How to Negotiate Car Price

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Let’s face it: No one except the former president of the high-school debate team enjoys negotiating with a car salesperson. Sure, there’s a special kind of joy that comes with the thought of buying a car — picturing yourself behind the wheel of this or that model, the colors, a moonroof, heated seats … it’s all very alluring.

While visiting the dealership and test-driving can be exciting, you will eventually find yourself at that desk, with the salesperson, feeling as if you’re chained to the chair until you sign on the dotted line.

And that’s where so many mistakes can occur, especially if you haven’t done your homework in advance.

To help you put your best foot forward, LendingTree asked experts to weigh in on everything from comparing financing offers to timing your purchase to get the best price.

Knowing what is negotiable — and what isn’t

Not everything is negotiable when buying a car, but being aware of what is can put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating.

Price, trade-in value, loan or lease terms, an extended warranty and a host of dealer bells and whistles are all negotiable, according to Ali Omoomy, founder of, a negotiating service for car buyers.

“You may do well on one or two items, but [you] could give it all back and then some if you are not prepared to negotiate for all the of the items,” he said.

There are a few things that are usually not negotiable, including the Guarantee Auto Protection Insurance (which you do have the right to refuse), Advertising Fee, Title and Registration, Documentation Fee and Sales Tax. Be sure to review the fees carefully on the agreement to ensure that they are accurate. If your dealer is not giving you a price you think is fair, you can ask them to subtract an amount equal to these fees from the sticker price. There is no guarantee that they will be amenable.

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