Buying a Car: How to Get a Great Trade-In Deal

  • Posted 05 May
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Buying a Car: How to Get a Great Trade-In Deal

If you’re looking to buy a new car and are not sure what to do about the one you currently have, opting to trade it in on a new car is a good option.

You could also sell the car privately, but there are no guarantees that you’ll sell it quickly and then you have to deal with the hassle of people showing up to your home and finding out where you live!

While there are definitely pros and cons for selling privately, trading in your car with a dealer is definitely the most hassle-free option.

The major downside to trading in your car though, is that you will probably get a lower price on your old car than if you were to sell it privately.

It really comes down to convenience versus return. Do you need to get rid of the car quickly, or do you have the time to wait and get the best price?

If you opt to trade it in, you do have a little more negotiating options available to you, depending on the dealer. When dealing with a car sales yard, it’s not so much the price you’ll get for your old car, but the difference you’ll pay between your new car and what the dealer gives you for your old car.

Here-in lies the negotiating power.

First things first, be realistic in your expectations:

  • determine what your old car might be worth by looking at classified ads online and in your local newspaper to see what others are asking for
  • once you’ve found some cars that are comparable to yours in kilometres, condition and age, subtract about 10-20% off this price, this is likely what you’ll get on the trade in
  • check the Red Book as well, this will provide you with unbiased information and also provides you with both private and dealer values

Once you’ve got a fair idea of what sort of price you could expect, it’s time to wheel and deal to get the best price for your trade in.

Tips for Getting the Best Trade in Deal

  1. Treat your old car as if you were selling it privately. This means making it look as good and attractive as possible. Give it a good wash externally and internally, right down to polishing the wheels. The better the car looks, the more the dealer will be willing to negotiate.
  2. If the car is relatively new, it could be worthwhile to spend a bit more cash and have it professional detailed. Remember, it’s all about first impressions. You want the dealer to see how quickly they can turn your car around and how much they can make without it costing them a dime.
  3. Make sure the car is roadworthy and has all the correct paperwork signed off. If you owe any money on the car, aim to pay this off BEFORE you upgrade your car. If you have outstanding money on the car, this will negatively affect your ability to negotiate with the dealer.
  4. Make sure everything works. Check all buttons, windows, door handles etc. The dealer will be looking to see how well the car has been maintained. So make sure that you’ve got proof to backup that you’ve had regular maintenance checks, servicing and any repairs that may have been completed.
  5. To ensure you get the best deal possible, shop around. Visit a number of dealers before making a decision. One dealer may provide you with lower priced new car, but another might offer you a better trade-in deal.
  6. Your best card to play when visiting dealers is the ability to simply walk away. So use this to your advantage. If you’re not happy with what they are offering, then simply walk away.

Need help buying a car? Let our team find the right car for you, with the right finance deal to suit your needs.

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