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Trading in Your Vehicle: What to Know

For car owners, there inevitably comes a time when it’s time to upgrade. While catchy car commercials on television may be enticing, displaying the latest and greatest models and trade-in deals, consumers should be aware of the best possible methods to optimize the resale value of their vehicle.

Timing is everything

The best time of year to buy or trade in a vehicle is toward the end of the year. October, November, and December are the best months to buy a vehicle because there are multiple incentives to make way for next year’s new models! Also, most dealers have to make their quota for annual sales goals. Shopping toward the end of these months is also something to consider because it is another quota dealers have to make!

What impacts resale value?

Generally, there are four main factors that affect the resale value of your used vehicle. The popularity, market conditions, appraiser, and overall brand popularity. Your vehicle may look like it is in decent shape, but the appraiser will most sometimes think otherwise. Scratches, dents, mileage, mechanical problems, accident and repair history all affect the vehicle’s condition. More deficiencies mean more of a decrease in value.

Repairing your vehicle before you trade it in can help overturn the small flaws and help achieve the best trade-in price! There are plenty of service professionals that can fix the dents, cracks, paint, interior, and exterior. The more appealing the vehicle looks, the more it could pay off with a higher trade-in valuation from the appraiser.

Other things to consider

The individual who appraises your vehicle has most likely been in the car business for several years. He or she may try to nitpick every detail, sound, and scratch. Be aware of every detail before the appraiser examines your car. Do not be afraid to shop around at multiple dealers until you are confident with the final value!

Brand popularity

The most popular used vehicles will thrive during trade-in time. For example, if a brand-new Toyota Rav4 is selling well, the used Rav4 that you are looking to trade in will be quite attractive as well (especially if it’s similar to the current or latest edition).

Colors will also affect the value of your trade-in. Neutral tones such as black, silver, and white will usually have the best resale value. The local market conditions can be a factor as well.

Consumers should also use common sense and manage expectations. If you are trying to sell a convertible in a cold climate, it is going to be more difficult to get the value you are looking for. This is one of the main factors to take into consideration when you are trying to find the right dealer to do business with. It is also important to view the dealer’s inventory. If they have four of the same models with similar mileage, color, and condition, your vehicle may not be as attractive.

The more you know

Dealers are very aware that consumers are more focused on the new vehicle than haggling the sale of the current vehicle. Dealers often take advantage of consumers’ avidity by bundling the trade-in price within the price of a new car. This means dealers will offer above the normal trade-in value while hiding the fact that they hiked up the price of the new vehicle. Avoid this by negotiating the trade-in price separately from the new car price and down payment.

Now is the perfect time of year to conduct research on purchasing a new vehicle. Read reviews of different vehicles, safety ratings, and gas mileages. Talk with friends, colleagues, and family about their vehicles and how they operate. Doing your research will help maximize the resale value of your vehicle and avoid falling prey to shady dealership tactics.

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