Trade in or sell your used car?
Car trends come and go and your flashy wheels you got 5 years ago might no longer be a head turner as it used to be. When that time comes that you finally transition to a new model, you might find it hard to decide whether you will sell it on your own or trade it in for a new one. Although selling a used car is a financially appealing option, hassles can actually be minimized if you go for a trade in.
Determine the Value of Your Car
To first step to help you decide if you should trade in or sell your car is to have a clear understanding of its market value. Here, you will need to get a solid estimate as to how much you can get when you sell your vehicle to a private party and what you will get from a trade in. Here, it is best to have a revs check or car history report as it will also serve as a guide for the potential buyer to know more about your vehicle’s condition.
Perks of Trading in Your Car
There are good and bad sides to selling or trading in your car. Trade in is generally considered as a more convenient method as there is no need for you to advertise your vehicle and spend long weekends as you wait for that phone to ring. There is also no need for you to pit your sales skills and knowledge against potential car buyers and you wouldn’t have to worry about the necessary paperwork associated with selling a car privately.
However, the biggest disadvantage of a trade in is that you might likely get a lower price for your car when you trade it in compared to selling it privately. To some extent, everything boils down to return versus convenience.
But, when you trade in your car, you will be able to have some extra negotiating power with your dealer. At this point, the price of the brand new car is not what matters but instead, the changeover price or difference you need to pay between the costs of the new car and what the dealer is willing to give or your used car.
Of course, there are means and ways to maximize the amount that the dealer is going to pay for the trade in but first, you have to start with having realistic expectations.
For you to have a good sense of the actual worth of your old car, the perfect place to start is to check the classified ads online to know the asking price of other sellers for the same model and make with similar condition, age and kilometers as yours. It is also important to know if these sellers are private or dealers since it is more likely for dealer prices to be slightly higher.
But then again, you know that there will be no guarantee that you are going to get the amount that other sellers value for their car but with some research, you can have a good idea of what you should expect.
Preparing Your Car for a Trade In
Now that you finally have some idea about the worth of your car, the next step is to prepare for you to get the best possible price.
Even if you will just trade in your used car, you will still essentially sell it to your chosen dealer so you have to prepare it in the same way as you would if you will sell it privately.
This only means that you have to make it as attractive and presentable as possible. You can start by ensuring that it is tidy, clean and doesn’t have any rubbish or items such as CD cases, street directories or umbrellas lying around. A clean car gives off the impression that it is car that is properly looked after which commands a higher price.
Preparing your car doesn’t mean doing a quick run through at the local car wash before you go to the dealer, either. You should give your vehicle a thorough and complete clean inside out. You have to ensure that every interior surface is stain free and wiped properly while the exterior, with the wheels included, is gleaming and sparkly. If your car is still a new model, it would also be worthwhile if you shell out some cash to get it professionally detailed.
Of course, your car must also be roadworthy. This means that you have to ensure that parts such as the glass, tyres and electrics are all in perfect and acceptable condition. It will also be worth it to complete the repairs, no matter how minor they ar. You are probably okay with that small dent but the dealer might not think and feel the same way as you do. While you will have to weigh the repair cost, if it is a simple loose window winder or a dodgy windscreen wiper, there is a chance that fixing it will cost you less compared to the amount that the dealer will take off your car’s value.
Aside from the physical appearance of your vehicle and checking that every part works as they should, some other factors that dealers consider when they value your trade in is how well the car is maintained. An important part of it all boils down to the paperwork so it will help if you have a good logbook or record that offers evidence of regular servicing, maintenance and repairs done on the vehicle.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, a successful trade depends on how you present your car in an attractive way that will urge the dealer to make the purchase. A better looking car also means that you will have a better position in negotiating the price. A car history report or revs check can go a long way to ensure that you will be getting the best value for your used car.