Haggling is an art. Some people are great at haggling. Others would rather cut their right arm off than haggle for anything.  If you can muster the courage, a bit of haggling can do wonders for the price you get for your car. Here’s a few tips on where to start the haggle, and most importantly, where to end. 

Know the market price.

First things first, know the market value of your motor.  There are some good reference sources for this such as What Car?, Parkers or CAP, which give ‘book’ values for vehicles. Compare these with ads for similarly aged cars in your locality on Auto Trader and Gumtree too

Use your margins

Now that you know your upper and lower limits for haggling (the highest and the lowest that you have seen for your make and model), you have a realistic haggling margin. This helps you and the buyer can feel you’ve both got a good deal. But remember; a car is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.

Test your haggle skills in other places. ‘Shy bairns get nowt!’

The Private Sale haggle

These are some tips for negotiating when you are selling privately. 

• Be honest with any explanations, but don’t point anything out that the buyer doesn’t mention. Sold as seen, right?

• Turn down an offer outside of your margin, unless you need to sell fast. 

• Anticipate questions and practise responses.

• Don’t be offended if a buyer makes a cheeky offer. Smile and make a cheeky refusal.  People often buy on likeability. 

• Does your buyer seems keen but unwilling to close the deal? Ask them what they would want to pay for it, to kickstart negotiations.

• Inject a bit of urgency, i.e. “there is a lot of interest and other viewing appointments scheduled”

• Don’t be intimidated. If there are genuine reasons to drop the price, do so, but otherwise stand your ground. 

Haggling is an art, a practice that improves over time.

The ‘Dealer’ haggle

Selling to a dealer is going to save you the trouble and time of meeting people for a private sale but you will get less for your car.  After all, these guys are the pros and they’re looking to sell the car on and improve their margins.

• Knowing the upper and lower limit for your car will save you from being completely shafted. 

• Once the dealer has made the first offer, point out all the reasons for staying high, e.g. full service history, a current MOT and good condition, well looked after. 

• Haggle with a dealer when you are selling your car and NOT buying another. 

• Always stay friendly and pleasant. This isn’t a war, it’s a haggle. It’s meant to be fun. 

No one minds a bit of good-natured wrangling over a car sale, no matter how self-concious you might feel. 

Happy Haggling!

Download our FREE Used Car Checklist.

Join our community to download our Used Car Checklist with everything there is to know about buying a used car.