Car sellers often turn to Kelley Blue Book ® to find out how much their car is worth. Kelley Blue Book or KBB is a respected used car price guide often quoted by used car dealers to demonstrate that prices of cars on their lots are fair. When it comes to realizing the Blue Book price when selling a used car outright, sellers often find their expectations are set too high.
When trading in your car for a new car, you'll usually be offered an attractive price for your car. Dealers use questioning techniques to find out whether you're more interested in a great trade-in price or are looking for a big discount on a new car and will tailor the deal to give you the perception of value. The most important factor for you as a buyer, however, is the cost to change. Attractive trade-in prices are usually subsidized by reducing the discount on your new car. The dealer is looking at the overall profit on the deal.
If you want to sell your car privately or get a bigger discount on your next car by avoiding the dealer's trade-in math, the Blue Book trade-in price may not be the best benchmark for you. Kelley Blue Books's trade-in price assumes you're buying another car and the dealer has some profit to play with. Selling privately, you're unlikely to get the Kelley Blue Book trade in price, but that doesn't mean you're getting a bad deal, simply a fair market price. A dealer paying Blue Book for a trade-in is either going to retail the car (more profit) or push it back through the auto auctions, often at a loss. How can a dealer pay Blue Book and afford to sell your trade-in at a loss? The answer's simple, the trade-in math favors the dealer.
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