You can save a lot of money by buying a late model vehicle, right? It depends on what you know about late model cars, and how savvy you are about the value of pre-owned vehicle. Many people know very little about the cars they drive, and most of us lack the knowledge or expertise to properly assess a pre-owned vehicle.
The result is that buyers feel forced to buy expensive new vehicles or purchase an overpriced used car from a dealership. Those who do try to avoid years of payments on a car from a dealership by buying independently may face even greater horrors when their lack of knowledge leaves them paying for repairs to address undisclosed issues.
How do you avoid these problems without suffering the depreciation loss associated with new cars? Our independent certified agents can provide the expertise and insight needed to help you avoid dishonest sellers who might not tell the full story about their pre-owned vehicle. A prepurchase inspection not only protects you from unscrupulous sellers, it also allows you to fully reap the rewards of buying a pre-owned vehicle and avoid the value loss from depreciation that occurs as soon as you drive a new car off the lot.
Prepurchase inspection agents test the vehicle, look for signs of an accident, and ask all the right questions about the care and maintenance of the car. Our agents can provide you with documentation so that you know the condition of the car you are buying and what the fair market value should be.
AAG agents come to us with life experiences that prepare them for their role as an inspector and as a professional representative of the company. They also have a passion for automobiles and a desire to help owners make informed decisions to save money and pursue their hobby.
Many of our certified agents have hands on restoration experience either through previous jobs, business ownership, weekend racing, or as backyard mechanics. Many have been members of groups or clubs that share their knowledge and time to support one another’s passion for the old car hobby.
We know they have the proper skills because we have met them and spent five days together studying classic, antique, muscle, modified, and other collectible automobiles and learning about the auto appraisal business. We want to be sure that the individual inspecting your vehicle is equipped to do the job. That means AAG certified agents:
know how to document what they see using the processes that have been created to gather detailed information.
know how to grade the condition of each component in a consistent manner.
know what they are looking for in order to determine whether or not claims of originality, special options, history, maintenance, customization and matching numbers can be verified.
know how to photograph the vehicle to provide the required photos for our reports and to provide clients with a detailed inside look from a buyer’s perspective.
are prepared to locate visible pertinent numbers when they get onsite.
know where to look for rust, filler, damage, and repairs.
have experience that helps them interact with opposing parties in legal matters.
know how to ask the right questions.
are equipped to send this information to our headquarters in an expedient manner.
AAG certified agents attend a five day certification class to prepare for their new role. This class helps them to organize their new agency as an independent contractor so they can begin providing services as soon as they graduate. They see a variety of examples of different vehicles in various conditions and learn how to consistently rate individual components so the research team and appraisers at headquarters can determine an overall condition rating and value. Attendees learn about the different reasons clients rely on AAG’s independent assessment to address their specific needs relating to insurance coverage and claims, financial matters, property settlements, and purchasing decisions.
What don’t AAG agents do? They don’t give an opinion of value. All values are determined at headquarters by utilizing our massive comparable database which contains all the appraisals and prepurchase inspections we’ve completed over the past 30 years as well as recent auction results and sales. This allows us to compare the same model of a vehicle with all others we’ve inspected across the country. This prevents the appraisal outcome from being swayed by the opinions and desires of sellers, clients or insurers. We call them as we see them.
If you think you’d enjoy helping people who own and love automobiles, you can apply to open an AAG agency in your area. Visit our website and submit your application and we’ll be back in touch if you have the experience we’re looking for and are in an area where we need coverage. AAG will be hosting certification classes in the coming months. We have limited seating available to allow for hands on practice and to keep all participants safe. Our 2021 class schedule is:
May 10-15 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. April 5th registration deadline!
September 27-Oct 2 at AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania
We look forward to bringing new agents into the group who can help us continue to provide independent, certified appraisals and prepurchase inspections for our clients located across the country. Could that new agent be you?
Divorce is always difficult, particularly when couples try to decide how assets should be distributed to each party as part of the settlement. Property is usually equally distributed between two parties, but how do you split a vehicle two ways? Most people know that a lawyer is necessary to make sure that all agreements are fair, equal, and well documented, but you may not realize that it is also wise to have your estate evaluated and professionally assessed to properly account for assets that are difficult to divide.
In a typical divorce settlement, one party will take the vehicle and give the other party an equal share of the property in return. This can be complicated if the vehicle is worth a substantial sum or if there isn’t enough property in the estate to equally compensate the other partner for the vehicle. Some auto owners may be forced to sell a valuable car or collector vehicle in order to adequately split the value.
