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Need Negotiating help from all you wise mamas

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok, I know this is like my 3rd car thread here, but you guys have literally taught me everything I know about buying a car. Thank you all sooo MUCH!!!!


So I've found person who wants to sell a used Prius for a price dh & I can afford. We'd be able to pay off most of it right now, taking out a small loan ($8000) to cover the rest. Through extra payments and using our rebate lump sum, it'll be payed off by next March. I asked all the questions of why he is selling it (he now works from home & doesn't need it), clean title, regular maintenance records, etc. It's a 2005 but has 75000 miles. This is okay with us because since the warranties are pretty much expired, we can go ahead and do all the modifications we want without any financial repercussions.


1) So, he is asking 16500 for it. I'd like to get it for 15500 or 16000, but I don't know the first thing to negotiating. This is an awesome deal for a Prius so I feel bad about even negotiating. All the used Prius' I've found go for pretty much the new car price (less $3000 or $4000). I don't want to piss him off and lose out on the deal, kwim? Plus it has the carpool stickers. That alone is a $4000 value.

2) I am planning on bringing it to a mechanic before buying as well. Should I start haggling before or after this? Also, how do I go about getting it to a mechanic. He's about an hours drive away from us. There is a Toyota 101 car inspection location in Redwood City (about an hour away from both of us). Should I suggest he bring it there or should I find a mechanic in between us? And how do I bring it up to him? I checked carfax, it's clean, and I will be bringing dh & dh's best friend along to check it out as well.

This car would really really help us so much. It'll be our first car and, for the price..yea...so I am invested already. Not good, huh?

I want to be as polite as possible too. Sometimes I just don't know how to word things, kwim?

post #2 of 9
if it's a steal, I would ask whether he is willing to consider the price you want to pay. Then you can decide. Be upfront is my suggestion.
post #3 of 9
First, you need to ask yourselves, how much do you want it? Are you ready to walk away from the car?

Also, how much is it worth to you? Is it worth the $16500?

If you are not ready to walk away and are not willing to walk away from the car, and are prepared to pay the 16500, then that's good to know.

Then, have the car checked out by a mechanic (that is familiar with Prius). Then, if something comes up, you can use that as a leverage, once you re-ask yourselves the questions above.

If the car checks out, then ask the owner if he'll accept 15500. If he won't , look hesitant and mention to your DH how it has sooooo many miles on it and you're not sure. See if the owner budges, if he negotiates down, then you can make another counteroffer in between what he offered and what you offered. If he doesn't budge, tell him you need to talk about it privately. Have an intense discussion a little bit away from him and then see if he approaches with a counteroffer. If not, then approach him and "whine" a little bit about what he can do, even if it's just $200 off. You may only be able to decrease it $200, but hey, that's something!

I hope this makes sense! The important thing is, how much is the car worth to you and how willing you are to walk away.

Also, keep in mind that as much as you want to purchase the car, he wants to get rid of it. You're doing him a favor because not too many people are going to want a 75000 mile car that is that expensive.

By the way, have you looked up the Kelly Blue Book value for it? Because I looked it up for a standard Prius with that mileage and it came up with $14,460 when being sold privately. So, you would be paying too much according to that. You can use that as a bargaining chip. But check it out at www.kbb.com for the exact features the car you're considering.

Good luck!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Macromama and sanguine_speed!

I find that kelley blue book undervalues the Prius in my area. Edmunds.com seems to hit the price range much more spot on for the area I am in. And for Edmunds his quote is on the low side. I am waiting for a few more pics and then I am going to talk about meeting halfway or something.

If you were selling a car, would you find it ok to drive an hour to bring it to a manufacturer certified checkup area? Or would you think it was not worth the hassle?

He still owes 16500 on the loan, so I don't know how flexible he might be on pricing.

I just got another response by someone looking to sell me their 2004 Prius for about $2000 less than this one, but with 25,000 more miles. I dunno, but I might play one off of the other. Is that ethical? I am such a noob at this!

I feel so dumb for asking all these questions. As it stands, you all have broken my car-buying virginity, lol. It's cool though because I feel A LOT more confident buying a car now than I ever did before.

post #5 of 9
I think it is an absolute must to have a mechanic look at the car. A mechanic you trust. Don't start negotiating before the mechanic looks at it. If he isn't willing to bring it to a mechanic you trust, it is not worth it. Trust me. It is absolutely ok to play each owner off of the other. Figure out what is the absolute bottom line you are willing to pay for hte car and then ask if he is willing to take $1,000 less. If he says no and doesn't counter offer, ask him what his best price is. If it is what you are willing to pay, then you are both winners. If he counter offers, counter his counter offer with a number in the middle. If his best price is more than what you are willing to pay, walk away. ALthough he told you he still has x amount left to pay it off, that may not be true. So don't let his story weaken your resolve.
post #6 of 9
Also, ask your mechanic if the mileage is an issue with the prius. I recenlt bought a used Mazda with almost 80,000 on it because my mechanic said there was absolutely nothing wrong mechanically with the car. I trust my mechanic absolutely, so I bought hte car. He also has told me that mileage means different htings on different cars. THe last car I bought on his advice had over 150,000 miles on it when the transmission blew. I paid $3,500 and it lasted 7 years. Not too bad.
post #7 of 9
The Prius is about $24K new, right?

New cars get lower interest rates on car loans (when we bought from GM, the interest rate was zero). For a Prius it will be higher of course. But you need to do the calculation of :

Used car $8k cash + $8500 loan at 9%


New car $8k cash + $16000 loan at 4-6%

When we did this calculation, we ended up buying new. Just something to check for your specific situation. With gas at $4, the used Prius is going to be a very hot car!
post #8 of 9
With the stickers my understanding is that you are getting a decent deal provided the mechanic check works out. And if he is charging you what he has left on the loan then he can't really go down from there.
post #9 of 9
MacroMama said everything I'd say. And I'd add that I agree that it's wise to have a mechanic look at it. But if I were selling a car, I wouldn't let someone take my car an hour away to a mechanic. I would definitely let them bring a mechanic to the car to look at it (at their home, or mine, or at a local mechanic's shop), but not an hour's drive away.
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