Vehicle appraisal 101: How to evaluate your car’s value

Lifestyle | 31 Jul, 2019 |

Whether you are considering selling your vehicle or not, it is a good idea to know just how much your car is worth. You never know when someone will make you an offer for it, or when you will need to get rid of it. Even if you think your car isn’t worth anything to anyone else other than yourself or your family, you may be surprised to learn that your car has value and there is a market out there for your old heap.

Some buyers have an affinity for a certain make and model of vehicle and others just like older cars and trucks. Then there is the family looking for a dependable vehicle to purchase for their rookie driver, that won’t feel like too big of a loss when it is inevitably wrecked or damaged. But if you have a higher-end vehicle and you want to sell it, you routinely get offers or inquiries for it, or you just want to be prepared in the event that a golden opportunity comes along that you just don’t want to have to refuse, it is very helpful to know just how much your car is worth and just how much you can fetch for it. Places like We Buy Exotics can help you figure out the math, and even help you find a buyer if and when you are ready.

When it comes to high-end luxury cars and SUVs, appraising the worth of your car may not always be that simple. In general, there is a smaller market for these vehicles, and people who are looking to purchase your exotic or luxury vehicle are not looking through the classifieds section of their local paper. Chances are, that anyone who is looking to buy a car already has a figure in mind for what they are willing to spend. Armed with this knowledge, as a potential seller, you too need to have a figure in mind for just how much you are willing or not willing to part with your vehicle for. That means you have to know your car’s worth.

Other than selling your vehicle, knowing how much your car is worth also comes in handy when it comes to insurance. If you’ve been misfortunate and experienced a theft, motor vehicle accident or vandalism and you need to make an insurance claim, the value of your car will likely be a point of interest in the decision of how to make you whole. Of course, insurance companies will want to offer you the lowest vehicle appraisal in order to save their bottom line.

Condition

Be honest with yourself when you are attempting to evaluate the value of your car. Does the check engine light come on regularly? Have you been keeping up with oil changes, tire rotations, alignments and other routine vehicle maintenance? The condition of the care, inside and out and underneath the hood and chassis are the real marker of the worth of any vehicle. Of course there is something to say for a stunning custom paint job, but looks certainly are not everything. There isn’t a person alive who intends on buying a car to drive, that would be happy purchasing a vehicle that was pristine looking and garbage under the hood.

If you are selling your car, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve had it, it is a used/pre-owned vehicle. If you have been very diligent with its upkeep and gentle with the mileage, you are in a better position to appraise your vehicle at a higher resale value. Just because you didn’t allow eating or drinking in your car doesn’t do very much for its condition when you have tens or hundreds of thousands of miles on it or a timing belt that needs to be replaced. Of course appearance counts for a lot, but not as much as what’s under the hood.

If you need your car appraised for the sake of insurance purposes, the condition of the car matters more than you might think. Your insurance company wants to come to a fair value for your car for the purposes of replacing it or repairing it. Some policies may allow you to hire an independent appraisal from an unaffiliated third-party if you think it will get you a better quoted value.

Trade-In/Resale vs. Private Sale

Should you decide to do a private sale, your appraisal value is going to be somewhat different than what you should expect to get from a dealer who intends on reselling your vehicle at a profit. Not that many cars are worth more than or equal to their purchase price, so keep this in mind when you are negotiating the terms of your sale or trade-in.

The difference between a trade-in value and a private sale is the person to whom you are selling. With trade-ins, you are essentially wholesaling your vehicle to a dealer. The dealer is going to sell your car for a higher value than what you were paid for it. In a private sale, you set the price and the buyer will either accept or reject you price. Most private buyers are not making wholesale car purchases and you can sell your car at a considerably higher rate than you would to a dealer.

One of the more popular and trusted car appraisal entities is Kelley Blue Book. This is a good place to start. Its goal is to share with consumers the ins and outs of everything automotive. It offers users trade-in values as well as private sale values. It allows you to input special features and upgrades that will increase the worth of your car. If you’re looking for a starting point for a classic car, the NADA is a good resource.

Other Factors to Consider

Demand is a big factor in the luxury and exotic car market. When the vehicle is in perfect condition you will be able to demand top dollar for it. Another factor with high end luxury brands is the rarity of the car. If your car is one of only a handful that were made that year, you will also have the ability to appraise your vehicle at a higher value.

If your car is exotic, high-end luxury or an otherwise a specialty vehicle, the mileage on your vehicle may not make as big of a difference as it would in something like a Toyota or Subaru. If you have added any premium upgrades or custom touches, the value is also likely to increase.

If you would like to maintain the value of your vehicle there are a few things you can do to achieve this. Using the best quality products on your paint’s finish, your leather and upholstery, car battery, oil filter and more can do a lot to extend the life and value of your vehicle. Regular servicing and adequate insurance are two must haves that will maintain the value. You should also do your best to keep the mileage low. A lower mileage will usually get you a larger appraisal.

Ways to Increase Value

Increasing your car’s value depends on the type of car you have. Classic cars can see increased value when they have been fully restored, when they have parts that are original or stock parts, when any damage to the body has been repaired and there is a detailed maintenance record.

Exotic and luxury cars can have increased value when they are rare. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz SL65 Black Series AMG. There were only 175 of these made in the United States and they are likely to see a remarkable increase in value in the future. Excellence of quality is another reason for experiencing an increased car value. Pop culture can also make a difference in the value of exotic and luxury cars. Take the Delorean from the movie, Back to the Future, or the Ford Falcon Coupe used in the movie Mad Max.

Another factor that increases value is no modifications. When a car hasn’t been modified, its originality is highly coveted. The Ferrari 458 Speciale is considered to be Ferrari’s last model with a non-turbo V8 engine, and is a prime example of how an unmodified exotic car can draw a lot of attention and be appraised at top dollar.

There are many reasons for evaluating the worth of your car, and whatever your reason for having your vehicle appraised, you want to make sure that you are getting a fair and accurate value. Depending on the year, make and model of your vehicle, you may need a specialist to appraise it. But if you want to appraise it yourself, you will need to take the actual physical and visual condition into account, you will need to run the engine or take it for a test drive and you will need to take into account some of the finer details, such as the market demand, the rarity of the car, the aftermarket additions and more.

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