Determining your car's estimated retail value is an important part of selling the car. You can try to price the car without knowing what its value is, but you may end up either over- or underpricing it. If you overprice, you may alienate potential buyers, making the sale take longer than it should. If you underprice, you could end up cheating yourself out of money that could easily have been yours. Failing to look up your car's value can also put you at an informational disadvantage with sellers who are likely to do this research on their own before negotiating. There are two different strategies that you can use to determine the value of your car: online research and professional appraisal.
Background Info on Car Value
Cars lose value over time. Your car is not worth what you originally you paid for it, even if you've owned it for less than a year. This is especially true if your car was brand-new when you bought it. This may be an intuitive fact for some people, but not everyone understands why this is the case. "Depreciation" is a major concept in the automotive industry. In this context, it refers to a car's depreciating value over time. The moment you take ownership of a new car, it loses some value, and it continues to lose value as it ages, even if you take good care of it. There are a few reasons for this, mostly related to the fact that a brand-new car is simply worth more than one that has been owned. Additionally, cars lose value as they age due to practical concerns like wear and tear and due to the fact that new, more modern cars are released each year. This is why it's important to know your car's value. The price you paid for it has very little to do with its current value as you prepare to sell.
You'll need to do some research to determine your car's value. There are a variety of car valuation tools and calculators online. These tools come from different sources and may give different values based on the information you input. For example, some of these calculators have you guess your car's value and input information such as the make and model year before providing you with a valuation estimate. Other calculators require registration and charge a fee for providing valuation information. Some sellers may opt to pay this fee for a thorough car value estimate from a reputable source. One such source is Standard Bank, which offers a car value estimator in conjunction with TransUnion, a business with strong connections to the financial aspects of South Africa's automotive industry.
Paying for Estimates
Though some sellers may not want to pay for a valuation report, others may see it as an important piece of information. Having this information from a reputable institution can be useful, especially for dealing openly and honestly with a buyer. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to determine whether he or she wants to pay for a valuation report. There are places to get free estimates online, and ultimately, that may be sufficient when combined with a professional appraisal.
A reputable, trustworthy mechanic may be able to give you a detailed appraisal of your car's value. The mechanic may rely on valuation estimates from reputable sources and combine that information with a thorough inspection of the car's interior, mechanical and exterior condition. For example, if your car is 5 years old and has a lot more mileage on it than most cars of the same age, the mechanic may see that usage as being evident in the car's mechanical system, which may be worn out. Issues such as this will very likely reduce your car's value. Any major issues, be they mechanical problems or aesthetic issues such as a bad paint job or interior stains, are probably going to have a negative impact on the car's value. The mechanic should be able to tell you how severe these issues are. Severity has a lot to do with value impact. The mechanic can also let you know how expensive these issues would be to fix. It may be worth your while to fix inexpensive issues that have a big impact on value before selling the car.
There are other factors in pricing, but determining your car's value is one of the most important. Don't just take a wild guess. Do your research and seek professional input. While you can do either one of these things individually, it may be a good idea to do both. Online valuation can't accurately take things like mechanical condition into account, while a mechanic may be slightly off in his or her value estimation. Using both approaches can help you determine a well-informed value that is backed up by research, allowing you to approach potential buyers with confidence. Your car's value isn't necessarily the same figure as the price you should charge, but it is an important piece of the selling puzzle.