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Car Buying and Valuations

It's well known in the car industry there are good times and bad times to buy cars, but to a large extent members of the public are not aware of all the factors that go in to providing a car valuation.

Most well respected car buyers within the industry use one of two industry "bibles" to help them value cars...some may use both! You may hear a car dealer say a car "CAP's at xxx" or "Glasses says it's worth xxx". It is these two guides (CAP & Glass) which are the industry standard and used by motor trade experts across the country.

The companies that produce these guides compare hundreds of thousands of vehicle prices each month, work out what external factors may be having an impact on car prices and then arrive at their "Guide Price". Often even the two guides don't agree on what a car is worth and this is why valuing a car isn't an exact science. If the car buyer gets it wrong he could lose hundreds, even thousands of pounds on a car they can't sell.

The guides have traditionally being published monthly, hence why you may have heard the term "book drop". This term refers to the new price guide book getting published at the start of a new month and car dealers expecting the car guide prices to "drop" in the book. With the advent of the online guide valuations, the monthly book drop isn't so volatile now as the prices tend to move (yes more than likely drop) through the course of the month, rather than one big change at the start of the following month. Be aware though many dealers still use a monthly system and will still factor in a "monthly book drop".

The guides typically publish different prices for each car. This will include a retail price, a part exchange valuation, a "clean" (excellent condition) value, an "average" (fair wear and tear for age and mileage) value and a "below" (cars that are generally in a poor condition) value. Values are also adjusted depending on how many miles are car has done, above average miles and the car is worth less, below average miles and the car will be worth a little more.

Are you still with us...we're not finished yet!

It's all well and good having these industry bibles to guide us in the values of cars, but some cars are simply not book cars. What do we mean by this? Well some cars are so difficult to value accurately that the prices in the book could be way off. Often only someone who deals in these kinds of vehicles everyday will know what they are truly worth. These cars tend to be your high end luxury cars or something a bit more unusual and many buyers would be unwilling to put a value on these cars themselves without getting an underwrite from an expert on those vehicles within the trade.

Other things that the guides can't take into account is the popularity of colour. Some cars may be popular in Yellow whilst other yellow cars couldn't be given away. Extras are another huge factor, things like leather & Sat Nav do add value to a car and make it more desirable. In some instances items such as over the top body kits, additional lighting, aftermarket alloy wheels, despite costing hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds could potentially negatively affect the value of a car.

In all honesty, we could go on and on. In a nutshell a car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. It's OK using a car valuation tool that makes you feel good saying your car is worth £xxxx (are they offering to buy it??) or comparing your car to a car that is up for sale at a comically high price, that car may have been up for sale for 6 months and will never sell at that price.

At Best Car Buyer we promise to fairly assess your car and pay the best possible price we can. Once we have agreed a price on your car, it's fixed, that's the amount we will pay you in full on collection. This will only ever change if the car is not as described and it has significant additional damage that we were not aware of. For help and advice on describing your car please see our page on how to appraise your car