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Used Cars/Used car buying process


Hello Mr. Ray Paulsen.  I've read everything on your very helpful website at and since you are very knowledgeable in this area, I was wondering if you could help me with some advice since Iíve never bought a car before.  Iím planning on buying a used good & reliable car hopefully with low mileage, preferably from a car franchise dealership, in the $5,000 range.  I will be paying cash and I do not have a car to trade in. I have a couple of doubts regarding the car buying process that I hope you could possibly clarify:   

1-) Regarding the negotiation process for used cars at a car dealership, could you clarify if the following step by step is the indeed the right way to do it: 1- select car through a website like autotrader, 2- check history report, 3- go check it out in the dealership, 4- test drive it, 5- if you like it then negotiate price including the out the door cost, 6- if agreed on a price tell the salesman that the agreement is subject to an independent car inspection, 7- if everything is good then buy but if minor issues are found renegotiate if theyíll fix them or lower the price and if they actually do it then buy it.  (I just want to be sure that my interpretation of what you wrote in your website is correct)

2-) Whenever I start the negotiation process with the salesman should I start by telling him the price that Iím willing pay for the the car or should I start by asking him what is his best offer and go from there with the negotiations?

3-) Where do you think is the best place to carry the car mechanic inspection: in an independent car mechanic or in a place like Firestone, Goodyear, Pep Boys, or Auto-Zone?

4-) Does negotiating the price of a used car through phone or email really work? (That was suggested by someone else online)  Could you suggest a step by step that should be followed if I were to actually carry out this method of negotiation?  

I would like to be well informed in order to be ready before buying the used car...any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much for being willing to share online your expert knowledge with me & countless others and for creating a very helpful website full of knowledge for everyone. Many blessings!

Hi Jose,
Firstly I did receive your email, and appreciated that you took the time to study my website to understand the process buying a car.

Regarding # 1 -)
Yes you done good homework, may not play out that way, but you on the right track.

# 2 ) Let the seller make the first move.

# 3 ) Phone shops within range and get a cost for an inspection and make an appointment.

# 4 ) I love this Q,,,, If there was one thing that really pissed me off selling cars it was the idiots trying to negotiate on the phone,,, excuse my grammar.
A pro salesman will agree with whatever demands knowing he can't sell a car on the phone,,, however once you get to the dealership it's a whole new ball game.
Exceptions are,,, A follow up phone call to re-negotiate a price that was not excepted.

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

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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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