Step 10: Bargain With Your Buyer, But End with a "Win-Win."
Most people assume, understandably, that your asking price has some room for bargaining. You're the same when you're a buyer. If your car is perfect and you have already picked a price that you feel is fair for the market, then you may not feel the need to reduce the price. Perhaps you even put the word "firm" after the price listed in your ad. We feel that there are two problems with that approach. The first is that very few cars are absolutely perfect, complete with service records. The second is that people want to feel like they've made a great deal.
Even when dealers sell near-perfect cars, they still allow for at least a certain amount of negotiation, with the result being the buyer feels that he or she got a good deal. Every good salesperson knows that a good deal is one that leaves all parties satisfied; the buyer ends up with the vehicle, the seller has the money and everyone involved feels the price was reasonable. The key, of course, is to leave a cushion for negotiation in your asking price.
Three Common Tactics Buyers Use to Reduce the Price
1) "The car needs some work"
This is where your preparation pays off. If you've done everything right, you already know the condition of your car and have discussed it with the buyer. In most states it's your responsibility to make sure the car passes smog requirements, but it's not your problem if the car will be due for a service in a few thousand miles. Every used car needs some work of some sort; that's why it's a used car. So what? Good dealers will do impending services to make sure customers are happy when they come back to the service department, but dealers face more liabilities and get more for their cars.
2) "I've seen cars like this in the paper for 'X' dollars"
It's amazing how many buyers will say they have seen cars just exactly like yours, but for a lot less money. If some fellow makes such a claim, tell him he ought to buy the other car. Those other cars almost always have higher mileages, or have been crashed, or have some other problems -- if those cars exist at all. A truth of the car business is that if it involves new cars, a buyer can indeed find "another one just like it" at another dealership. But with used cars, whether at a dealership or through a private party, the"other one just like it" almost never exists.
3) "I can only afford 'X' dollars"
That may or may not be true, but that is not the seller's problem.
Ask Yourself the Tough Questions
The entire exercise of selling your own car comes down to this: Are you getting a lot of calls? Are you being offered enough money? Do you want to spend another weekend at home taking calls and showing your car to strangers? Only you can answer those questions, and that will determine what you finally accept for your vehicle.