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Buying a used car

Any tips/advice?  I've read a bunch online, know what I am willing to spend, have test driven cars, done research, etc.  We are getting ready to make an offer within the next week and I'll likely finance through a credit union.  We aren't desperate but I want to buy before the end of the month.  The car we like best is at a dealership.  On all my online research - I've come across two approaches.  Make them an offer and let them counter.  Or ask them their best price and negotiate from there.  What do you all think?  Also - any other words of wisdom are appreciated. 

Re: Buying a used car

  • I'd take the "make them an offer" approach.  When I bought a new car, I decided on the specs I wanted & arranged financing through my bank.  Then, I emailed all the appropriate dealerships in the area with my offer, making sure to mention I was making the offer to all central TX Honda dealers, and putting an expiration time/date on the offer.  Within 30 minutes, one of the dealerships closest to me had emailed back and accepted the offer.  Easiest car purchase ever! 

    I think a similar approach would work with a used car--even if you don't make the offer to multiple dealerships, it couldn't hurt to let them think you might be. 

  • We went on Edmunds.com and priced out the True Market Value of the car we were interested in. The TMV was like $2K less than what they were asking for the car, but we offered it anyway, and they accepted IF we agreed to do our financing through them. Luckily, we had arranged our financing in advance through the credit union, and the dealer offered to match the interest rate.
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