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4 Simple Steps to Calculate Your Car’s Fair Market Value

It’s heartbreaking, but you decided it’s time to let go…. of your car.

Maybe you’re planning to trade your used car for a newer model, or you find the unit to be obsolete, or just need the cash from its sale. Whatever the reason, you have to answer one fundamental question- how much is your car worth?

Appraising your car is very crucial not only when you want to sell or trade it. Knowing its value can help you decide with regards to your financial and even personal life.

Thanks to technological advancements in the auto industry and the Internet, you can now have a better idea of how much your car could be worth. However, because many sources tell different prices of the same car model, it can be quite confusing especially if it’s your first time appraising your vehicle.

In this article, we’ll show you four simple steps you can use to calculate your car’s value.

  1. Research the Price Online

Nowadays, there are tons of car classified websites where you can get an idea of the price of any vehicle with regards to its model; year built, trim levels, added features, etc. Other factors that affect the value of a car are its mileage, general condition, the area where it is being sold and its aftermarket parts.

Some of the websites where you can check for the prices of used cars are:

  • Kelly Blue Book
  • Auto Trader
  • Black Book
  • National Automobile Dealers Association

You typically just have to enter some of the basic info about the car, and you’ll be able to search similar vehicles to the one you’re selling.

Another excellent appraisal tool you can use is Edmund’s True Market Value (TVM), which tells you how much other car buyers in your location paid for the same car. Knowing the car’s market value can help you negotiate a new car’s price while also recognizing the trade-in value of your current vehicle.

  1. Evaluate your Car’s Mileage and Condition

The general rule is that the higher the car’s mileage, the lower its price gets. Check your car’s mileage especially if it’s nearing or has passed the manufacturer’s warranty. Older car models with more than 100,000 miles registered on their odometer tend to have their prices dramatically slash. The same thing applies to cars that are nearing its 15-year retiring age.

Next, check your car’s overall condition- its engine, road performance, electronic circuitry, the state of the interior and exterior, etc. Also, review your car’s repair and maintenance history as these too can contribute to the car’s value.

  1. Assess your Car’s Options

More often than not, you will get only a rough estimate of your car’s value when you concluded your online research. Sometimes, it fluctuates by a couple of thousand dollars or even more, especially for more expensive models.

The reason for these substantial price discrepancies is the car’s added features or options. Many car models are sold under different trim levels- meaning the amenities that the manufacturers have added. These add-ons can be anywhere from safety features to conveniences such as leather seats to pure aesthetics such as a rare color scheme or chrome decals.

As such, review your car and match exactly its trim level. Additional aftermarket options also significantly increase the value of your vehicle.

  1. Check if your Car has Great Resale Value

All cars are subject to depreciation, meaning its prices will continue to go down after it has rolled out of the showroom. However, some car models depreciate slower than others. Because of their overall reliability, and sometimes rarity, there are particular car models with insane resale value.

A car’s reliability is crucial when selling or trading the unit. Check also if your vehicle’s model-line has been discontinued by its manufacturer. If this is the case, then its price will inevitably drop because there is a shortage of its spare parts in the market. However, you can also look if the model’s platform has been used by another manufacturer who may have similar spare parts.

Once you have factored this all in, you can now put a price on your used vehicle. However, it’s no assurance that the buyer would still agree to the amount you set. Often the success of you selling your car at the price you are comfortable with rests on your negotiation skills.

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