If you are in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle and plan on trading in your current vehicle, it pays to get the most. The more you get for your trade-in, the lower the total cost of the vehicle purchase will be.
Some new or used car buyers simply take whatever the first offer is for the trade-in and move on. This is a mistake and it is worth at least trying to increase the amount the dealer gives you for your trade-in.
Ways to increase the amount provided for a trade in.
Clean the Vehicle
The first thing you should do before any vehicle appraisal is clean the vehicle or have it cleaned. This might seem obvious but many people don’t and assume it doesn’t matter. A clean car is important.
Know the Vehicle Value
At a minimum you should be getting the trade-in value of the vehicle. Sometimes dealers will offer well below the real value of the vehicle of a trade in to increase their profits.
Know what your vehicle is worth so you can have a good idea of what you want to get for trading it in. If you don’t know what your car is worth, then you don’t know when you’re getting a bad deal.
Negotiate the Purchase Price First
When you sit down with the salesman to talk details about the vehicle you are purchasing, negotiate the price of the vehicle you are purchasing first, let them know you have a trade-in but want to see if you can make a deal on the vehicle you are purchasing before spending any time talking about your trade in.
You want to negotiate the price of the vehicle you are purchasing separate from the price of your trade in. Dealers prefer to bundle the two transactions so they can raise or lower the price of one or the other without affecting the overall price. Get them to commit to a price on the vehicle you are going to purchase and once that is final then negotiate your trade in vehicle price.
Compare the Offer to the Vehicle Value
Let the salesman make you an offer on your trade in and compare it to what you think the vehicle is worth based on your research. If they made you a good offer you can always counter and try to get a slightly higher offer.
If they offer you significantly less, ask them to call their wholesalers and find out if they can get you a better price. You can also ask to speak to the appraiser and ask how they came up with the value of the vehicle.
If there is a valid reason like salvage history or frame damage, then at least you know (if you didn’t already). If there is no valid reason, let them know what you think your car is worth based on your research and ask them to appraise the vehicle again.
Sometimes dealers start with low offers without appraising the vehicle hoping you will just take whatever they offer.
Be Prepared to Walk Away
Finally, the biggest lesson to learn when purchasing a vehicle, is be prepared to walk away if the deal is not in your favor. Getting the right price for your trade can have a big impact on your total purchase price; make sure you are comfortable with all of the terms of the deal.