Thank you! That is exactly what I need to think about!The cat's owner is asking $285 to $325. Fairly reasonable.
How much do you want THIS cat? Given the asking price and what you know, how much do YOU think the cat is worth and how much are you willing and able to pay? What's the highest price you're willing to pay? Think about YOURSELF and not the other person, for the moment.
Is $300 a reasonable number for you?
For sake of discussion, let's say that your price is $300.
Lower your starting price to, maybe $250 or even $200. Let the other person respond and gauge their response. If they are firm at $325, let it go... No sale. If they are willing to talk, ask what they are willing to take. Let THEM talk you up to your maximum price. When you both reach an agreeable price, shake hands and say, "Sold."
However, if they are being a jerk about it, don't be afraid to walk away. If the seller knows that you are willing to take a walk, they are more likely to bargain.
Since it is a well behaved cat with papers and no medical issues, you should be prepared to pay a little bit extra. The seller did the work of bringing the cat up and taking good care of it. That's worth $$.
If you really, really like this cat and you feel like this is "your cat" then it's probably worth a few $$ more to bring her home.
As far as how or when to pay, that's part of the negotiation, too. The way my father did it was "Half up Front" and "Half on Delivery." When somebody paid their "honest money" he put a collar on the puppy's neck with the buyer's name. When the pups were ready to go to their new homes, the people brought the rest of their money and took the dog home, on the spot. Your situation is a little bit different so you can adjust for your own circumstance. However, paying "honest money" up front plus "cash on the barrel" when the deal is closed is a time-honored way to make an honest deal.
No, Dad didn't take the puppies to their new home. The buyer came and got them. We're not saying that the seller has any ulterior motives or anything. It's just not Kosher for them to come to your house. It's not the way things are done. I guess, if you wanted to have a reason for this custom, you can say it's because you want to make a "clean break" from the cat living in its old home.
Also, once the cat is in your home, bought and paid, she should be YOUR cat. It's nice to think that the seller cares for the cat and might want to see her but, like I said, you want a clean break. The seller shouldn't visit the cat or bug you to know what she is up to, all of the time. I'd say that the seller has the right to know that the cat has a good home but, beyond that, it's a clean break. Maybe you could e-mail a picture of the cat in her new home, just to let them know that everything is all right but, after that, YOU are her new human.
The only other thing that I can think of is to make sure that you agree upon an adjustment period with the seller. What if the cat just can't adjust to her new home? You'll want to have an "out." This is really not likely because Maine Coons are such well-mannered, adaptable cats but it is something you should keep in mind. Let's say a few weeks or a month... If the cat just isn't happy in her new home, can you call the person and negotiate a way to send her back? Again, not likely but you should talk about that before you plunk down your hard-earned cash.
Same thing for preexisting medical issues. If she gets sick because of some problem that she had before she came home with you, there should be an agreement on what to do.
Beyond those things, I think you are looking at a very nice cat. She seems to be healthy and, from what you say, well behaved.
If you really like her and want to bring her home, I don't think that $200 to $300 is too much to pay for a purebred Maine Coon cat as a pet.
From here, the decision is up to you.
Do you really feel like she is the cat for you?