If you’ve ever tried to sell your car or if you’ve thought about selling it in the future, then you have an idea of how difficult it can seem to find the right selling price. There’s a lot of factors to consider and it can be time consuming. With a bit of research and some simple math, you can figure out the market value for your vehicle.

Let’s get started with the basics.

What does “market value” mean?
Market value is the average value for a vehicle in reasonably good condition, all things being equal. Market value would exclude things like pressures to sell quickly for reasons like having to move, or having to sell in order to pay for other expenses. Ultimately the market value is an educated guess that is calculated through considering the following relevant factors:

External characteristics

  • Popularity of the car
  • Visual condition (rust, scratches, paint, etc.)
  • Location (is your vehicle suitable for this area?)
  • Etc.

Internal characteristics

  • Condition of interior (damage, stains, smells, etc.)
  • Condition of electronics (functioning A/C, power windows, lights, locks etc.)
  • Mechanical condition (engine, exhaust, transmission, etc.)
  • Etc.

Supply and Demand
If there are more people trying to sell cars than there are trying to buy cars, the value of your car decreases since buyers have other options. If there are lots of buyers and fewer sellers, then the value of your vehicle increases since buyers have fewer options.

How do you put these factors to use?

Doing a sales comparison is the most effective way to estimate the market value of your vehicle. This is how most professionals evaluate the value of things from cars to houses.

  1. A good starting point is by checking other listings for similar vehicles in your area. Try to find a few that were sold under “normal conditions” and were not sold for too low or high due to outstanding issues (relocation, pending bills) like mentioned above.
  2. Adjust the starting price you’ve found for any additional work you’ve put into the vehicle, whether that work has added or reduced value in the vehicle.
  3. Ask for help from your local car dealership. Dealerships buy and sell used vehicles all the time, and are aware of other used vehicle sales in the area. Their experience and access to information will be very useful in determining the actual value of your vehicle.