Finding the best deal on a new car can be a trying process, but no step is more critical than finding a vehicle’s true value. Whether you’re trying to sell your old set of wheels or looking for the best possible price on a new ride, you can’t start negotiating until you know the honest market value. So, what is the best way to find it and not get swindled?
While the folks at your local dealership definitely aren’t going to come out and tell you, there are a number of databases for determining fair market value. Consider these resources before you start negotiating; we have quick links to their websites listed at the bottom of this article.
Carfax is an excellent resource to get vehicle-specific history reports. Using the car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number, you can find your car’s entire life story.
Carfax searches 112,000 data sources, like departments of motor vehicles, police departments, and collision repair facilities. That way, it can provide accurate stats on flood damage history, odometer readings, lemon reports, and a list of previous owners. Carfax then factors in all of this information to determine the fair value of the exact vehicle you’re considering.
Kelley Blue Book
Since 1926, the Kelley Blue Book has helped buyers find the true price of their vehicle. In its present iteration, KBB.com goes deeper than just telling you the market price of a car from the year it was released. Rather, it takes into account market conditions, ongoing demand and several other factors to estimate the present-day value of any year’s model.
Still, it is not as personalized as a Carfax report, since it doesn’t search the specific history of the exact car you want to buy. However, Kelley Blue Book is a stellar tool if you’re looking to buy new, as it will give you a baseline for what kind of expenses to expect. If your local dealer is selling a new model for far more than the KBB value, steer clear.
Like KBB, Edmund’s has provided consumers with fair pricing data for decades. Now exclusively online, Edmund’s is noted for its True Market Value tool, an up-to-date estimate of a vehicle’s worth.
According to its website, “Edmunds.com has relationships with automakers, dealers and a number of auto industry companies, and receives from them data on vehicle transactions, specifications, incentives and other topics of interest daily.” Additionally, its team of analysts constantly apply new market data to older cars, delivering a price estimate that is true to the minute.
Compare All Local Listings
Just like when finding a mechanic, a little research will pay off. Whether you’re selling or buying, the best way to ensure that the price is appropriate is by looking at the competition. If one dealer is trying to sell a model for a far higher price than everyone else in your neighborhood, that’s pretty good indicator of fraud.
Additionally, if you’re trying to sell your old vehicle, take a look at others in your region who are selling similar cars. If you list your own car slightly below the price of the competition, you’ll have an easier time closing the deal.
Either way, unless you’re trying to sell an antique or one-of-a-kind vehicle, there is probably someone in your area attempting a similar sale. Comparing prices is a good way to understand what buyers are willing to spend.