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How to Get the Most Money for Your Trade

While many people may think they have some tricks up their sleeves to obtain the best deal on their next new vehicle, typically, it’s the car salesman that seems to always come out ahead. However, if you approach your new car shopping with a plan, you might be able to grab yourself a great deal, even when you’re trying to trade in your existing vehicle. Here you’ll learn some tips on how to get the most money for your trade-in.

1. Negotiate the New Vehicle Price First
Before mentioning you have a trade-in, be sure to negotiate the price of the new vehicle first. Otherwise, the dealers tend to lump the trade-in and new vehicle discounts together — in their favor. When negotiating the price of your new vehicle, be sure to keep certain components as separate discussions, such as the:

  • Vehicle’s various options & packages
  • Final price of the vehicle
  • Value of your trade-in
  • Financing options & monthly payments

Dealers want to group everything together – usually starting with your monthly budget. If you tell the dealer your ideal monthly payment, it’s much easier for them to hit that mark while benefiting themselves.

2. Get Your Car Professionally Detailed
You’ll want to have your vehicle professionally detailed before taking it to the dealers to have it appraised. A well-maintained and clean vehicle will likely get a higher trade-in value. When you have your car detailed, it’s similar to staging your home for resale. You’ll want to clean it inside and out, and you’ll also want to see if you have receipts for any maintenance and repairs. These will show the dealer you cared for your vehicle properly.

3. Have Your Car Appraised By a Few Places
Obtain written offers from each appraisal. This can be a great negotiating tool if the dealer tries to low-ball your trade-in. Begin by looking for dealers that tend to have high volumes of used vehicles. Some will even provide you with a seven-day guaranteed offer you could use to show other dealers. Be sure to try and obtain any estimates or bids in writing before moving forward with your trade.

4. Carefully Time Your Trade
The first few weeks after a major holiday are usually great times to trade in your vehicle. Dealerships often run large sales over the holiday weekends and deplete their used car inventory. Your trade may fetch a higher price as the dealer looks to resupply.

Also, certain times of the year prove to be better than others for trading in a vehicle. For instance, during the wintertime, SUVs and trucks seem to be in higher demand. Pay attention to the different trends to ensure your trade-in is what individuals are seeking. 

5. Be Firm with Your Limit
When you research vehicle values, you need to decide on the amount you’re willing to take for your car at the low end. Many car dealers will try to get away with offering you the least amount they possibly can, so you’ll want to have a number in your head that you absolutely won’t go any lower than and stick with it.
If you let them know you will walk away if the price isn’t right, it will put you at an advantage, particularly if the dealer’s sales have been slow and they haven’t hit their quota. If this is the case, they might be more reasonable about paying you what you’re looking for in order to place you in a new vehicle.

We’re Here to Help!
For most car buyers, their trade-in plays a significant role in securing lower monthly payments. Another successful tactic is to get pre-approved before you visit a dealership. With a pre-approval in hand, you’ll have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating the final price of your new car.

If you have any questions on your trade-in or would like to become pre-approved, please stop by the Credit Union or call 410-687-5240 today.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.