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Old 01-18-2010, 08:35 AM   #1
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Default Selling price of used cars

I have been studying used car prices quite a bit. Using E-bay as ground truth (monitoring sales the completed, auctions ending with no winners and amount of bids on a popular car at certain price levels), and comparing values to Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book. What I have discovered is 99% of used cars are selling for no more than dealer trade in price as listed on Edmunds. Also discovered that the vast majority of cars being listed on Craigslist to be overpriced often by well over 50%.

What does this mean- maybe two things (1) Edmunds and Kelly are well behind the actual value of a used car being sold today. This makes it easy to get a loan, but bad for a buyer that relies on Edmunds or Kelly for setting a value. (2) Craiglist is likely full of guys selling used cars as a line of work, not "by owner" as they claim. They are looking for victims. I will never look at the asking price on Craigslist as being anything close to the actual value, not that one may not find a deal on CL, but it may take weeks of watching to find a single deal.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:44 AM   #2
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Alot of people are trying to hit "homeruns" on their cars. Many are in desperate straits. At least in this area. I do tend to agree with you. I've seen posts compaining of dealers selling as owners.
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:44 AM   #3
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Well my guess would be its a measure of times. Granted in a time of Boom i would trust KBB and edmunds. But with us being in a fll recesion the price of everything has to come down for people to buy definatly a luxry of a car. Not to mention winter sales are different as well. People dont normally buy a sports car in the winter that they will have to store as soon as they get it so those prices may drop a little as well. Just a thought!
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:37 AM   #4
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Are you looking at both options on KBB? As in the private-sale vs. the dealer trade in?
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:47 AM   #5
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Yes, I look at all the options. On Edmund'* they have three option, trade in, private sale and dealer sale.

My observation is that Edmunds trade in is actually what one should start negotiation with from a dealer in today'* market and as TAYL pointed out, winter. The dealer and even a private party will cry foul- but the market is showing Kelly and Edmunds prices as way off when compared to sales completed on Ebay (and not completed because reserve not met but bids were placed). We all laugh and often hate Ebay- but Ebay provides hundreds of completed auction prices every few hours and in real time, across the nation. I discovered it to be a true tool when measuring pricing, activity, interest and sentiment.

On a side note- with Ebay providing for free a carfax like history on all post 1982 vehicles- it keeps the scammers on the run (such as selling a TX truck that really spent 98% of its life in Chicago, a salvage title or even a car that had 3 owners over 4k miles- maybe a major problem being moved like musical chairs). IMO, nothing beats a one owner vehicle.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:48 AM   #6
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Ever since I bought the Bonny I've warmed up to buying a car for the trade in value. Why? Because my bank would only loan me the trade in value. That makes negotiating a little easier too. When I walk into a dealer and say I want that car for X amount of dollars, and they say "no" I can just rebuttal with "Well I have a check for that much, and that'* about how much you paid for it anyway". If it'* still "no", I will walk.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MouSe View Post
Ever since I bought the Bonny I've warmed up to buying a car for the trade in value. Why? Because my bank would only loan me the trade in value. That makes negotiating a little easier too. When I walk into a dealer and say I want that car for X amount of dollars, and they say "no" I can just rebuttal with "Well I have a check for that much, and that'* about how much you paid for it anyway". If it'* still "no", I will walk.


Mouse, that is an excellent point and negotiating tool- and makes the bank the "bad guy". Also makes the bank the final say in the transaction- all part of the art of negotiation. The car salesman never ok'* the deal, always has to go see the general sales manager. In the buyer'* arsenal is he has to get the bank to approve.... even when paying in cash.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:55 AM   #8
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Yep. Don't get me wrong the dealer still made money off of me. About $3k actually. They just got lucky and paid very, very little for the car.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:58 AM   #9
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I don't think KBB and Edmunds are behind on the value, people are trying to get as much as they can for the car they are selling and if someone really wants it they will shell out for it

I paid more than what my Bonne was worth, same with a 99 Grand Prix GTP we bought this summer but they were both in excellent condition
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:01 AM   #10
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I paid clean trade in value for my car. I overpaid because the car has a smacked rear driver door area. But for how good condition the rest of the car was in, and the low miles, I went with it.
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