How to Make an Offer on a Car

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After much research and time spent agonizing over the perfect new or used car, you finally have the car of your dreams in sight. But you want to be a smart car shopper and get the absolute best deal. How, exactly, do you go about making an offer on a car and ensure you walk away a winner?
Making an offer on a car may seem overwhelming, but with a few simple tips, you’ll be a car buying pro in no time. Here are tips on how to prepare before you make an offer, plus tips on buying a car at a dealership or through a private party.

Tips for making an offer on car

  • Research first. Before you make an offer on a car, research its value. For new or used cars check out vehicle valuation sites such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book so you know just how much the car you want is actually worth and how much negotiating room there may be in the price. Some sites, such as True Car, can also tell you what people have paid for the exact same vehicle, so you negotiate more effectively.
  • Negotiate. Don’t take the first price provided on a car, but be sure you are making a reasonable counter offer. Dealerships are in the business of making a profit and will only be willing or able to negotiate a price to a certain extent.
  • Don’t forget the add-ons. Once you have negotiated the price down or if it is firm but acceptable, see what additional perks can possibly be added in. Some dealerships may be willing to add in car washes, service discounts, or accessories at no cost to close the deal.
  • Read everything. Once your offer is accepted and before you sign any paperwork, read through everything, including the fine print.
  • Understand the final price. Interest, fees, and other miscellaneous costs can add up. Ask questions about any additional fees you see and be sure you know how they affect your car’s final price. If you'll be making monthly payments, ask what the final payoff amount will be for each option so you are fully aware of how fees and interest will impact the final price of your car.
  • Know when to leave. When you are making an offer on a car, know when to walk away. Being prepared to leave means you are less likely to make a bad decision. If the price isn’t matching your expectations, find another dealer or seller.

How to make an offer on a car at a dealership

If looking to purchase a car at a dealership, find as many possible dealers in your area that have the vehicle you need. Shop around and find a dealership that is offering the lowest initial purchase price. Be prepared to visit multiple dealerships to negotiate and make offers and find the best deal.
When you purchase a new or used car from a dealership, don’t forget the trade-in. If you are making an offer on a new or used car at a dealership and have a current vehicle, you may be able to negotiate a lower purchase price based on the value of your trade-in vehicle. It is recommended to request and negotiate the best purchase price you can get without it first, then negotiate in your trade-in vehicle value.
Key Takeaway Visit as many dealers as possible, and be ready to negotiate until you have the best deal possible. After that, you can try and get an even better deal by trading in your old car.

How to negotiate with a private seller

If making an offer on a vehicle from a private seller, it’s recommended to some additional research. Utilize vehicle history report providers such as Carfax to find out about any possible accidents the car may have been in as well as to see its maintenance history.
When you purchase a vehicle through a dealership, there are a number of contracts and guarantees that are made regarding the vehicle, such as whether it can be returned and under what circumstances, payment arrangements, and other legal responsibilities.
It's important to have a contract or agreement between yourself and a private seller that covers these same details to cover both parties in the case of a legal dispute. It's also recommended to have any contracts or agreements notarized to ensure the documents are legally enforceable.
Key Takeaway Before buying from a private seller, it’s important to do some extra research on the vehicle’s history. You should also get a notarized agreement between you and the seller in case of a legal dispute.

Don’t forget about car insurance

You’ve made an offer and finally got the car you wanted, congrats! Now that you have it though, you’ll need to get car insurance before driving it off the parking lot. An intelligent AI-based tool like Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a car insurance policy that is customized for you.
After providing you with the best quotes from up to 50 top providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so you can relax after working so hard on that offer. So why do all that extra work? Get Jerry and find insurance for your new car in just seconds!

FAQs

How much negotiating room is there on a used car?

Most used cars sitting on lots are marked up by around 20% of their true value. So, if you go through all the steps to make an offer, you might be able to reduce the price quite a bit.

Can car insurance be negotiated?

The easiest way to get a good deal on your car insurance is by using Jerry. An intelligent AI-based tool like Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a car insurance policy that is customized for you. After providing you with a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to.

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