Buying your first car… it’s bittersweet, really. There’s a major sense of accomplishment that comes with it. However, it also comes with the burden of owing tens of thousands of dollars to the bank.
I wanted the car that was best for me– one that would last a decade, get great gas mileage, fit my personal style, and have all the tech/add-ons that I hoped for.
After hours of research and many test drives, I decided on the 2018 Honda CR-V EX.
Isn’t she pretty?
I tried my hand at negotiating and ended up knocking off almost $2000 of the retail price and got tons of add-ons for free. Here’s how I did it:
1. I kept my emotions out of it
Don’t let the salesperson you’re working with know how much you love the car, even if you absolutely have to have it. Have your poker face on. You’re indifferent about the car as far as the salesperson is concerned. They should be figuring out what they can do to make you close the deal.
They’re likely going to say things like “this model won’t last long” or “this is the only one like it, act fast.” Ignore them. You can just as easily get the car from another dealer or order it directly from the manufacturer online.
Keep yourself in a position of power so that the salesperson is chasing you and not the other way around.
2. I got price quotes from other dealers and leveraged them against each other
This step, in my opinion, is not optional. This is how I got my preferred dealer to knock $2000 off.
First, you want to identify which dealer is closest to you or which one you want to do business with. You’re going to want to ultimately buy from them so that you can get deals on maintenance or potential purchases from them in the future.
Next, you begin emailing other dealers in the surrounding areas asking for what deals they can offer you on the exact car you’re looking for. If one is selling for $30,000 and one is selling for $29,200 you start from there.
Continue going back and forth with the surrounding dealers until you’ve gotten the price as low as possible.
THEN, you go back to your preferred dealer with the lowest quote and tell them that they will need to either match it or do better, or you’re taking your business elsewhere.
3. I asked for more
Once you get the price down, the game is not over. After my salesperson told me that they were willing to match the other dealer’s price I just replied with “Thank you, I will think about it.”
And I waited. And the dealer became anxious, emailing me with tons of follow ups. I kept making them wait on my answer. After a day or so, I told him I just wasn’t sure and asked what else can you offer me?
I ended up getting a weather package (all season floor mats, splash guards, and a cargo tray), free car washes any time I wanted, and a $500 dealer transfer fee waived.
And now, I have the car that I’ve been dreaming about. A hefty bank loan, too, but ultimately I’m happy to have accomplished my first major purchase at the age of 21.