How to Buy a Nissan Altima

Updated February 21, 2017

The Nissan Altima is a midsize sedan that tends to be affordably priced when compared to many other cars in its class. This affordability can be enhanced if you know how to be an effective car buyer. By arming yourself with information on Nissan Altima invoice prices and typical selling prices in your area, you can get the best deal. A few simple steps will also help you avoid Nissan dealer tricks to try to get you to pay more for your Altima.

Look up the invoice price of a Nissan Altima, including the options that you want on your car. This information is widely available on the Internet from sources like Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book. Get information from at least two or three sites to make sure it is correct, since some may not have the most up-to-date records.

Determine prices that consumers are paying for Nissan Altimas in your area. Car prices can vary widely, depending on your region. Run an Edmunds True Market Value (TMV), and visit Nissan owner forums where members frequently report how much they paid and the area of the country in which they made their purchase. The Edmunds TMV tends to run a little high, so the forums will give you real prices for comparison.

Visit the official Nissan website to find information on any current rebates and incentives. Using this information, along with the invoice price and current sales price in your area, come up with a fair offer for a Nissan Altima.

Find your local Nissan dealers via the Nissan website, and check their inventory online. Make a list of the dealers who have Altimas in stock with the options you are seeking. Although you can order a vehicle that meets your specifications, dealers are often more willing to make a deal on cars on their lot.

Visit the closest Nissan dealer, bringing all your paperwork to show that you've done your homework, and make your offer on the suitable Altimas you identified in their inventory. The salesperson may try to get you to negotiate based on payments or ask you to bump up your offer. Hold firm and be prepared to leave. If the salesperson declines your offer, go to the next closest dealer and make your offer there. If you've done your research properly and are offering a fair price for an Altima, it will usually be accepted at the first or second dealer.


If you know that you want a Nissan Altima and don't feel the need to see it in person before you purchase, send an e-mail to all your local dealers. Describe the Altima and options you want and the exact price you are willing to pay. Include your phone number, and ask them to contact you if they are willing to sell you an Altima at that price or less. Go with the dealer who makes the lowest offer. You may be reluctant to give out your phone number to avoid repeated calls, but many Nissan dealers won't respond if you don't because they're afraid that you're not a serious buyer.


Once you have agreed on a price for your Nissan Altima, many dealers will try to pad their profit with something called a document fee. It can range from under £65 to £650. This fee is pure profit to the dealer. Refuse to pay it, even if the dealer says he is required by law to charge it. Some states specify that if he charges it to one customer, he must charge it to everyone. However, he can easily subtract the amount from the car price. Dealers may also pad their in-stock Altimas with paint and fabric sealer, pinstripes, and other overpriced options. If you do not want these options, simply refuse to pay for them. The markup is so high that most dealers will waive the cost in order to make the sale.

Things You'll Need

  • Invoice price information
  • Local dealer information
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About the Author

Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."