It doesn't matter if you're planning to purchase a used car from a dealership or from a private individual, it's important to understand used car values before you begin your search. Because the true value of a car is based on a number of different factors getting a fair appraisal can sometimes be a little complicated. The age of the vehicle, the number of miles, its condition, appearance, and even the location can all come into play. While all of this may seem like a lot to figure in, there are some practical guidelines you can follow to determine the true worth of any vehicle.

Start With The Book Value:

One of the first things you want to use for a used car values appraisal is its book value. This is the basic starting off point for determining the true worth of a car before factoring in all the other possibilities. This number can be found in vehicle pricing guides or online at car pricing websites. Probably the most popular book you can refer to is the Kelley Blue Book found in most libraries but you can also check with Consumer Reports or the National Automobile Dealers Association as well.

These prices are not absolute but can be useful tools to determine a starting point for negotiations. As you figure in other factors the price could go up or down from there.

Consider The Market:

The current market can also weigh heavily on a used car values appraisal. For example, if it's the middle of tax season more people may be looking to spend their tax refund on a used car, which will push the price up but if it's a time when sales are slow the prices may drop significantly. All of these factors can change from one region to the next so before going shopping for a new used vehicle, spend a few weeks looking at the trends in your local area to see if it's the right time for you to buy.

Check The Records:

Another factor that you want to check when determining used car values appraisal is the paperwork. A car that has seen regular maintenance and upkeep and has the paperwork to support it is a car that will fetch a larger price than one that just looks good. Cars that have been consistently maintained are often in better condition and will more than likely last you a bit longer than one that is not in prime condition.

The more you know about the condition, age, and upkeep of a car before the negotiations, the easier it will be to determine its true value. However, it is important to keep in mind that value estimations on used cars are often relative. Some sellers often attach sentimental value to a vehicle and others may hide flaws behind a nice paint job or a super clean interior. If you are in the market for a used car, don't rely solely on the written value of a car but take the time to check it out thoroughly. For example, kick the tires and make sure that you know exactly what you're getting before you start the negotiations.