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What Are Edmunds Values?

Written by Ray Shefska

My career in the retail automotive business started in 1977. Buying a car doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing, stressful, or painful. Instead it can be confidence inspiring, fun, and convenient. Let me show you how.

March 16, 2021

You need to know the value of your car before you start to think about trading it in or selling it privately. With either option, you’ll need to know how to set your price accurately. Otherwise, you run the risk of selling it for too little or asking too much. That’s where Edmunds values can be helpful.

There are several prominent companies out there that are designed to help sellers to evaluate the price of any given vehicle. But the question remains:  Which ones should you be using? 

Today, we’re going to take a look at Edmunds, a source of car information that also provides an evaluation tool. We’ll discuss who they are, how they find their prices, and how accurate their estimates tend to be.  

What is Edmunds?

Edmunds began as Edmunds Publications in 1966. It was a printed booklet that aimed at helping shoppers to make informed buying decisions. In the 1990s, Edmunds made a series of maneuvers to become a digital source of auto information. Consumers trusted them for advice about car buying and understanding the value of a car.

These days, they are known for their True Market Value tool. This tool analyzes a number of factors to determine the correct price for a vehicle. Due to their existing reputation as a trusted source from which to buy vehicles, their True Market Value tool was quickly accepted as a great way to understand the value of the car.

In addition to their True Market Value tool, Edmunds is known for providing useful information about cars, along with their tools that allow buyers to search the inventory of a network of dealerships. The True Cost-to-Own feature, which compares maintenance costs for vehicles, has drawn the attention of car buyers for years, as well.

Additionally, Edmunds is used by CarMax to determine the value of your online trade-in. When using this feature, you’ll receive an actionable offer that you can take to CarMax directly. 

How Does Edmunds Reach Its Value?

Edmunds uses a car’s make, model, mileage, condition, and styling to determine the worth of a vehicle. From this information, it provides a valuation both for trading it in or selling it to a private buyer. They collect and analyze car sales from an unknown number of sales across the country. Overall, it’s a worthwhile tool when you want to determine how much your car is worth.

Their search tool could be improved by showing consumers how many car sales are used to generate an evaluation. It would make their tool more trustworthy and help customers to gain an idea of how accurate their values are.

Are Edmunds Values Accurate?

Edmunds True Market Value tool is considered to be fairly accurate for new cars. However, most dealerships do not use this tool as a reference point. It may be worth bringing up an estimate in private sales, though, as many consumers are aware of the authority behind the Edmunds brand.

In the True Market Value tool, predictions are available for all models. New predictions are published regularly and they can help you to decide when it might be the best time to buy that exact model. It’s another good tool to help you secure a great deal on your next car.

When Should I Use Edmunds Values?

Edmunds has plenty of great information and tools available for car buyers. Although they require a phone number, which is a downside, their estimates can help to paint a picture of the value of your car. Keep in mind that once you share your personal information with Edmunds it’s likely you’ll be getting phone calls from dealers, so we really don’t like that this is a requirement (especially when the dealers don’t use Edmunds Values when quoting a trade-in).

Understand that the Edmunds Value will likely be higher than what a dealer offers you. It’s good to have a variety of information before negotiating the sale of your vehicle, and it’s also important to have realistic expectations. That’s why we recommend looking at dealer values like Black Book or MMR as well.

Edmunds provides a number of tools that we believe are helpful for consumers to understand how much to pay for a car. It’s well worth using to determine your asking price for trade-ins and even private sales. However, don’t expect dealers or private buyers to pay you exactly what is estimated. Instead, use the information as a negotiation point to help you nail down the exact price of the car.

If you’re buying a car at a dealership, make sure to negotiate the trade-in value of your old car and the price of the new car separately. If you try to negotiate them together, it’s easier for dealerships to move numbers around to make you feel like you’re getting a better deal than you really are.

We suggest that you start by negotiating the price that you’ll be paying for the new car in the beginning. Focus on the out-the-door price. Once you’ve agreed on that price, then say that you might want to trade in your current vehicle. Next, it’s time to negotiate the value of your trade-in. You can use Edmunds to make your case for its value, along with other tools, such as Your Auto Advocate’s integration with Black Book evaluations so that you know what a dealer will offer you. 

Interested in learning how people come up with car values? You can learn more about other evaluation books here.

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