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The KwikGuide to: how to haggle
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haggling if you're selling a car

Having checked the car over and taken it for a test drive, if your buyer's still interested they'll start talking about your price.

Most people will have a go at haggling your price down, and you'll be ready for it. You should have put a bit extra on the price you actually want so you can afford to be flexible. But if you get asked 'how low can you go' or 'what's your best price', certainly don't tell them what you'd really accept for the car. Say you're a reasonable person and you're prepared to be a bit flexible. Ask them what sort of offer they had in mind.

Listen to any sensible offer and explain in return how much interest you've had - you're in no great rush to sell, or that their offer is simply too low. If they're listing real faults that would genuinely need money spending to fix, then be realistic - other buyers are likely to spot them too.

But obviously don't stand for any nit-picking - no used car is perfect. The casual, disinterested response that 'well, it's not a new car, hence the price' is sometimes useful in this situation. Or explain how the car is already priced to take a fault into account.

But if you've built in some extra to the price, you should, within reason, play the haggling game. Reluctantly, just to be polite, say you'll accept an amount marginally less than your asking price.

The buyer will probably come back with an offer slightly higher than their starting bid. Don't split the difference with them too soon. If you're prepared to, reduce your price again slightly, if the amount you actually want for the car will allow. Maybe consult an unseen but apparently hard-nosed partner before giving this second discount.

Unless you really want rid of the car, don't give away any more after that. Refer to the value of the tax you're leaving on the car. Of course, if you advertised it with tax that's how you've got to sell it. But if you can counjure up a bigger cash figure they're saving than the amounts they're haggling over, it could encourage them to settle where you want them to.

But if your phone has been ringing off the hook and you feel confident, apologise and politely explain that you feel you've priced the car fairly and you've had so much interest you know you'll get the asking price.

If the buyer has settled on an offer that you feel is too low and it's stalemate, offer to take their number and give them a call in a few days if no-one makes a better offer.

When you've agreed a price, the golden rule is never hand over your car or documents until you've received cleared funds. If you're paid in anything other than cash, the best policy is to assume it's forged until you can be sure otherwise. That's until the cheque has cleared in your account, or in the case of a banker's draft or bulding society cheque, until you're able to contact the branch it was drawn from so that you can check it's genuine.

If being paid a large amount of cash, then the best policy is to hand over the car's V5 and keys for the cash while in a bank, so you can bank it safely straightaway.

If you're trading your car in at a dealer, do the deal in two parts. Before you even start talking about the price of the car you want to buy, negotiate a trade-in price for your car. The dealer will pretend they don't want it much but will most likely make a grudging offer. That will depend on the recommended price in their trade prices book, the ease with which they think they will be able to sell your car, and how keen they are to sell the car you are interested in.

Be prepared for them to scoff loudly at the prices you have researched. But ultimately they want to sell you the car you've got your eye on, so don't be intimidated to settle for less than what your car's reasonably worth.

When that's settled, then start the negotiations on the sticker price of the car you're buying.

To read more car selling tips, read our complete guide to selling a car.

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