This is the first time I buy a vehicle on my own, so I have no experience in this matter. Today I will be meeting someone who is selling their motorbike. I think he is asking too much for it so I want to make a reasonable offer without offending him. What is the best way to do it?


I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Maybe I didn't express my question correctly because english is not my native language. I don't really think the price is too high, but I want to try and haggle because of my own budget (The bike is U$S 4700 but I have roughly 4200 to spend). I know it's common for a buyer to try and lower the price of a used vehicle, but it really depends on the predisposition of the seller to take it as an offense or not. What I'm looking for is a way to ask for a lower price.


2 Answers 2



  1. Collect Data

You want to make sure you have data showing similar bikes in similar conditions (age, miles, 'like new' or 'junk')

  1. Set a limit before arriving

He knows what he wants to sell it for. You should go into the negotiation with a top limit ("If he isn't willing to come down to X$ then I will walk away")

  1. Be courteous but not friendly

This is a negotiation where you both will need to make compromises. Be firm in asking him to come down on the price AND give your reasons why. Explaining why you think you can offer less than ask is important to make it seem like you aren't just trying to pay less. You are trying to pay less BECAUSE of X, Y, Z.

  1. (Optional but I think it is a good tactic I use) Bring Cash!

If he wants to sell for 5,000.00$ and you have both a) done your research, and b) set your limit, then you could walk in and say I know you want to sell for 5, but I think that because of (age, mileage, condition) it is worth 3.7, I will give you 3.7 right now in cash to make the deal. Lots of times if the sale can be done instantly and in cash people are more willing to negotiate their prices.

Good luck!

After Edit

I still say just be upfront with the guy. Say hey, the bike is probably not worth the full price you are asking. Can you come down to 4000? (You'll probably get a "no"). If you get a "no" just say ok, well the most I can do is 4200. I'm willing to make that deal right now but otherwise I'm going to have to walk away and look for something else. And you say all of this after you test drive it and make sure it drives well and is still something you want to buy.


Original answer to original question:

Assuming that he has made a high "ask," you can counter with a "lowball" bid, by offering about half of what he asked. If he asks 100 and you bid 50-60, you might split the difference at 75-80.

This is "standard" bargaining advice. But before you take it, check the "blue book" value of a car of similar make, age, and condition online. It's possible that even 50 is too high a bid, and it's also possible that he's asking 100 for a car worth 90, in which case 75-80 would be a more reasonable bid than 50-60.

Here is a new response based on the edited question:

The ask is at $4700. A bid of about $3800 is not unreasonable (about 80% of the ask). If you're lucky, you'll be able to split the difference around $4200. If it's $4250, you may have decide whether or not to "stretch" for $50.

If the seller insists on more than $4200, be up front. Say, "I only have $4200. If you want more, you'll need a new customer." Faced with this choice, he may come down. He may not.

Another possibility worth considering (for some people) is to offer $4000 down, and the balance of $700 at $100 a month over, say, seven months. (Save the extra $200 to give yourself a cushion.) He gets his price. You get "soft" terms (extra time to pay).


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