5 Common Mistakes When Trading in a Car (and How to Avoid Them)

One of the reasons people don’t like car buying is the unknown. They know one mistake can cost thousands but they don’t know which one.

How much better would you feel knowing that you can avoid costly mistakes and get the best price for your trade-in?

When you are equipped with the right information, mistakes fade away.

Everyone wants the best price for their trade-in and frankly, that could mean selling it yourself.

 


However, there’s a lot of time and effort that goes into that process so over half of today’s car buyers choose to trade-in their car rather than deal with it. They exchange price for convenience.

But that exchange doesn’t mean you have to settle.

At Exit5 Auto Group in Latham we’ve assembled the 5 common trade-in mistakes that people make (and how to avoid them).

Common mistake #1:

Not having any idea of your car’s trade-in value.

Research your car’s value online before you take any further steps to trade it in. It’s the only way to determine if you’re getting a fair price...and you’ll be much more confident in making the deal going forward.

Common mistake #2:

Trying to make your car “showroom ready.”

Don’t put too much money into cleaning and repair efforts. People sometimes try to fix dents on their cars or throw on a new set of tires, thinking it will substantially add to the value of their trade-in. This seldom works. The dealer can usually fix flaws and put on new tires for substantially less than you can.

That's not to say that you shouldn't make an effort. It will still help to make a good first impression by getting your car washed and cleaning out the interior. It just means that you don't need to pay up for a major detail job or an expensive mechanical fix.

Common mistake #3:

Overestimating your car’s worth

Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars. They’ve been with us through thick and thin - in some cases, through milestones in our lives.

It’s natural to attach sentimental value to your car but it doesn’t carry over into real value. Trading in a car is a business transaction, nothing more.

Also, avoid overstating your car’s condition when appraising its value. The fact is, appraisals are estimates. Many people look for the car's highest value on an appraisal site and treat it as though it were set in stone.

Keep your expectations in check and you’ll be in a much better place to negotiate.

Common mistake #4:

Not mentioning your plans to trade-in up front.

Some car shoppers believe the myth that you’ll get a better price for your trade-in if you wait until the end of the deal process to mention it. The fact is, it only takes up more of your precious time.

It's best to be up front about the trade-in from the very beginning. Don’t wait until the last minute to mention it.

Common mistake #5:

Not getting more than one offer for your trade-in.

Make sure you’re getting a competitive offer on your trade-in by getting multiple offers.

Getting multiple appraisals is smart because the prices you're offered can vary from dealership to dealership. It depends on each dealer’s current inventory, how confident they are in selling the trade-in, and other factors.

It’s best to get at least three offers for your trade-in. If two offers you receive are similar, it generally makes the most sense to accept the one from the dealer where you intend to buy your next car.

Got more questions about your trade-in or need an expert estimate? Contact us, Exit5 Auto Group in Latham, at 518-541-5000.

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