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Used Trucks For Sale By Owner: Negotiate

The key to successfully purchasing used trucks for sale by the owner is knowing how to negotiate.  There are a variety of potential hazards that you need to navigate and the only way to successfully do this is by creating a solid plan of attack.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that negotiation process begins well before you show up and meet seller.  By taking a more holistic approach to the process, it will be easier to set yourself up for success.  Here’s a quick look at the four primary phases of negotiating for used trucks for sale by the owner.

Phase 1: Before You Show Up In Person

Is the first phase takes place before you show up to the private sellers home to see the car for yourself.  During this phase, your primary goal is information gathering and may require you to quickly contact the seller for some basic information about the vehicle if you are not given it in the classified advertisement.  Let’s first start by gathering relevant information about the vehicle.  This is specific facts which can be found on websites like Carfax.  Order to do this research you will need to get the VIN number from the owner.  In many cases, you will need to contact them in order to get this number.  When researching the used trucks for sale you want to pay special attention to any previous accidents or major problems that the truck has had.  This will give you a good idea about how well the truck was maintained and how well it was treated.  For example, if you find out that the truck has a history of any major repairs then there’s a good chance that the owner did not take very good care of it.  As a result, it will likely not be as reliable or as durable over the long run.  You may still be interested in the truck at this point, just make sure if you are not paying full market value since the lifespan of the truck will likely be shorter than similar options.

Buy used truck from owner

Along with specifics about the use truck, you also need to gather price related information.  A lot of people focus on the Blue Book value of these truck, however this isn’t always applicable.  Instead, you can go online and get the local market value.  This value is based both on what the average Blue Book value is as well as the average sale price for that specific make and model within your geographic area.  For example, in areas where there are large numbers of these trucks on the secondary market, the average local sales price will be much lower than areas with fewer used trucks on the secondary market.

With all of this information in hand, you should create your ceiling price.  This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay regardless of what the owner asks for.  Keep in mind, that this should not be your opening offer, just rather a guideline to keep in mind during the actual negotiation itself.  If you do not create your ceiling before negotiating, there’s a good chance that the private seller can talk you into paying much more than you initially wanted to.

Phase 2: Negotiating – Part 1

When negotiating for used trucks for sale by the owner, there is a good chance that it will be a two-part process because you will not come to an agreement right away.  When you first meet the seller, it is important to try and avoid asking any yes/no.  For example, when you ask how much the owner wants for these truck, use a phrase similar to “What are you hoping to achieve?”  This will let you know why they are selling their truck as well as what the money from the sale will go towards.  By doing this, you are building in some additional wiggle room in the price because instead of having the seller thinking in only numbers, they are envisioning what they will purchase later on.  Not only does this give you some more negotiating room, but also gets seller to envision their new purchase, which increases their motivation to complete the sale.

Assuming that you have already looked over the use truck and have taken note of any potential additional investment that you may need to make, such as making small fixes, the next step is giving them your offer.  Your offer should be based upon three variables which you have already collected.  They are the local market value, your ceiling price, and the sellers’ price.  Ideally, your opening bid will be between 50% and 60% of the local market value.  By placing such a low opening offer, you can justify a majority of it by pointing out small fixes that you will need to make over the next year or two.  Plus, during your research you may have come upon some of the common problems that arise for trucks of that age, which can be translated into a future investment that you will need to make in the near future.  Additionally, this allows you to increase your offer by 10% to 20% without too much hesitation.

If the seller is still not biting on your offer then don’t hesitate to walk away.  In less you are looking for used trucks which are exceedingly rare or unique, there is no reason that you should force yourself into taking a purchase if you are not getting the best deal possible.  Remember, that they need to sell it as much as, if not more than, you want to buy it.

Phase 3: After You Walk Away

Before you walk away, you should let them know that you’ll give them a call in 7 to 10 days if you don’t hear from them.  By doing this, they will not be surprised when you called later on.  Additionally, this also lets them know that when you call them, you are not doing so because you are salivating to make a deal, but rather as a courtesy.  Don’t forget to leave your contact information as well so that they can contact you if they change their mind.

When you call them back in 7 to 10 days ask whether or not they have gotten any other competing offers.  If they have not, then stand firm on your final offer.  If they have gotten an offer to, then don’t hesitate to increase your offer by an additional 5% to 7%.  This will show the seller that you are willing to work with them, but are still not willing to submit to their price.

Phase 4: Closing the Deal

Once you close the deal, there are several things you need to do.  Most importantly you need to get a bill of sale and get the title transfer over into your name.  Every state has their own set of regulations as to what exactly this process is and the local DMV can tell you exactly what you need to do.

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