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  #1  
Old 03-17-2017, 11:43 AM
jruhlen1980 jruhlen1980 is offline
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OT: blue book value vs. reality for car

tl;dr version: how accurate are book values for used cars?

Full version:

Just for kicks I was looking at some used cars online and playing around with car payment calculators; I plugged in details on my wife's car to come up with a reasonable figure for what we could sell it for.

The Kelley Blue Book suggested individual re-sale value was about $3000, which seems reasonable. But when I compared it to actual prices available for that same model online, either from individuals or dealers, the asking price was consistently higher -- and frequently those cars had much higher mileage.

Some were in the ballpark, but they were still several hundred dollars higher, which I guess allowing room for haggling, makes sense. But some were several thousand dollars more expensive.

Granted, I understand that "what people are asking" is different than "what people actually pay" but it just has me curious -- how accurate are the suggested book values on vehicles?

My own personal experience, whether we're talking about cars or literally any other item that a person buys with money, is that I always pay too much and sell for too little. I don't think I have ever, one single time, been able to sell something for what I reasonably believe it is worth.

Anyone with more experience care to chime in?
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Old 03-17-2017, 11:49 AM
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shovelhd shovelhd is offline
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Define "accurate" in an open market.

The price is what someone is willing to pay. I've found that the floor tends to be driven by the auctions. These prices vary one week to the next, but references like the Black Book track them over time so you get an average.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:00 PM
Benneke Benneke is offline
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The value of a car depends on where you are located. Generally, cars are worth substantially more on the west coast than they are in the northeast/midwest, and the difference can be very substantial. Its very common for used cars, particularly Japanese cars, to sell for well over their blue book value in the west.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:03 PM
malcolm malcolm is offline
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Like everything else depends on the specific model. Old land cruisers often fetch more than blue book way more. If it's a popular model it's valuable.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:13 PM
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veloduffer veloduffer is offline
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Besides model and geographic factors (e.g. Subarus in New England), the condition and maintenance of the car are important. If you have all the records of repairs and maintenance, a buyer may pay more for peace of mind.
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Old 03-17-2017, 12:37 PM
jlyon jlyon is offline
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There is a reason for that!

I have noticed that cars priced appropriately sell fairly quickly and are removed from sights and those overpriced languish online for months.

I think everyone who advertises recognizes they will sell for something less.

I have found the online ones KBB accurate but when it comes to older cars can be off on the low side especially if you have all the maintenance receipts.

Post made model year and miles and I bet a few of us will let you know what we think it is worth.

This forum has a lot of bright people.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:32 PM
ftf ftf is offline
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Buying and selling cars isn't rocket science, and getting a good deal can be time consuming, both buying and selling. Not always though.


I don't think I've ever paid too much, and have sold, particularly motorcycles for the same I paid for them years later.

The reality is though how much time do you want to spend haggling and dealing? Sounds like not much.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:49 PM
Ken Robb Ken Robb is offline
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Car-Max will give you a written offer that is good for a week. That will establish a bottom price and give you 6 days to try and do better.
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:36 PM
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JAllen JAllen is offline
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About 10 years ago, I sold a '93 VW Jetta III for $2500. It was valued at around $1750 on KBB. I bought it a year or two prior for $600. Haven't had luck like that since.

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Old 03-17-2017, 07:00 PM
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grawk grawk is offline
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In august I bought an Audi A3 for $13999, and sold it today for $20,966...thanks EPA.
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2017, 08:31 PM
pbarry pbarry is offline
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Check your local CL for comparable vehicles, especially by-owner listings. This gives a decent indication of what similar cars go for in your area. Edmunds is another site that has a car appraisal tool. It seems more accurate to me than KBB.
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2017, 09:08 PM
rounder rounder is offline
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I bought a car for my wife about a month ago. It was used and had 2,0000 miles on it. She did not need a new car but it seemed like a good deal.

I looked up the Blue Book value of our trade-in car based on miles and condition and it said $5,000.

The car store offered to go down in price by $1,000 and give us and extra $1,000 over the blue book value. I think that was partly related to the fact that we had done business with them before.

The lesson for me was that Blue Book means something, but that it is just an indicator, not the end of the process.
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Old 03-18-2017, 06:07 AM
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superbowlpats superbowlpats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarry View Post
Check your local CL for comparable vehicles, especially by-owner listings. This gives a decent indication of what similar cars go for in your area. Edmunds is another site that has a car appraisal tool. It seems more accurate to me than KBB.
Edmunds True Market Value seems to be the most accurate online car appraisal tool. Dealer prices will almost always be higher than private sales, especially the smaller used car lots that dont have the volume sales like bigger dealers.
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Old 03-18-2017, 10:08 AM
jlyon jlyon is offline
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And the true value is almost always higher than trade in value since then the dealer resells it for a profit.

Private party value is much closer to true value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rounder View Post
I bought a car for my wife about a month ago. It was used and had 2,0000 miles on it. She did not need a new car but it seemed like a good deal.

I looked up the Blue Book value of our trade-in car based on miles and condition and it said $5,000.

The car store offered to go down in price by $1,000 and give us and extra $1,000 over the blue book value. I think that was partly related to the fact that we had done business with them before.

The lesson for me was that Blue Book means something, but that it is just an indicator, not the end of the process.
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2017, 10:26 AM
Ralph Ralph is offline
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I don't figure a dealership is ever going to give you more for your used car than what he can buy a used car, just like it, at an auction. You may think he is....but he isn't.....he's just taking the extra offer from his "markup" or profit.

Retail on used car just means auction price plus markup....most times a huge markup.....enough so he can make you think he is giving you a good deal on a trade in.

Private party is probably a better indicator of what you can get one for from an individual....or sell one yourself. I don't figure you ever beat a used car dealership in a transaction.

Last edited by Ralph; 03-18-2017 at 12:01 PM.
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