The trade in value of your car.

Posted: July 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

With Tony Stewart at Infineon in 2007 when he won the championship.

This is one of the hardest parts of negotiating a car deal at a dealership. The reasons are simple. First, because most people are emotionally attached to their cars, and second, because they expect to get a much higher amount for their trade. The first point I can’t do much to help you with. When you make the decision to turn in “Betsy” you have to remember that she is just a piece of metal, and has been rusting since the day you bought her. We are to store up treasure in heaven where moths and rust cannot reach. On earth we are visitors, and everything here is temporary! So we shouldn’t get “attached” to physical things. That preaching being done, we as Americans enjoy our cars. Betsy was a great car for her life with you, but today she’s a hunk of metal and she can save you money.

The second point is harder to examine. The value of a trade in is always a point of contention at the dealership. The best way to find out how much your trade is worth is to do some more research. The first idea is to check with Kelly Blue Book at:   http://www.kbb.com/whats-my-car-worth/    and check for the wholesale and retail value of your vehicle. Please remember that if you try to sell your car yourself, your “customer” doesn’t pay taxes on the deal at all, so that is an added incentive to make private buyers pay more for your car. On the other hand your buyer will also know where you live and who you are. This may be a point of contention if something unforseen happens to the vehicle. Please be vigilant and careful if you decide to sell your car personally. It can be fun! Plus, if you like to dicker you may enjoy the process and you will usually get more money for your car if you sell it yourself than you will get at a dealership. There are several reasons for this:

  1. When you buy a car from a top flight store, they usually offer at least a 50/50 ninty day warranty on cars they sell. If they do not they usually offer extended warranties. While we will not go into the pro’s and con’s of that today, they must have the vehicle go through their shop and pass a safety inspection and smog test before it can be resold. This costs the dealership money.
  2. Dealerships are in the business to make money. They buy low and sell high. Most dealerships you will do business with will make “passes” at your trade when you visit the store. They usually start the appraisal process an average of two thousand dollars under wholesale bluebook value and work their way up.
  3. Dealerships employ a lot of people in the shop, the offices that support the dealership, the sales department, and through these people the entire community. Dealerships are labor intensive places. Dealerships also pay huge amounts in taxes to local communities, support local sports, charitable ventures, and do lots of advertising.

There are several ways to get an idea of how much you will get for your trade, but there is only one sure fire way. It’s time to get your feet wet at a dealership! If you follow my suggestion at this stage, you will have a much better experience when you go to finally buy your car.

1. Pick three cars online that you believe you will be interested in. Make these three cars by different manufacturers.

2. Call each dealer and ask for a sales manager. If you know a friend in the business, they may have someone in mind at a dealer you want to visit that will help you. If you don’t know anyone in the business, write me and I’ll find someone for you regardless of what car you want or where you live.

3. Make an appointment to go see the sales manager. Tell him you are not interested in driving cars yet, and that you are getting appraisal values from three dealerships to help you decide which car you want to buy and how much you can afford. Any sales manager worth his salt is going to “turn” you to one of his best representatives. This also gives you a chance to start a rapport with the man who will do the actual math on your car deal. This is always a good idea!

4. If you are pressured to do ANYTHING, or if you have trouble getting an appraisal, you are talking to the wrong dealership. A top flight store will be happy to do your deal your way. If they make y0u feel anything less than totally comfortable, GET OUT!!!! On the other hand, if you feel comfortable and see the model you want and have the time, go for a test drive. Just remember, WE ARE NOT BUYING YET!!!!! After you have the appraisal in hand, you should be able to leave the store without a problem. Take note of the people you talked to and the car you drove if applicable, as this will help you make the final decision on which car you will eventually purchase.

That should be enough for today. Go forth and appraise my friends! God bless. truthbymike@facebook.com hemimike@yahoo.com, @4hemimike, on twitter.

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