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Tips for negotiating the best price for a used car

Buying a used car is often better than buying new. While a new car loses money as soon as you drive it away, a used car doesn't. Plus, with good deals available on used cars, getting a cheap price is easy. Negotiating the best price for a used car however takes some skill.

Don't look too interested

When you start your used car hunt, cultivate your "game face", and look as detached as it's possible to be. If you look too eager to buy, a seller can see you coming a mile off. As soon as he sees the longing in your eyes, now you've found your "perfect car", that price he's asking won't come down.

In negotiating the best price for a used car, one skill to learn is to look only partially interested. Make a point of telling the seller you like his car, but there are other makes and models you still want to look at. You'll immediately find, if you appear less interested, he'll be more eager to sell, and that initial asking price will start to fall.

Don't obsess about one model

Consider more than one make and model of car. If you're obsessed with buying just one car, you'll pay more than you need to just because you're desperate to own that particular car. Decide on two or three makes and model of car, then buying one will depend on negotiating the best price for a used car, and not for a particular model.

Research the car's value

Before you go car shopping, spend some time online and research the value of the cars you're interested in, not only in the UK but in your specific area, as car prices differ from city to city. You can get an accurate quote at Parkers (parkers.co.uk/cars/prices/used).

If you know how much you should be paying, you won't find yourself being overcharged because you didn't do your homework.

Ask questions

The used car you like may sound nice but delve a little deeper. Has it ever been in an accident? How many miles are on the speedometer? What was the car used for?

Ask all these questions, and more, before you make an appointment to see the car. After all, if you want a car that's never been smoked in and you discover the owner is a heavy smoker, why waste your time even going to see it?

How much is your trade-in worth?

If you want to trade-in your current car and buy a used one at a dealership, be sure you know what the used wholesale price (not the retail price) should be on that car before you go.

Every used car dealer on the planet will try to give you less for your trade-in than is fair. Knowledge is power, as they say, and the more knowledge you have, the less likely you'll be cheated.

You're in control

Negotiating the best price for a used car can be fun. Just remember you're in control. You don't have to accept a low trade-in price if you don't want to, and you shouldn't feel pressured into paying a higher price than you can afford.

If there's too much pressure from a dealer, or even a private seller, walk away. It's just a car. You'll find another one you like even more somewhere else.

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