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Car Buying Tips: A Former Dealer’s Guide to Negotiating Car Prices with Confidence

Our team of experienced automotive industry professionals at CarEdge is dedicated to making your car buying journey hassle-free. That’s why we have created this invaluable resource to help you negotiate car prices with confidence, whether you’re buying a new or used car from a dealership in person or through their internet sales department. With the help of our former dealership sales manager, Ray Shefska, and former dealership finance manager, Kimberly Kline, we have compiled this car buying cheat sheet to ensure that you drive away feeling proud of your purchase.

Don’t forget to check out Part 2 of this series: Auto Financing Cheat Sheet!

How to Negotiate Car Prices with a Salesperson

Prepare yourself for effective car price negotiations by following this cheat sheet. Feel free to print it out and bring it along with you! By being well-informed and prepared, you’ll be able to navigate the conversations and situations you’re likely to encounter with the salesperson and finance manager.

Salesperson: What monthly payment are you looking for?

You: I’m not concerned about the monthly payment. My focus is on the total out-the-door price.

Salesperson: So you’re paying cash?

You: I haven’t decided how I’ll be paying yet. My main concern is the total out-the-door price.

Salesperson: Do you have a monthly budget in mind?

You: I have a specific total out-the-door price in mind, so let’s stick to discussing that for now.

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Stay laser-focused on the only number that truly matters at this stage: the out-the-door price. Salespeople may try to gather more information about your budget, which gives them an advantage. They can leverage this information to offer higher interest rates, longer loan terms, or lower trade-in offers, none of which benefit you as the buyer.

Salesperson: Are you planning to trade in your current car?

You: I haven’t decided yet. We can discuss that as a possibility after we agree on an out-the-door price.

Salesperson: Now that we’ve settled on the out-the-door price, what about your current car? Will you be trading it in?

You: I might consider it if you can match or beat the written offers I have already received.

Salesperson: Now that we’ve agreed on the out-the-door price and the value of your trade-in, what monthly payment are you looking for?

You: I’ll only discuss that with the Finance Manager.

Salesperson: Will you be making a cash down payment?

You: I’d be happy to discuss all of that with the Finance Manager. If you provide me with a credit application, I’ll fill it out for them.

The Finance Manager will join you shortly.

How to Negotiate the Best Auto Loan Rate with the Finance Office

This cheat sheet will help you negotiate the best auto loan rates for your new or used car.

NEW in 2023: Due to popular demand, we have created an additional FREE guide: Auto Financing Cheat Sheet.

Finance Manager: I assume you’ve considered a comfortable monthly payment and loan term.

You: Yes, I have. I’ve even obtained a pre-approval from my credit union as a potential loan option.

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Finance Manager: Would you consider financing through us?

You: I might, as long as you can offer a better rate than my pre-approved loan from the credit union. Here are the terms from my credit union for comparison.

Finance Manager: So if I beat the rate, you’ll finance with us?

You: Yes, if you can beat it by at least ¼ of a percent. I’m also open to discussing any finance and protection packages available.

Finance Manager: So you’re interested in our programs?

You: Possibly, but only if we can agree on a reasonable selling price for any additional products. Also, if I do decide to purchase any products, I expect to receive the buy rate from the bank on my loan. However, you’ll need to beat my credit union rate by at least ¼ of a percent for me to consider it.

Finance Manager: Great, let’s get started.

You: I’m all ears.

The Finance Manager will present you with a menu of additional products.

You: Before we go over the benefits of these products, could you provide me with my base payment, amount financed, term, and interest rate?

After reviewing the payments, you request to see the actual price of each product to make an informed decision. Negotiate the prices of any products you’re interested in.

Finance Manager: Okay, sign here and here and here.

You: Sure, but please print my Bank Contract and Purchase Order first so I can review them.

Go through each line of your itemized Purchase Order and make sure the bottom line (amount financed) matches on both documents.

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CarEdge: Empowering Consumers in the Car Buying Process

Looking for more resources to navigate the car buying process? Search our free guides and join the CarEdge Community today! We’re here to help you negotiate car prices confidently because knowledge is power when it comes to buying a car.

Don’t forget to check out the CarEdge main channel on YouTube and our daily Ray and Zach LIVE SHOW for more valuable information.

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