Step 2: Know what your trade-in is worth.
Do some research to find out what you can reasonably expect to get for your trade-in vehicle via an online valuation site such as Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com). Estimates are based on a car’s mileage, condition and how it’s equipped, and will vary by region. Be honest when assessing your current ride’s condition for valuation purposes; few used cars fall into the “excellent” category without professional reconditioning. You’ll probably get more money selling your current car privately, but it’s easier to trade it in when buying a new one. If it’s a desirable recent model in top condition you may want to shop it around to several dealers’ used car departments to find out which will offer you the most for it. However, don’t expect to get much if it’s an older vehicle or needs work. That’s because new-car dealers keep only recent-model cars in top condition for resale, and dispose of the rest at auction. Always negotiate a vehicle’s trade-in value separately from the new-car transaction.