Kelley Blue Book & Appraisal
New and used car buyers and sellers alike want to get the fairest bang for their buck, and the Kelley Blue Book—perhaps one of the automotive industry's most well-known vehicle appraisal tools—is available to help them do just that.
The Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is rich with history; is a highly reputable resource for automotive research and vehicle valuation.
Simply put, the KBB can provide both car buyers and sellers with information ranging from the “blue book value" of a used car to reviews of the latest models to hit the lots.
The KBB can help new car buyers find valuable information such as the Fair Market Range (including the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, or MSRP) of the vehicles in which they're interested.
So, let's say you're shopping for a specific new car. There are a few different ways you can utilize the site, but let's go with the following example.
First, visit the KBB website and:
- Choose one of the options to price a new car.
- Enter that vehicle's specific make, model, and year.
- Choose the vehicle's “style."
- For example, if you're shopping for a new Ford Fusion, you might choose an “SE Hybrid" or “Titanium." Don't worry; all the available options are there for you.
- Either choose to get the price for the vehicle with standard options or choose from an array of additional options.
- Generally, these additional options range from options related to the vehicle's color, interior, powertrain, emissions, additional packages, and even fees and incentives.
Once you make these selections, the KBB will provide you with a Fair Market Range for that vehicle in your area which can include the:
- MSRP: A basic starting point for negotiations and higher than the other price points. Generally, buyers don't pay the full MSRP.
- Factory Invoice: This is the price the dealership paid the auto manufacturer, including the destination charge.
- Fair Purchase Price: The KBB updates this information frequently, and it's based on what others have recently paid for the vehicle as well as availability, demand, and other buying trends.
Knowing this Fair Market Range gives you some serious price negotiation leverage.
NOTE: The KBB is careful to point out that some of the prices it shows are dealer-suggested retail prices and because dealers can set their own labor rates and other prices, costs can vary by dealer and region. Also, the KBB doesn't include prices associated with title, registration, and license fees; any applicable taxes; or document fees.
The KBB is a helpful resource for both used car buyers and sellers, mostly because it helps determine used car value (thus making it easier for sellers to price their used cars and buyers to know when they're getting a fair price).
As you're appraising your used car, be prepared to provide the KBB with the vehicle's:
- Make, model, year, and mileage.
- For example, is it a sedan? A wagon? The KBB will provide you with options.
- Again, the KBB will provide options based on your answers thus far.
- Options and/or standard equipment.
- These might include categories such as:
- Engine, transmission, drivetrain, braking and traction, and steering type.
- Safety and security (such as air bags).
- Comfort and convenience (such as air conditioning and power windows).
- Entertainment options or packages.
- Seating details.
- Roof and glass information.
- Wheels and tire details.
- Exterior information (including the color and any extras such as spoilers).
- These might include categories such as:
Once you've entered all this information, the KBB will ask you what sort of condition the vehicle is in (for example: excellent, good, etc., all based on specific criteria) and then provide you with an official Kelley Blue Book value.
Whether you're shopping with a private seller or a dealership, you can search for the Kelley Blue Book value of a used car; however, you'll need some specific information (see “Sellers" above) about the vehicle in order to get the most accurate Blue Book value.
Once you've entered all this information, you can find out the value of the vehicle if you plan to trade it in with a dealership or purchase it from a private party. This value will help you determine whether you're getting a fair deal, and possibly even give you a starting point for price negotiation.
While the KBB is a great resource for estimating the value of a car, it shouldn't be your only resource when buying or selling your car.
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