Matters can be further complicated if the value of the vehicle is ambiguous or undocumented, as is often the case with antique vehicles or hobby cars. If a value cannot be determined and agreed upon by both parties, there can be disputes about the vehicle value that can make it difficult to reach a settlement. An independent value appraisal is an excellent way to establish what the car is worth. A certified independent appraiser can establish a fair, universally agreed-upon value for the vehicle, which can help to smooth out discrepancies during the divorce settlement process.
Even if you never intend to divorce your spouse, a certified auto appraisal performed by an independent appraiser can protect you any time that the value of your vehicle may come into question. This can be useful in insurance disputes, estate settlements, and sales, and should you find yourself in need of a divorce settlement, your appraisal will make the process much easier for all parties involved.
For over 30 years AAG has provided an independent vehicle appraisal service that can determine the current value of a vehicle for the equitable distribution of property during a divorce settlement. AAG can also provide expert witness testimony in support of our automobile appraisals. If the other party chooses to dispute the value of your vehicle, the documentation and witness testimony provided can help you to expunge any confusion about how that value was determined.
Whether you are beginning a divorce settlement or merely want to document your vehicle accurately as part of your estate, give us a call and find out how easy it can be to protect the value of your car.
Selling your car can be a difficult and often disappointing process, fraught with tough choices and pitfalls. You could trade it in at a dealership as part of a new vehicle purchase, but it’s unlikely that you’ll receive full value on your trade-in deal. Selling directly can be a costly mixture of advertising and showing the vehicle to potential buyers with no guarantee of a sale. Obstacles like these make selling a vehicle at auction a viable alternative.
Auctions provide many benefits to sellers. The entire process can be completed in as little as an afternoon, and a good auction will expose your vehicle to dozens of interested, serious buyers. Selling at auction can be effective but there are still things you’ll want to know to get the best sale price:
Set a reserve price. Without a reserve price, there is a chance that your vehicle could literally be given away. Your reserve price is the lowest amount you would be willing to accept to sell the vehicle. This figure will require you to know what your vehicle is worth: do your research to make sure that your make, model, and condition justify the amount you are hoping to receive. You will benefit from a professional appraisal to determine value, especially if you are selling an antique or restored car.
Choose the right venue. Different cars benefit from different types of auctions. If your car isn’t exactly in mint condition, you may want to opt for a live auction. Live auctions are often frequented by scrap dealers and restoration hobbyists who may be willing to buy a vehicle in questionable condition in order to find parts. On the other hand, if your car is in very good condition, internet auctions are a wonderful way to attract bidders all over the country (and even the world). The internet can make it much easier to get your asking price, but internet buyers also usually expect the car to be in good working condition. Be prepared to produce appraisals, maintenance records, and repair or restoration history.
Be honest and thorough about your car’s condition. Take lots of pictures of your car and document the condition of your car thoroughly. Pictures should show the car inside and out, and it’s a good idea to take a picture of your odometer as well. Attempts to hide damage and the refusal to answer questions can make bidders suspicious. Auction buyers don’t always expect a car to be in showroom condition, but they may see a lack of photos as a sign that the car is not in good shape. A well-documented appraisal is very useful when selling antique and vintage vehicles, whether the auction is online or live. Antique buyers will want to know what restoration has been performed, who completed the work, when it was completed, and what type of parts were used. Also, keep a good record of how well the vehicle has been maintained. The documentation provided by a certified appraisal can be extremely valuable to both seller and buyer.
Auctions are a great way to sell your car for what it’s worth without spending a lot of time and effort. You are almost guaranteed to sell your car at auction while selling directly promises no reward. If you think an auction might be right for you, get a certified auto appraisal so that you can provide documentation of the vehicle’s worth, set the right reserve price, and sell your car for the most money you can expect. Want to get started? Contact AAG today to find out how an appraisal can save you money!
Selling a vehicle can definitely be more difficult than buying one! You may need to juggle unreliable online listing services with indecisive and disorganized buyers, all while preparing the vehicle to sell. Many people rely on dealerships to buy their used cars as part of a new car purchase just to avoid the hassle in spite of the well known fact that dealerships rarely offer full value on a trade-in. For those trying to sell an antique vehicle, the process is even trickier. The following tips can help simplify selling or auctioning your vehicle, whether it’s a vintage or late model.
Wash The Vehicle: One of the biggest mistakes people make before selling a vehicle is forgetting to wash and detail the vehicle. Washing your car helps it look well cared for and helps convince potential buyers that it’s in good condition. Vacuuming the inside, waxing, scrubbing the tires and other detailing can be a very effective way to catch the eye of a potential buyer.
