How to Get the Most for Your Trade In

February 22nd, 2022 by

As you probably know, selling your car privately will net you a bigger profit than trading it in. However, private car sales can be a hassle and going the trade-in route is a much more convenient option. When you’re trading your car, do you have to trade convenience for revenue? Essentially, yes, but there are definitely steps you can take to make sure you ensure the best possible outcome for your trade.

The good news is that used cars are currently in high demand. During the height of the pandemic, used car values were at a low point. However, largely due to the ongoing microchip shortage, used car dealerships are doing a booming business. This has to do with the fact that inventory at the average new car dealership is low, which has resulted in a jump in the value of used cars. How long will this surge in value last? According to experts, it’s likely to go on for quite a while. What’s more, as people are heading back to work and other activities for which they haven’t needed cars for the past couple of years, they’re more interested in buying cars.

  • Keep your transactions separate. Even if you intend to buy a new car, don’t head to the car dealership to trade your used car when you’re buying your new car. You’ll be in a bettertrade car in position to negotiate if you’re not on the hook with that dealership for a particular new vehicle. Especially if you have a high-demand vehicle in good shape, the dealership is likely to make you a good offer. In fact, it’s better to not even mention that you’re planning to buy a new car until you’ve agreed on a price for the old one.
  • Know the value of your car. How do you know if your car is a high-demand vehicle? An online search can help you determine the most coveted makes and models in your particular area. Once you have that information, check out the Kelly Blue Book (KBB) or Edmunds True Market value of your car. Be brutally honest about the condition of your vehicle, so that you can get an accurate assessment and not have inflated or unrealistic expectations. If you want to go one step further, you can get an appraisal in writing from a company like CarMax or Driveo.
  • Spruce up your car before you bring it in to trade. While the way your car looks doesn’t actually have an impact on how it handles, it can make a big impression on a used car dealer. If you consider the fact that dealers are subconsciously thinking about how the car will look on the lot, you’ll understand the importance of making yours look as good as it possibly can before you bring it in to talk about trading it. Wash the car and thoroughly clean the interior, taking care to get rid of any residual odors. Side note: If you’re a smoker, never smoke in your car. Smoking in a car can reduce the resale value of the vehicle by as much as seven percent! Look critically at your car so that you can touch up the paint if necessary before you trade it, and check that your tires are in good condition. You should also take care to repair any cracks or chips in the windshield. You don’t need to give the dealership a reason to reduce the offer on your trade.
  • Bring in all the service records you possibly can. Before you trade it in, it’s wise to take your car to the shop for a once-over. That way, you can get ahead of any mechanical issues that might diminish its value and weaken your position in the trade negotiation. Make sure there are no recalls on any parts; if there are, handle them ahead of going to the dealership. If you don’t have all the service records from the maintenance and repairs you’ve performed on the car over the years you’ve had it, ask the mechanic to print out receipts so that you can present these as proof that the vehicle has been well maintained.
  • Understand the perspective of the used car dealer. Your goal, of course, is to get the dealership to offer you a good price for your used car. The dealership’s goal, however, is to determine how quickly they can re-sell your vehicle and make a good profit on it. They’re going to be picky, examining every aspect of the car, looking for blemishes and defects that would diminish the return they’ll get when they put it on the lot. If it’s going to take too much time and work to bring the car up to retail standards, they’re going to have to put it up for auction and they may lose money. Because the average dealership wants to make between 7 and 15 percent in profit on a resale, you can consider this when you’re determining whether to accept an offer. Think about the current value of your car and what the dealership wants to make on it, then contemplate how much they’ll have to spend to bring it to retail value, to determine whether you’re getting a fair offer.
  • Stand firm. Be prepared to go to at least three different dealerships if you aren’t getting an offer that sounds reasonable. It’s possible that another dealer will give you a higher price simply because they don’t have your particular car on the lot already. As long as you have a realistic expectation of the trade-in value, it pays to stick to your guns and get the price your car is actually worth.

At Dixie Buick GMC, we’ve been serving the community of Fort Myers, Florida since 1934. With an extensive online inventory and welcoming showroom, we work with customers to help them find the right new or used vehicle to meet their needs and fit their budgets. Buying a car can be an overwhelming process because there are so many options out there, but we’re here for you, from the trade in process, through working with your credit, to providing excellent service, performed by certified factory-trained technicians, after you’ve purchased your vehicle. To learn more about what our award-winning sales and service team can do for you, visit our showroom, browse vehicles on our website, give us a call at 239-330-9918, or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized