How to Get the Most for Your Trade-In when Buying a New/Used Car

How to Get the Most for Your Trade-In

If you are in the market for a new car, you are probably wondering what to do with your old one. You have many options when trading in your old set of wheels, and choosing the right one could mean thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

Negotiate the Price of the New Car First

It can be tempting to negotiate the price of your new car and the trade-in value of your old one as a single transaction, but you might want to reconsider that plan.
Some car dealers deliberately inflate the price of the new vehicle so they can make a more generous offer on your trade-in.

No matter what kind of vehicle you are buying, it is best to negotiate the sale price first, with no mention of a trade-in. You can talk about the value of your trade once you have the price of the new car or truck nailed down.

Research the Value of Your Vehicle

Whether you are trading in your old vehicle or planning to sell it privately, you will need to know how much it is worth. There are plenty of online resources for determining the value of your old wheels, and that is a good place to start.

You can also use offline resources like magazines and car price guides to estimate how much your current vehicle is worth. You will probably see a range of prices, so it is best to use the average price as the starting point in your negotiations.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of a Private Sale

When you research the resale value of your vehicle, you will probably notice that the private sale price is higher than the resale value. That is because dealers need to build in their profit and leave room for a markup.

Selling your old car on your own will probably yield a higher price, but it can also be more of a hassle. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of a private sale and make a decision. Some people are not comfortable allowing strangers to drive their car or inviting them into their homes, while others do not mind. You will also need to consider payment options; it can be risky to take a check, but the buyer may not have ready access to thousands of dollars in cash.

Consider Having Your Vehicle Professionally Detailed

Whether you plan to trade in your car or sell it privately, a good looking vehicle will gamer more buyer interest. If your old vehicle runs great but looks bad, having it professionally detailed could raise its resale value substantially.

You will need to weigh the potential benefit of detailing against the cost, but having the vehicle professionally cleaned could be a smart move. A good detailing job could be less than $100, and the increased value could make it worth your while.

Buying a new car can be an intimidating, and stressful experience, but trading in your old car does not have to be. If you do your homework and weigh your options, you could get more for your old set of wheels than you ever imagined.

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