Gather Your Documents: Make sure that you have the title documents that prove ownership of the vehicle. The last thing you need is to search for a title that may have been misplaced after a buyer has agreed to purchase your car. Before listing your vehicle or advertising it in any way, make sure you have the title in hand, as well as any service documents such as restoration and maintenance receipts, pictures from the restoration, and anything that can document the history of your vehicle.
Watch Out For Scams: Online market places are rife with scams, but many people assume it is buyers who are the victims of these cons and don’t realize sellers can also be scammed. A common ploy is a buyer who offers to pay more than the asking price and wants you to send the extra back to them. Victims of this tactic find that the check for the payment will bounce, but the “extra” money and your property will be long gone before you get a chance to discover the “rubber” check! Familiarize yourself with common scams like this one so that you don’t fall for them.
Know What It’s Worth: If you have a late model vehicle, you can search the internet to see if similar models are for sale but that won’t give you an accurate idea about your car’s value based on its year and condition. Price guides are averages and just a guide but not specific to any particular vehicle. Watch out for buyers who try to haggle over value based on nonexistent issues. Keep up-to-date records on maintenance and repairs to avoid selling your car for less than full value.
If you have an antique vehicle, knowing what it’s worth can be difficult, particularly if you have performed modifications or restorations. Consulting an online price guide is not the most accurate way to determine the value of a vintage vehicle. Value can differ widely depending on condition, option packages, restoration, and care. One of the best ways to be confident that you know the value is to get an independent vehicle appraisal that provides complete documentation for a buyer or auction house. A vehicle appraisal considers the condition of the vehicle, its options, any restoration details, and current market trends to ensure the most accurate estimation of value.
Diminution of value occurs when a vehicle is wrecked or damaged in an accident. The vehicle is subsequently repaired or restored to road-worthy condition, and the insurance company agrees to pay the auto claim for the repairs. The car is now inherently worth less, even though it may not appear significantly different than it did before the accident.
Even if your car was repaired to “like new” condition, it now carries a damage history that will affect its resale value. Should you decide to sell the vehicle or trade it to a dealership, the diminished value will be less than you would expect to receive had the vehicle never been damaged. If your accident was caused by a third party, a diminished value claim against their insurer can allow you to reclaim some of your losses, but did you know that any part of the loss not reimbursed by the insurance company is tax deductible?
When your car is damaged in an accident and you file a claim with their insurance company, you are entitled to deduct any amount that isn’t reimbursed by the claim. This loss may be the result from an insurance deductible, losses that exceed your policy limits, or the undervaluation of property by the insurance company.
Property losses are reported on IRS Form 4684 and Schedule A of form 1040. You are not required to submit documentation with your tax return, but it’s a good idea to keep records in case you are ever subject to an IRS audit. Your records should include the amount of property loss, the amount of any reimbursement, proof of legal ownership of any damaged or destroyed property, and details of the accident (including whether it was or was not your fault).
You may be asking yourself “Why do I need to document details of the accident?” You are not allowed to claim a tax deduction for an accident that resulted from your own negligence or a willful act. Running a stop light or driving under the influence negates your ability to make a claim. Likewise, if you have given another driver permission to drive your car and that driver causes an accident, you cannot claim the deduction based on that driver’s negligence or willful accident.
A diminished value appraisal can assist you in determining the amount of loss you can claim as an itemized tax deduction on Form 4684 on your Federal tax return. In many cases, the cost of the car appraisal can also be claimed as an itemized deduction. More importantly, an appraisal performed by a certified appraisal company can help determine both the original value of the vehicle and the current value after repairs are completed. This will give you an accurate idea of the loss of value.
If you have had an accident and are trying to determine how you should report your diminished loss, contact AAG today for a diminished loss appraisal and save money on your taxes this year!
During the spring and summer most of us can hardly wait to get our classic cars out on the road again; summer is antique vehicle show, drive-in, and auction season; and even fall provides beautiful scenery for an afternoon drive. But when winter comes many antique vehicles go back into storage to protect them from harsh winter weather. Use these tips to keep your car gorgeous and ready to start up again in the spring:
Wash the Vehicle. Before putting your car into storage, it’s a good idea to wash and wax to help protect the vehicle. Washing removes any residue or contaminates that could damage the metal or paint while it’s waiting in storage, and your wax will help protect against temperature fluctuations. It also makes it easier to take the car out in the spring.
