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What is Your Trade Really Worth?
by Charlotte Spraggins

(maybe. . .not as much as you think.)

I have many clients that come to me and say, “I looked up my car on Kelly Blue Book, and it’s valued at $XXX!apostrophe Let’s face it, we can be attached and love our cars and think they are worth more than they actually are. Guides like the Kelly Blue Book often serve to confuse us further.

Who is this “Kellyapostrophe guy? Where did his “Blue Bookapostrophe come from? Maybe this will shed some light……..

Kelly Blue Book Co., Inc. began as the Kelley Kar Company, as Los Angeles based car dealer, in 1918, founded by Les Kelley. The dealership started with three used Model T Fords and one employee, his 13 year old brother, Buster.

In order to increase his inventory, he began circulating lists of cars he wanted to buy along with the price he was willing to pay for them. These price lists quickly became a trusted “standardapostrophe among the area banks & car dealers. In 1926, Les published his first “Kelley Blue Bookapostrophe for used car values. Over time, the book expanded nationwide and was used by insurance companies and lending institutions.

Did you know that the estimates in Kelley Blue Book are based on vehicle values in California? (that run higher than most other areas in the country). The insurance companies caught onto this and now most keep “booksapostrophe with estimated values that are more favorable for them. Some banks still determine auto loans based on Kelly Blue Book value, but many have movedto the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) guides, which are based on both dealer and auction sales data. Dealers have their own book, called the "Black Book", that estimates the wholesale value of vehicles based on weekly auction data. Edmunds.com has an online vehicle appraisal tool, but I have found their estimates to be high on most cars and low on others.

What does determine a vehicle’s value? The same thing that determines the value of homes, stocks – the market, which varies almost daily; especially in these economic times and your geographic location. The time of year and how many are buying cars on that day, also has an affect. Convertibles sell better in some parts of the country as SUV’swhile 4WD’s sell better others. So, if the market is changing everyday, how do I know what my car is worth? You can call me or any other dealer. Ask what the black book value is, based on make, model, year mileage, options, and overall condition. You can also look on http://www.autotrader.com/ and http://www.cars.com/ to see what the retail prices are at your local dealers on a close match to yours. A dealer will usually sell a car for a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars less than the listed price. You will find that a dealer will typically offer you anywhere from $2000 + less than retail for your trade in order to make his profit. The key factors that affect your car’s market value are the year, mileageand reliability (of your make & model), condition and if it is market driven. The Honda and Toyota for instance, hold their values better over time. “Highlinesapostrophe like the BMW’s, Lexus, Mercedes, for example, hold values due to desirability.

The vehicle’s condition is determined by how well it is maintained mechanically, body, paint, upholstery. If,the owner was a smokeror has a history of accidents. Scratches, dents, windshield damage can devalue the car hundreds of dollars, also. It is always in your favor to show up at the dealer having a fresh, vacuumed, no clutter, non smoke odor car for appraisal. They will always add back in to their expense for correcting these items; therefore less money for your pocketbook. A shiny clean car will make the best first impression. It should pay off.

About the author:

Charlotte Spraggins is a car shopper/consultant/negotiator with Women’s Automotive Consultant. She helps you purchase a car and will also shop around your existing trade in order to get you the best possible price….at no extra cost!charlotte@womensautomotivesolutions.comwww.womensautomotivesolutions.com (720) 519-0123 Office/Denver (704) 421-4221 Mobile.