How To Get the Most Money for Your Trade-In


Want to get the most money for your trade? Here’s a tip:

Don’t take the first offer.

Trading in a car at the dealer, as opposed to selling on your own, has benefits and drawbacks. On the negative side, you usually get less money when trading. On the positive side, trading can mean less sales tax on the new car because, in some states, you only pay sales tax on the difference between the new car and the trade-in.

Even though you’re receiving less for the trade, the savings on tax can help make up the difference.

How can you make sure you get the most money for your trade? Read on!

Sometimes car buyers assume that the first number a dealership proposes to pay for a trade is the final price.

Trade-in values, like purchase prices on new cars, are negotiable. Do your research before visiting a dealer and know the basic price range for your trade-in. You obviously want to receive as much as possible, but keep in mind the dealer’s perspective too. It’ll need to recondition the car for resale, perform any required repairs, and incur advertising costs. Negotiate as much as you can, but don’t expect a miracle.

A dealer also has to take into account the market for your specific make and model. If it’s had the same car on the lot for two months, you’re probably not going to get the price you want. Another dealer, though, may have recently sold a similar vehicle and might be willing to pay a little more to get a replacement.

You aren’t completely at the dealer’s mercy, though. There are things you can do to your car to make it more desirable as a trade-in.

Give the car a thorough detail to make it look showroom ready. Wash and wax the exterior and vacuum the interior. Repair any minor problems, clean dirt out of cup holders, and remove grime from other plastic parts. The less a dealer has to fix, the more the car will be worth.

Online guides, such as the CarGurus Instant Market Value feature, are a great place to start for estimating trade-in values, but remember that each car is different, varying in condition, mileage, color, and equipment level. There is also some regional variability as to what’s popular and what’s not.

To get the best price for your trade, know what to expect, negotiate the highest price possible, and present the dealer with a desirable vehicle. You’ll likely leave the dealership confident in the deal you negotiated.

Good luck out there!

Will you trade in a car soon?


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  1. I am selling a 2009 ford ranger this truck is in ex condition only 105,000 klm,s v6 5 speed what can I expect to get for this truck? it is a 3 door sport model…..Alex

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