How do I figure out what my trade in car is worth - Car Buying Advice For Rookie Car Buyers


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How do I figure out what my trade in car is worth?

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Here, we'll explain how to figure out what the value of your trade in car is, no matter if that vehicle is new or used or if you still owe money on it or not.

The first way to figure out prices for trade in cars is to consult pricing guides. Guides give you a ballpark figure from which you'll be able to base your estimate on. Two of the most popular car pricing gudes are the NADA guide and Kelley Blue Book. A visit to each of their website will give you some invaluable pricing information.

Guides look at a number of different criteria to determine your car's worth, including its mileage, condition and location.

Using the NADA guides is a straightforward process. First, you'd enter your mileage, options and location. You'll generate four different prices, dependent on the car's condition, and whether in fact it's a trade in vehicle, or if it's sold at a car dealership (this price is known as its retail price).

Using Kelley blue book is just as straightforward. Again, you'd enter mileage, location and options information, which will generate three different prices dependant on whether the car is a trade in vehicle, a retail sale or a private party sale. Know that of the three prices, the trade in value is the lowest, whereas the private party price is an estimate of what you would get if you were to sell the car to a private individual as opposed to a dealer. Also know that the retail value for cars sold on car dealerships are usually pretty close to the price you should be able to get if you were selling to a private party.

Using the two guides mentioned above, you'll be able to get an estimate of your car's value, which you can fine tune to your liking.

There are a few other pieces of advice we'd like to dole out. One of the biggest mistakes people make when researching the trade in value for their car is to trade it in at a car dealership that doesn't sell the same vehicle make. Always, always always take your car to several dealerships that sell the same make car - for example, if you're trading in a used Accord, go to a Honda dealership.

And plan ahead. Call your local car dealerships and ask to speak to the person on the lot who buys used cars. Give him or her your car's details and as if they would be interested in seeing your car. If the answer is "no", at least you know and have saved yourself wasting a trip for nothing. Your optimum goal is to find at least three interested dealerships so you'll have three different estimates of your car's trade in value, giving you options from which to choose the best one.

To recap, use Kelley Blue Book and the NADA pricing guides to get a rough estimate of your car's trade in value, then visit local dealerships (at least three of them) to get their estimates, which should ideally get close to matching the previous estimates you received in the pricing guides.

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