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How haggling can help you pay less for a second-hand car

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Haggling’s just not British, right? Wrong. More than six in 10 people get some money off the price of a second-hand car just by asking. It seems when it comes to buying a used car most of us aren’t afraid to try getting the best deal.

Research by MoneyHelper shows men are more willing to negotiate over price, with 67% bagging a discount compared to 60% of women, but there’s no reason why anyone can’t give it a go. 

What’s the best car for you?

You’ll probably have an upper limit to spend on a specific model. But there’s more to the cost of a car than what you pay for it – running costs including fuel, tax and insurance are also important considerations. 

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Always shop around first

Shop around once you have a clear idea of the going rate for a particular car. Check online to see what rival dealers in your area are offering on comparable models as this can be a good bargaining tool when you are on the hunt for your next car. 

If you’re selling your current car, make sure you know its value, so you get the best price to put towards your new purchase. Motoring guides such as Glass’s and Parkers can help here. You'll probably get more if you sell your car privately, but this approach can take more time. 

Seal the deal with a garage

Be friendly and polite when negotiating with a dealership, but never let the salesperson know your upper limit. Start with a lower offer so you can negotiate up and meet in the middle. 

Always be positive when you make an offer. Don’t ask for a discount, but instead ask what they can do for you on the price – and don’t speak again until the salesperson replies. 

If you’re a cash buyer, don’t tell the salesperson this straight away. Dealers make bigger profits on finance deals, so let them negotiate the car’s value on that basis. You can decline the finance deal once you’ve agreed on a price. If you’re struggling to get a discount but really want the car, offer to buy it there and then. A quick sale may help you agree a price. 

And don’t be afraid to walk out if the dealer won’t negotiate – there is no shortage of car dealerships. 

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The pros and cons of buying a car from private sellers

You won’t get a used car warranty if you buy from a private seller, meaning you have less legal comeback if there’s a problem. But they won’t have sales targets to meet and so could be willing to drop their price, especially if they’ve already earmarked their next car and need to offload their old one to free up some cash.

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