If you happen to take your car out during winter, pay special attention to washing away any salt that may be splashed onto the vehicle. Even if the roads are clear of snow or slush, there can still be salt residue that can corrode the undercarriage and destroy your paint. Chrome can be especially susceptible to salt damage and can easily become pitted from salt corrosion.
Ensure Quality Cover. It’s best to store an antique vehicle in a climate controlled environment, but if that’s not available to you a secure garage or building is a good option. A quality car cover that fits your vehicle correctly is recommended even when stored indoors. If you have to store the vehicle outdoors or under a carport, it’s even more important to have a high-quality cover that will protect the vehicle from rain, dust, and UV rays. If you have invested in a valuable vehicle, don’t protect your investment with a cheap cover that doesn’t fit correctly. A poorly fitted cover can blow off in wind, or may not cover the entire vehicle and protect it properly.
Treat The Leathers. In addition to washing the vehicle and keeping it covered, protect your vehicle by treating leather seats and accents. Dry winter air can cause leathers to dry out, crack, or become brittle. Cleaning and conditioning your leather before putting the car in storage ensures that it will look just as beautiful when you take it out in the spring. If you drive the car during the winter, make a point to clean the leather to remove any salt residue that may be in the car that could dry out the leather.
Protect the tires. Jacking and blocking the vehicle during storage not only takes the strain off the suspension it also takes the pressure off the tires preventing flat spots. If that’s not an option for you, put carpet under the tires and inflate them to the maximum air pressure. Temperature fluctuations can cause the tires to lose air over time.
Fill the fluids. Proper antifreeze is required year round, so don’t forget to check the quality of your radiator fluid when preparing for winter. Fill the gas tank with the highest-octane fuel recommended for your automobile to prevent condensation build up as temperatures change. If your vehicle will be exposed to frigid temperatures for days or weeks at a time, you can remove the battery and store it inside to extend its life or keep it on a trickle charger so it will be close if you want to periodically start the car.
To further protect your investment (and your favorite hobby), consider a vehicle appraisal from Auto Appraisal Group. Our value appraisals help establish the value of your vehicle to be used for insurance coverage, resale, taxes and more. Should winter weather drop a tree on your garage, your value appraisal will help protect your investment and get you the reimbursement you need to restore your vehicle as completely as possible. Call AAG Today!
Many classic car collectors face the challenge of obtaining a loan for an antique vehicle. Because antique vehicles typically do not qualify for traditional car loans, collectors turn to alternative lenders to get a loan for their dream car. It’s important to be aware of the hurdles and pitfalls involved in securing financing for an antique car just as it would be with any other type of loan.
Establish the Value of the Vehicle
A lender will want to know the value of the vehicle before approving a loan. Lenders need proof that the value of the property matches the value of the proposed loan. In the same way that a home appraisal is essential to the mortgage process to establish equivalent value between the loan and the home, lenders want to ensure that there is property collateral to back up the loan in the case of non-payment.
Bank loan appraisals can be an effective way to convince a lender of the viability of a loan. Not only will a well-documented appraisal reassure your lender, but it can also protect you should a vehicle show issues including improper restoration, hidden damage, or other problems that would not be obvious without an appraisal. The last thing you or your lender want is for the car to be worth significantly less than the loan, making it difficult or even impossible for you to recoup the loan amount should you need to sell.
Lenders also require that the vehicle be insured to protect against accidental loss. Look for an agreed value policy that will guarantee the loan will be paid-in-full should an unfortunate situation deem it a total loss.
Beware of Predatory Loans
Because classic car buyers face certain challenges in the loan process, there is a robust industry based on predatory practices that target those looking to finance a vehicle. Extremely high-interest rates, inflated down payments, and complicated contracts can be a sign that the loan is not on the level. Read contracts carefully and ask questions – if there is anything you don’t understand be sure to get the answers you need before signing anything.
In general, a good loan should include no more than a 10-20% down payment, and loan payments should be consistent and regular so that you always know what you’ll owe and when. Variable payment rates, particularly those that start high and decrease over time, can be a sign that your loan is intended to get as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time as part of a larger ploy. You should never sign any loan contract until you are completely clear about your payment schedule and your intended date of payment completion.
No matter where you secure a loan, you want to borrow as little money as you need at the lowest interest rate. A pre-purchase vehicle inspection allows you to make the best decision about the loan you’ll need. If the vehicle requires repairs or restoration, you will want to take into account these extra “after-purchase” expenses. It is often in your best interest to only borrow on the existing value of the vehicle. If you purchase a classic car without an inspection and discover that more work is needed than you had planned, you may have difficulty selling the vehicle or paying for the loan and find yourself stuck paying monthly for a vehicle that is essentially useless.
