Used Cars/car price


QUESTION: Hello Ray,
for the last few days, I've been scouring the internet trying to gain knowledge on how to buy a used car. finding your website was like finding a gold nugget! so much information that i'm sure it would help me when The Day comes.
i would like to hear your expert opinion in this one particular matter, if you don't mind.
i've been looking for a late model honda accord and i found one within the 200 mile radius of my area code. i have been using cargurus, cars, and autotrader dot com searching for this (which, are pretty much the same although there's a few cars here and there that are not on the other website). anyway this particular honda is the best priced i've found, in regards to the mileage, bells and whistles included that i want, clean record, etc. the dealer is asking $17,995, and the price has been lowered a $1,000 ($18,995 when it was first listed) about a month ago. this car has been in the dealer's possession for around 51 days, based on the Autocheck record.
on your website, you mentioned that the days of $2000 to $3000 off the sticker price is long gone. so in your expert opinion, what would be a good, fair price to open up with in the negotiation department? before i found your website, i was thinking of trying to get this particular car for $17,000, out the door, and was planning on paying cash. i would like to make an offer to the salesperson without insulting him.
to reiterate, the car is a 2011 Honda Accord EX-L, with 19,687 miles.
i won't be able to go up to the dealer until the last week of this month, since that is when i get the money.
kind regards

ANSWER: Hi Robbie,

Like finding a gold nugget "  lol ",,, have had hundreds of nice comments, yours made me laugh, my nose today will be elevated so high my friends won't be able to talk to me for a week.

Let's start with the statement the price has been lowered $1000.,,, 90% of the time it's a sales pitch, concentrate only on the current asking price, if it's a true statement the dealer listed vehicle as new inventory with a price tag to have some edge in negotiations, but no pigeons, and now 51 days and counting, so they lower the price and the negotiation factor becomes more tight. They may stay firm for the moment or have little room for negotiations. Yes I mentioned huge discounts are gone, with the Internet competition dealers better be close to the money, it's not like the old days,,, so an asking price of a vehicle under $20,000. on the Internet $1000. becomes a fair discount.

Your offer $17,000. is fair, but all in out the door will not happen, but $17,000. plus taxes DMV and whatever other hidden charges they got up their sleeve could happen.

Re your statement not insulting the salesperson,,, you dealing with alligator skin and alligator tears here,,, if you want to approach the deal like a pussy go ahead, it's your money not mine,,, I think I been approached with offers asking 40 to 60% off for a used car more than 100 times, if you want to know how I learned to deal with it request an answer.

Summary,,, your Q arrived as I was working on my website, I liked it, so you got an instant reply

Have a Blessed day
From the computer of
Ray Paulsen ^_^

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Haha! Thank you for a quick response, Ray! Yes, if you don't mind, I would love to hear your response to lowballers. Nothing like getting ready for every scenario thrown at me.
Incidentally, I just got back from Southeast Asia, business trip and all. so in essence, I had two weeks advance training in haggling (and yeah, even prostitutes hassle over there, or so my friend said...)

ANSWER: Or so your friend said,,, yer,,, OK right.

In my earlier years I always got frustrated with unrealistic offers but through gained experience I found the solution how to keep a buyer on a string going nowhere on average one to two hours wasting their time " example " my best performance and one of my favorites was a record 5hr marathon offer waiting for approval. and the short version went something like this.

On a Saturday at 1pm this arrogant know it all person confronts me in showroom saying that Chevy out there marked at $12,900 is way overpriced it's only worth around $7000.

He was waiting for an answer and I wanted him to think I was stunned or he had the better of me and finally answered, if you could buy that car today for $7000. would you ? " yes "
I made myself look confused and said wait here will be right back,,,,,,,, I notified the staff we may have a real squirrel to play with this afternoon,,, let the show begin.

Upon my return I invited him to my desk and said, I just had to check something about whats happening with offers today , I don't really want to waste my time or yours, I am going to say it may or may not happen but will give it a try, initial here and give me your credit card to show you mean business, go sit over there it may take a little while for me getting this approved.

About 30 minutes later the squirrel approach me asking what is happening, I called a co-worker asking where is the boss,,, still tied up at the bank but should be here real soon.

About one hour later the squirrel is getting restless, but can't get my attention since I am with other buyers, and we all know the squirrel is going nowhere without his credit card.

I really am enjoying typing this memory for the first time, have passed it on many times in conversations, may just paste it into my website .,,, lol

About 2.30pm, he corners me "Ray " I got to go, my credit card please will come back tomorrow. ok . no problem,,, please allow me to phone my boss to find out why not here yet while buyer listens.
Halloo boss,,, you what, stuck in the bank parking lot,,, somebody blocked your car in,,, the meeting didn't go to well,,,you need cash flow,,, yes I understand,,, ok ,,, see you when you get here.

Well Mr squirrel,,, I will level with you,,, this dealership is strapped for cash with overflow of inventory, thats why I kind of hesitated when you hit me with a low offer knowing that it may just work,,, " oh " you want to wait a bit longer, ok then.

