Buying guide

Paying the right price for your next car

Once you’ve decided on a car you want to buy, you need to work out what you’re prepared to pay for it.

Once you’ve decided on a car you want to buy, you need to work out what you’re prepared to pay for it. Check out our valuation tool to see what similar cars have recently been put on the market for, or you can choose to get a market valuation on the car to reassure yourself you’re not overpaying. Market valuations can be provided by car dealers if requested.

Negotiating a price

When a car is listed as a classified listing with a fixed asking price, you may still be able to negotiate a better deal. You can either negotiate in person when you check out the car or later on once you have viewed the car and others.

Of course, if your research tells you the car is a bargain, and you’ve done all the necessary checks, then you may want to snap it up before someone else beats you to it!

Buying by auction

If the car is being sold by auction, you can set up an auto-bid which allows Trade Me to automatically bid for you when you’re not the highest bidder (up to your set maximum bid). Or, if there’s a Buy Now option, you can instantly pay that amount to guarantee that you’ll secure the car purchase.

Many bidders won’t enter the auction until the last few minutes, so be ready for a possible rush of bids towards the end.

If you’re the highest bidder and the seller accepts the price, then the car is legally yours – neither side can change their mind or negotiate the price after this time. Therefore you need to check it out thoroughly in advance with a pre-purchase inspection and a Vehicle Information Report (VIR) from MotorWeb.

If the car doesn’t sell at auction because the reserve isn’t met, the owner can make a fixed price offer to you (via email), or you can ask them to relist it. Buying via auction gives you the best chance to save money and get a great deal.

Car finance

Once you have an idea of how much you need to spend to buy the car you’re after, you may want/need to consider car finance to cover the difference between your savings and the price of the car. A number of our listings have a finance calculator to help you understand what your repayments could look like. Click on the edit button to input your deposit and term (time over which you will need to pay the loan back).

There may also be an upfront establishment fee and an on-going monthly maintenance fee.

Different lending providers offer different interest rates, so it’s worth shopping around to find the most suitable offer for you. Make sure you read all of the documents carefully and don't sign anything that you don't understand or disagree with.

Whether you’re purchasing the car outright or taking out a loan, what car you choose will be largely dictated by your budget. So how do you know what you can afford? Simply figure this out by choosing the features you want/need, and also be sure to use the car price guide to feel confident in the price you pay.