Don't hold back on

haggling

Used car buying

THERE seems to be a chasm in the way we negotiate to buy a property and the way we buy a car.

Despite a buyer's best intentions, if a dream used car becomes available that ticks all the right boxes - except for the price tag - the budget can all too often get quickly forgotten.

Why this should be is something of a mystery, but I expect that because we are not often dealing in six figures for a car the heart loses much of its restraint and can rule the head.

As mystified as I am over the situation, vehicle history check expert, HPI, is offering a simple guide to the art of negotiation, helping buyers secure a good deal whether they are buying, selling or part-exchanging a car.

Their view is that despite a car being the second largest financial purchase a person will ever make - a property being the biggest - 56% of us would rather pay the asking price for a used car than negotiate with a dealer.

This compares to just 16% of people who would rather offer the asking price for a house than negotiate.In fact, as many as a third of us would rather negotiate a pay rise at work than haggle for a car.

The reality is that all too often buyers find the car they want and pay the full sticker price because they lack confidence in their own negotiating skills, particularly when having to deal face-to-face with the seller.House buyers have estate agents to negotiate through which gives them more room to be bold with their offer.

The trick to clinching a good used car deal is balance; you need to make sure the vendor or salesperson knows you're a serious buyer without appearing desperate.It is equally crucial to do your homework.

Before you start the process of securing a deal, research the marketplace and ask the right questions.HPI stresses that knowledgewill empower a buyer.

It is best to start by understanding the vehicle's current market value.It's easy to be taken in by shiny paintwork or a few in-car gadgets, but beware of any vehicle with a below market value price tag.

A used car valuation will give motorists a good idea of the price they should expect to pay if they are buying, or how much they can expect from a buyer if they are selling or part-exchanging.

If a car for sale is priced low to sell quickly, the chances are it's hiding something serious.For example, it could be ‘clocked', stolen or have finance owing against it.

If a vehicle turns out to be stolen or on outstanding finance, buyers could lose the car and the money they paid for it when it's returned to the rightful owner. Before buyers do any hard bargaining, they should get a credit check to be able to barter with peace of mind.

Things not to say include: "I really like that car;" "Have you sold many cars today;" "What sort of discounts are people getting on cars at the moment;" "Please can I have a discount?;" "Are you sure you can't meet my budget?;" Is that all my old car is worth?;" and "What will it cost if I pay in cash?"

What you should say is: "I'm interested in buying this car from you, but I need more than you are offering by way of part exchange on my old car to do that;" "I'm ready to do a deal today at the right price' or ‘I'm a cash buyer';" "Has this car been HPI Checked?;" "Has this car ever been in accident?;" "How much discount will you give me?;" "Can you meet my budget - if not, I can buy elsewhereâ¦;" "If your manager is the one making the decision, can I talk to him/her?" "I've seen a better deal at (mention a nearby competitor)" "If we can agree on £xxxx then you have a deal."

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