4pm,,, I really can't stay any longer,,," Me " someone please call to see where the boss is,,, reply,,, they located the person that was blocking his car and and on his way.

5pm,,, He does not answer calls, sorry about all this , here is your credit card,,, I really had a strong feeling had he shown up, your deal would have been accepted.

6pm,,, closing time,,, sorry you got to leave, we all want to go home, come back first thing in morning and who knows.

Long story short the squirrel came back and any offer under $12,000 was not being accepted.

SUMMARY,,, I hold the record having a squirrel stay with me  for 5 hrs. Just one of many a story behind closed doors.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: LMAO! classic!!! the thing about it is, most of the dealings i've made, i went thru the same thing; wait, wait, wait... back then, it wasn't funny, frustrating even, but thinking back, i can see so many mistakes i've made. matter of fact, my second to the last car i bought was so bad that a year after that, when i have to buy another one (for work), i did my research over the 'net and learned a few tricks. i know i applied the "going in to shop half an hour before it closes." what's so funny is, just before i showed up, i called the salesman and told him so, so he knew i was coming (he also knew the car i wanted). i was negotiating with him when some lady who look like she's rushing showed up, 10 minutes before it closed. mr. salesman who was dealing with me excused himself and talked to the lady, within earshot, i might add. it just so happen that she wanted to see the same i car i wanted. when she left, the salesman didn't have to tell me anything, knowing i heard their conversation. finally, i told him that i will think about it overnight and will get back with him. he proceed to tell me that the lady is coming back the next day, in which i said, "well, if she wants it, that would save me $350.00 a month (in a roundabout way of telling him i'm financing, even though i was already pre-approved...) i came back the next day, and sure enough, the car was still there, lol. i believe i got down even more, and when i was happy with the price, that's when i test drove. is that ass-backwards, test driving after negotiating??? i do remember having a walk around the car the day before, since i think he said they can't find the key or something, i can't remember.
anyway, after coming back, that's when we went to the lie-nance manager to seal the deal.
yes, i was hammered with the add-ons, blah, blah, blah. and he just kept going on and on and on. finally, after he was done, it was my turn. i actually read the contract. i mean read it. every single page. on the parts where it was more of a lawyerspeak, i would stop, read it out loud, and ask him the definition, etc. i also told him, i'm not ready to sign yet since going from one contract to the next is confusing, therefore, we will lay it out on the table once i read it, then i will sign it once i read it all. on one of the contracts, i noticed a discrepancy. i can't remember exactly how much (annual percent) he had me approved for, but i knew it's way more that what i was pre-approved.
so going back to the discrepancy: for the sake of this email, say, he had me pegged for 6.5%... on one of the pages, it says 6.75%; not much, but i really thought it was bullshit. i pointed it out to him and he proceed to start explain it. that's when i told him, "you know what, i just change my mind. how about me paying cash for the car?" the look on his face was priceless. i unlatched the manila envelope i've been carrying and pulled out the pre-approved check and presented it to him.
to see him pissed off really made my day. to hear him say, "you can't do that, you can't do that!" over and over, and turning beet red at the same time was definitely a kodak moment. i mean he was getting loud, lol. finally an important looking person, who is most likely a bossman asked him to step outside so they can talk. he came back a few minutes later and apologized. he also asked me if he can match the APR, would i go with their financing. i said no, not match; lower. he start to turn red again, but went ahead and gave me a .5% lower rate (i can't remember the rate, but i know it was low, for me anyways).
so after all the T's were crossed and I's dotted, i shook his hand and went on out his office, but before i left, i did asked him if i can grab a couple free sodas on the way out from the vending machine since i have a long way to drive...

that was my last experience buying a car. i'm in the process of buying another one here soon and hopefully i could have the same experience. again, Ray, i have learned a lot from your website. i always refer back to my last experience and try to think what i could've done better.
you know, the consumer is always going to be on the losing end. on the average, we get to buy a car once every four years, so whatever bullshit we can hone from previous experience is pretty much archaic when the next time comes around. salesperson practice their bullshit everyday. 9 out of ten we lose. unfair, really. but it's that one shot you know you hurt him bad that counts, even though you know in the next few minutes you'll be eating leather like they're home made pork rinds. in very, very rare occasion, you hit him just right, and you see him go nite-nite...

kind regards

Thanks for your reply, I never was bored reading about buyers experiences,it kind of let me study and learn more about how to handle more objections from the other side of the fence and you getting to know more also about the other side can only help you in the process of buying.

This thread is way to long and at limit through allexperts,,, if you want to continue with some more stories or simply pick my brains on a one to one send me an email to

Have enjoyed your post and looking forward to a step by step story about your next purchase, you can corner a squirrel but it takes a pro to catch it.  

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ray paulsen


confused buying with confidence from dealer or private...consumer fears...paying to much...getting a lemon...accident car...fair value for trade...negotiation simply want a fair deal... YOU MAY QUICKLY FIND ANSWERS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR AT MY WEBSITE IF NOT I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.


over 35 years in automotive industry, management, retail, wholesale, appraisals, auctions, vintage


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