I did.
Here is a bit more about my thinking around the buying process. I did a ton of research, cross referenced many websites, and spoke to many people. Once I found this make and model to be fit for our use, I had to decide what particular years were best for us to look at, and then these specific model years were again heavily researched. I decided on 2009 or 2010 because I wanted something newer than our existing 2007 car. Also, if catastrophic repairs were needed on the ’07, we need to have one reliable vehicle around. Once research was done, it was time to test drive, to ensure that both my wife and I liked the ride. We each enjoyed our first test ride in the vehicle (to be called a K-Car from now on because who doesn’t love a K-Car) and that locked in our choice. I was looking for a 2009 or preferably a 2010 K-Car, ideally around 100K KM at a very reasonable price of course, the only other conditions were it had to be an automatic and it had to have AC. It took me about 3 weeks (note I had been keeping an eye on used car prices for months) of daily and nightly searching on kijiji, AutoTrader, putting the word out and periodically driving by the few used car places that don’t have an on line presence in order to stumble upon my ideal target.
Here is the processed I used for getting the price I wanted to pay. Once my target was found at a local used dealership (which has a good reputation) during a good old fashion drive by, I stopped in and I planted the seed with the salesman, all part of my future negotiation strategy. I pulled into the lot, got out of my car, and was eyeballing my target car, I was expecting a salesman to approach, he did. After the usual chitchat I said I had just started looking at used cars (not true I had been looking for weeks), and wanted to see what was available and get an idea on prices. He said well we are asking $11,495 (all these figures are made up) for this K-Car, it’s in good shape, low KMs (it had 82K KM on it), and yadda yadda. I said ok, thank you for your time however this is a bit more than my price range, and Im just starting to look. No sales pressure from him. So I went on my way and that was that for now. So I waited a few days (yes, a bit risky but there are lots of K-Cars around for sale, and this one was priced in the correct range, so I took a risk no one else would snatch it) and I called the guy back and said I wanted to take it for a spin, which I did and it was fine. I said that it was ok, I didn’t get over excited and mentioned that I didn’t like the color (which really did not matter to me) I said I might have my wife come take it for a spin. He said he had many people look at the car, and blah *sales pitch* blah. I said I would contact him if my wife wants to test it. I waited a few more days and had my wife drive it, she liked it, so at this point I would be ready to make an offer at anytime. However, what I did was wait a few more days (yes risky again). I know that the salesman thought he had us in the palm of his hand after my wife’s test drive, and he would be expecting a call from me, and he would have me right where he wants me. Well my friends, that did not happen. I put myself in a position of power*. Again I waited 2 days after my wife’s test drive to I call him back, and said “I want to make an offer on the K Car” note I did NOT say I want to buy the KCar. I offered $10, 200. I did not want to make a low ball offer that was border line insulting, however I wanted to leave myself room to move up. My salesman friend said he could not go that low (expected) and countered with $10, 900. At this point I have him dead in the water. The price he quoted was the top price I was already willing to pay, nothing but gravy from here on out for me. So I said well, I can do $10,700, that is the most I am willing to pay because it is still early in my search (as I previously stated, but not true) and I don’t really like the color (which didn’t matter to me) and there is a small dent on the trunk, if the car was perfect I would pay $10,900 but it’s not so $10,700 is the most I’m willing to pay. He said he would have to talk to the boss, he did, and accepted my offer. That is how I got a good deal.
*Just a bit more on putting yourself in a position in power for a major purchase.
Leave yourself time. If you want a used car or (any good) by June 1, don’t start looking a week before, and be forced to accept whatever is out there, at their price, you want to pay your price, make it happen.
Be ready financially. I had the funds ready to go for this purchase, so I didn’t make the dealer wait for a cheque to clear, or to be approved for a loan. I didn’t have to use this in my negotiations, but it was in my back pocket.
Have different options. As previously stated, I was buying a common car, so there were lots of options available. This dealer’s car wasn’t the only game in town. This might not be an option if you are buying something very specific.
The buyer is the boss. 90% of the time the buyer is the one with the power in a buy/sell transaction. Again unless you are buying a rare item, or you are buying something recently listed. Use this to your advantage.
Don’t let your emotions overrule your logic. Don’t feel you have to “win” every engagment you enter. You may have to walk away without getting the price/iem you want. Know when to walk away. You might lose the battle, but you’ll win the war.
Thanks again for checking out The Fake Cheap.