The case is the following: I am buying a car from an auto stand. They buy back cars and I want to give mine.

I think this can apply in a generic way. I want to buy a good and I have something to give back. How is the better way to get the best deal?

Should I immediately state that I want to give my good back in exchange for the new one or should I try to get the best price and only in the end introduce the good in exchange?

Although my question is regarding a car, generic answer would be apreciated.

2 Answers 2


NEVER combine the negotiations for trade-in of an old car and purchase of a new one (and/or financing), if you can avoid doing so. Dealers are very good at trading off one against the other to increase their total profit, and it's harder for you to walk away when you have to discard the whole thing. These are separate transactions, each of which can be done with other parties. Treat them as such.

  • I think the author is just giving an example. He would actually seems to want a generic answer. Would that still be true for other goods?
    – nsn
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:34
  • @keshlam would you generalize that for other goods or only for cars?
    – xico
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:44
  • 3
    Depends on how we'll you/they can manipulate the entrapment dynamic I've described. I agreed to buy a piano I didn't really need as part of the process of closing on my house, to nail down the last $600 difference, but I knew it was a decent piano and my girlfriend found it acceptable as a gift and would pay to move it to her place, and it as the concession that made the house deal happen. But that's a tiny percentage and an uncommon case.
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:51
  • @keshlam funny that you mention a piano. I actualy have the same deal as described in the question with a piano. I didn't mention it because it's not as common as a car.
    – xico
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 13:58
  • In all cases: be sure of what you're buying/selling by having a professional inspect it.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 14:22

I don't think that there is a generic answer that will apply to this question across all goods. The answer depends on how the related businesses work, how much insight you have into the true value of the goods, and probably other things. Your car example is a good one that shows multiple options - There are dealers who will buy as a single transaction, sell as a single transaction, or do a simultaneous sell with trade-in. I had a hot tub once, on the other hand, where I could find people who would do a trade-in, but there was no dealer who would just buy my used tub. There's not much parallel between the car and the tub because the options available are very different.

To the extent that there is a generic answer, I generally agree with the point in @keshlam's answer about trying to avoid entrapment, but I take a slightly different view. If you want to get your best deal, you need to have an idea going into the process of what you want in net and keep focused on meeting your goal. If for some reason, it's convenient for the dealer to "move money around" between the new car and the trade-in, I'm ok with that as long as I'm getting what I want out of the deal. If possible, I prefer to deal with both transactions at once because it's simpler. At the same time, I'm willing to remove the trade-in from the deal if I'm not getting what I want. (Threatening to do so can also give you some information about where the dealer really puts the value between the new car and trade-in since, if you threaten to pull the trade-in, the price on the car will probably change in response.)

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