Auto Appraisal 101: What You Need to Know Before Selling or Buying a Vehicle

Nov 3, 2023

Buying and selling a vehicle can get pretty complicated. There’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of official hoops to jump through, and a lot of angst over whether you’re getting/paying a fair price. 

Auto appraisers have a lot of knowledge about vehicle markets and can help you get the best price for your vehicle or avoid paying too much for a car you’re thinking of buying. They can’t get your paperwork in order, but they can give you peace of mind about a car’s true value.

Here are some basics for buying and selling a vehicle.

Buying a Vehicle

Buying a vehicle is a significant decision. Next to buying a home, it’s about the largest purchase most people ever make. Getting the best car for you at the best price is the goal.

First, do some research. Read consumer reviews and safety reports. Compare makes and models to get an idea of what’s out there. Get a good idea of what you want before you start your vehicle search.

You basically have two choices when it comes to buying a car: going to a dealer or finding a private seller. A dealer will generally make the transaction faster and less complicated, but you may get a better price buying from an individual.

In either case, get pre-approved for a loan before you go vehicle shopping. Know what you can afford before you fall in love with something way out of your price range. Shopping around for the best interest rate is a smart idea, too.

When you find the vehicle you want, the surest way to make sure you are getting a fair price is to have it appraised by a professional. They have the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to assess a vehicle’s current market value. They can help make sure you don’t get taken for a ride, no pun intended.

Selling Your Vehicle

Before you put your vehicle on the market, you might want to get it inspected to identify any issues that need attention in order to get the best price. Having the car detailed is a no brainer. To improve looks and increase value, spring for new floor mats or even new tires. Pay attention to the interior’s smell, too.

Don’t forget to scrub personal information from the car’s navigation system and cancel satellite radio, On Star, or other subscriptions.

Selling your vehicle to a car dealer might be the most convenient thing to do, but it won’t necessarily get you the best price. If convenience is a priority, though, going to a dealership usually makes it simple. There’s little hassle with paperwork and everything can be done on site at the dealership.

If you are prepared to take on the work of selling your vehicle yourself, make sure you do your homework. You need to know your vehicle’s market value in order to get a good price. A licensed auto appraiser can help with that.

There’s a lot of paperwork to assemble in order to complete a vehicle transaction. Most states require a bill of sale, odometer certification, and the car’s title. A vehicle history is also commonly provided.

In order to recognize the sale, in addition to the bill of sale you will probably have to have information about a lienholder, a title transfer application, and a notice of sale or transfer to a new owner.

Don’t Skip the Auto Appraisal

Whether buying or selling, don’t skip the auto appraisal. Vehicle transactions can involve a significant amount of money. It only makes sense to have the most accurate assessment of the vehicle’s current market value before you buy or sell.

The Auto Mediator has been in the business of providing accurate vehicle reports for more than 25 years. They have experience in many aspects of the automobile industry, including auctions. When you need to know a vehicle’s true market value, trust Auto Mediator to offer a spot on assessment.