Tips to Get the Most Value Out of Your Car Trade-In

As the digital natives gradually take hold of the society and replace the main body of the population, mainstream consumer behavior is starting to shift with it. Auto sales have naturally followed suit to the wider trend of e-commerce as over the last couple of years we have witnessed the year-on-year growth of the market size for online car sales.

Does this mean that the number of days for the conventional car dealership is dwindling? There is no resounding answer to this question. Purchasing a car is a tactile experience and dealerships play an indispensable role in fulfilling that. However, the shift in car-buying behavior is indicative of a radical change that is inevitably going to take place in the retail model as dealers have to factor in the new dynamics present in the market.

We may not be there yet in 2022, but we are most certainly in the transition phase. So, with powerful tools at our fingertips, unprecedented access to information from a variety of sources, and innumerable options at our disposal, we are empowered more than ever to get the most value out of our trade-in deals.

Get an Accurate Estimate of Your Car’s Value

Although it is becoming increasingly difficult for dealers to low-ball you with unfair prices, it is still common to encounter such situations. The best way to safeguard yourself against such blatant offers is to be well-informed about your used car’s worth. So, it is imperative that you get an accurate car appraisal before you set foot on any car dealership or car lot.

There are different factors that affect the trade-in or resale value. The basics are the car’s model, year, mileage (though not as much as you’d think), and condition—hence it’s important to stage your car before even beginning the process. These criteria coupled with the existing demand for your car in the market gives you a pretty much accurate estimate.

In terms of how you can get your car appraised, you have plenty of options at your disposal. You can start with online sources such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association). These sources have streamlined tools that inquire you about your car and present you with a range of prices based on the information you provide.

Depending on the model of your car, sometimes it is a good idea to consult a professional as well. The valuation of classic cars in particular is more dependent on factors like agreed value and historical asking prices, not to mention the overwhelming details of the history of work and restoration. There are many online valuation tools for this niche as well. To put it concisely, do your due diligence to get the most accurate estimate of your car’s value.

Distinguish Between the Two Deals

As much as some dealers want to blur the line and converge them into one, a trade-in is comprised of two completely separate transactions of selling a car and buying a new one. And you need to look at them as two isolated deals if you want to get the most value out of your trade-in. Honestly, the best way to do this is to avoid trading in your vehicle and sell it on your own. This way almost always nets you more money in your pockets as it prevents the dealers from muddying the waters.

For a casual buyer, it is always easier to negotiate one deal at a time. If you are not a casual buyer and you flip vehicles for side cash or run a small home motor trade business yourself, we recommend you find out about working from home.

However, selling cars comes with its own assortment of headaches that many simply don’t want to deal with. In these cases, it is recommended that you first determine and agree on the price of the vehicle you are about to buy. Even better, is to not mention that you have a trade. This way you force them into viewing the deals as two separate events. And since you have a clear idea about how much your used car is worth, you will get the best deal possible on both fronts.

Don’t Hesitate to Shop Around

Obviously, you are under no obligation to make a deal with the first dealership that you step into. Shopping around may seem like a tedious task—and sometimes it really is—but its benefits far outweigh its effort costs. By visiting multiple car dealerships and getting as many competitive quotes as possible, you will get a stronger bargaining chip as well as get more experience with the circumstances unique to the car you have at hand.

Keep in mind that a trade-in situation differs from a typical car purchase in that you have conflicting interests with the dealers. Their aim is to buy your car for as cheap as they can to resell them with the highest markup possible. Your goal is the exact opposite. So, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and assess as many options as you deem necessary.