It's a Guess at Best
When it comes to cars, some of us change vehicles more than we change the oil in those vehicles. The rest of us, however, probably buy and sell cars less often, but when we do, we often refer to online vehicle evaluations to get a ballpark of what our car is worth. And that's fine for just that – a ballpark estimate. Popular sites like the Kelly Blue Book and the NADA Guide analyze a variety of factors, like transactional data, market trends, lender data, auction data, and more. Yet, what they can't analyze is vehicle condition and for that, it's always best to have a professional evaluate your car.
I'm not sure about you, but if I know a car is well taken care of I'm willing to pay more, and so should you. That's because cars that are well taken care of, in theory, will likely last longer. Not to mention, they'll look better and could even drive better, given they're in alignment.
Dealers know that, which is why an appraisal might surprise you. You could be offered more for your car than the site will tell you, and thus, that 4Runner you've had your eye on may actually be within reach.
The opposite is true, too. In Colorado, we're forever plagued by rock chips, cracked windshields, bumps and bruises, and long commutes, meaning your car could be worth a little bit less than what you thought it might be. We also tend to drive a little bit more than the average person. In 2014, the average Coloradan drove approximately 13,443 miles per year, meanwhile, the average mileage per year on a used car is 12,000.
So in the end, it all comes down to getting it appraised in person by an expert that knows the market.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been way off? Let us know in the comments below!