If you’re planning on buying a new or used car, then here are seven things that you should never say — unless, that is, for some strange reason you want to spend more than you should and suffer from buyer’s remorse:
1. “I have a trade-in”
Car salespeople love customers with trade-ins, because it gives them the opportunity to play a game that goes like this: they give you what seems like a big discount on a new or used car, but seriously under-value your trade-in. You think you’re getting a great deal, but actually you’re losing a lot of money. Don’t mention anything about a trade-in until after you’ve negotiated a discounted price, and if you don’t get a fair offer then sell your car privately.
2. “I need you to give me financing”
Once again, car salespeople love it when customers say they need financing, because there’s usually a lot of profit for them to squeeze. You’ll almost always get a better financing arrangement from your bank.
3.“My monthly budget is [enter amount here]”
If you plan on leasing a car, then you obviously have a monthly budget in mind. But don’t share this information! Otherwise, the car salesperson will almost certainly try and manipulate you into leasing a higher priced car than you can afford (and probably need), simply by stretching out the overall payment duration.
4. “I need to get a car right now”
The more desperate you are to get a car — perhaps because your current one is about to die or has already gone up to car heaven — the less leverage you’ll have. You always want to be able to get up and walk away if you aren’t treated properly, or if the numbers just don’t work for you.
5. “I don’t know a lot about cars”
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the difference between a cylinder and an exhaust pipe. Keep your lack of car IQ to yourself. Otherwise, prepare for the car salesperson to try and push you to buy features and extras that you don’t need — like an extended warranty or rust proofing. Besides, learning about basic car maintenance is easier than you think! Check out this article to learn more.
6. “I love this car!”
If you’ve fallen in love with a car, then great — love is a wonderful thing, right? Just don’t reveal this information to the salesperson. If you do, then they will be much less willing to negotiate, and may throw in some scare tactics such as telling you that there is only one car left on the lot and another customer is coming by in an hour to buy it (which of course is not the truth!).
7. “I’m not interested in shopping around”
Granted, going from dealership to dealership can be tiring and tedious (although it’s a lot better these days, thanks to modern office design elements like comfortable customer lounges, free wifi and coffee, big screen TVs, and so on). But if the salesperson thinks that you aren’t going to do any real comparison shopping, then they’ll be less motivated to give you a great deal.
The Bottom Line
Buying a new or used car doesn’t have to be a frustrating and risky ordeal. You just need to know what the landscape looks like. After all, the car salesperson is prepared to deal with you. Shouldn’t you be prepared as well?