Selling a Car: How to Negotiate with Buyers


A buyer turns up to buy your car, they start haggling, you freeze, panic and sell it for $17. Well maybe not, but still, negotiations can be stressful if you don’t like confrontation. We’ll tee you up with some handy tips and tricks to help you negotiate with buyers and make sure you get the best price for your car.

How Do I Make Sure to Get Top Dollar for my Car?

  • Know your bottom dollar before you list your car. Know what you want from your car and know what’s realistic. Use this as an anchor, don’t sway from it unless you’ve thought it over over a number of days. This stops you making a rash decision in the heat of the moment.
  • Know your car, know the market. When confronted with a buyer trying to negotiate, always know market prices, reasons and what sets your car apart. This will often kill their negotiation strategy or force them into showing their hand. Use your evidence to counter-offer or to just sure up your price.
  • Plenty of fish in the sea. Not just something you tell a heartbroken friend, but also fair dinkum. People need cars, one buyer at one moment is not the only buyer you’ll ever see. One of the best lines I’ve ever heard was when my old man was selling one of his cars. The prospective buyer said “I’m the only one here, with cash, today” he replied “There’s also another bloke, with cash, here tomorrow”. Never think you have to sell to someone simply because they’re here now.

That’s a big one, it’s your car, don’t get bullied. With the right Ad, there should be plenty of people calling. Don’t get scared and sell your car to the first person who calls.

  • First one to talk loses. Your car is listed for sale, with a price. The buyer tells you what they are ‘willing’ to pay for it. That’s how it goes. Don’t ever fall into the “what’s the lowest you’ll go?”. Find out what they offer and figure out if you’re both in the game.
  • “I am flexible, but I’m not a gymnast, my room to move is in the hundreds – not the tens of thousands”. If you’re open to negotiate then say so, but don’t throw a lay-up for a low-ball. Low-balls are a waste of your time and of theirs.
  • No rush, no worries. Your price should reflect the market, the car, your timeframe and your needs. A cheap price sells fast, a high one takes time. Know what you want and figure out how flexible that makes you. AGAIN : Never be afraid to say “no”.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with buyers, a bit of to-and-fro never hurts. Just know your price and stick to your guns.

Back yourself, it’s your car. With the right research, and knowledge you can argue. With the right listing, you can knock it out of the park and get the best fish on the hooks.

If you learnt something here about how to negotiate with buyers, and wouldn’t mind a bit more, check out our other buying and selling articles here.