Knowing the accurate value of the car you are hoping to buy will make it much easier to obtain the right loan for an antique vehicle. Let AAG perform a pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle before you apply for a loan to make the most informed decision about how to finance your “dream car”. Call today to schedule your pre-purchase inspection or certified appraisal!
If you are the executor of a will or the owner of a car collection, you might have questions about how vehicles in an estate appraisal are handled. You may not even be sure if you need an estate settlement appraisal for the vehicles included in the estate. The overall value of an estate and the vehicles included in it play a major role in answering this question.
The legal process involved in settling an estate after an individual’s death is referred to as “probate”. Probate includes a proper assessment of the deceased’s property to determine whether or not the estate is subject to taxes and how the assets included in the will should be distributed. The value of “noncash” assets, including collectibles like antique vehicles, must be professionally appraised to establish their fair market value at the date of death.
In general, any vehicle with a value of over $5,000 should be documented in an estate settlement. Ideally, the original estate owner should have documentation for antique and collector vehicles, but even if proper appraisals have been completed previously, a “date of death” appraisal may be necessary to assess the current fair market value of a vehicle. This is particularly true in cases that involve the division of an estate between several inheritors. Since a vehicle can’t be cut into pieces and distributed among inheritors, the value of the vehicle can be very important to determine how the estate will be settled.
Should an estate be contested in court, an accurate and detailed appraisal is essential to ensure that all parties are treated fairly. Lawyers and accountants will use a documented appraisal to determine the value of a classic vehicle. The accuracy of this appraisal allows professionals to assess the best way to settle the estate and makes it possible for inheritors to distribute the value of a vehicle with the least chance for error or misappropriation of funds.
An accurate estate settlement appraisal is also an important part of determining inheritance taxes. A well-documented appraisal can save you thousands in taxes by providing the IRS with clear, accurate figures, rather than allowing them to estimate a fair market value that may or may not reflect the actual value of the car. Furthermore, knowing the value of the vehicle in relation to the taxes can help inheritors decide the best way to handle the vehicle in the settlement.
If you are currently writing a will or have been assigned as an executor, AAG can be your appraisal expert and help you get accurate, well-documented appraisals for antique and collector cars. We can produce the most accurate vehicle probate value to ensure that an estate is settled fairly, with the deceased’s intentions in mind.
Schedule your estate appraisal today and let us help you streamline the process of estate settlement.
The Detroit Autorama hosts the most prestigious competition in the custom auto world: the Don Ridler Award and the Great Eight finalists. The competition highlights the most beautiful, meticulously customized vehicles in the world, and winners can boast membership in the most prestigious group of custom designers in the industry.
In 2020, Auto Appraisal Group had the privilege of appraising one of the Great Eight Finalists, the Hess 1956 Oldsmobile 98 OLDSSLED. There isn’t a whole lot left of the original Oldsmobile 98, a testament to the excellent craftsmanship and workmanship displayed in this gorgeous custom car. This Pro Design Hot Rods custom was a crowd favorite at the show, showing off a SPARC design in a beautiful midnight blue paint job with a luxurious hardtop that grabbed the imaginations of the spectators.
Owner Jeff Hess fashioned his OLDSSLED with a 1950s aesthetic in mind, devoting years to build the custom vehicle and setting the bar for a 1950s-style custom. The design includes triple-plated chrome by Advanced Plating of Nashville, Tennessee, and components of the vehicle are painted in HOK Way Past Midnite Blue, including the boxed frame with air-ride suspension. The Oldsmobile 98 features a fuel-injected first-generation Chrysler Hemi engine, and the fully custom interior is impeccable, fabricated, and upholstered by Bill’s Auto Upholstery.
Details abound and impress in every feature. The Oldsmobile 98 sports a Carson padded removable hardtop, shaped bumpers, modified Corvette style grille, and a Frenched continental kit built into the trunk. Spectators were justifiably impressed by the metalwork on the vehicle and the general sense of luxury and attention to detail that is impossible to ignore.
AAG is honored to appraise such spectacular custom builds as the OLDSSLED. Our 30 years in business has provided us the opportunity to appraise many nationally recognized custom vehicles, factory prototypes, one-offs, and professionally customized vehicles. While the OLDSSLED didn’t win the 2020 Ridler Award it is company founder, Larry Batton’s pick as AAG’s Custom Car of the Year. Check out the links in the article to see interviews of the owner and builder as well as high lights from the 2020 Detroit Autorama.