How to Prepare a Vehicle For Sale

How to Prepare a Vehicle for SaleSelling 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.

Preparing to sell a VehicleGather 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.

Be sure you know your vehicle’s true value before selling – contact AAG for a vehicle appraisal by clicking here!

 

Is Diminished Value Tax Deductible?

Diminished Value Tax  Deductible Vehicle DamageDiminution 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.

Diminished Value AppraisalProperty 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!

Protect Your Antique Vehicle During Winter

Protect Your Antique Vehicle During Winter

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.

Protect Against Winter Vehicle DamageIf 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.

Winter Car Storage

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!

Acquiring Car Loans for Antique Vehicles

Car Loans for Antique VehiclesMany 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.

Antique Vehicle LoanBank 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.

Establish Antique Vehicle ValuesIn 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!

Estate Settlement Appraisals for Vehicles

Estate Settlement Appraisals for VehiclesIf 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.

Estate Settlement Appraisal for Vehicles with Auto Appraisal GroupShould 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.

When an Auto is a Work of Art

Auto Appraisal Group Classic Auto AppraisalThe 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.

Auto Appraisal Group Classic Auto AppraisalIn 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.

Auto Appraisal Group Classic Auto AppraisalOwner 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.

Auto Appraisal Group Classic Auto AppraisalDetails 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.

Auto Appraisal Group Auto AppraisalAAG 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.

Collector Cars: Know Your Values

Collector Car Value Appraisal with AAGKnowing the value of your classic car can affect your bottom line in so many ways. Vintage vehicles are often sold, purchased, and traded “among friends”, at auctions, and in situations where the agreed value is little more than a few words and a handshake. This may seem adequate for a car you intend to work on as a hobby and have little intention of driving (except on holidays), but knowing the exact fair market value of your antique car can be very important.

Taxes

It is not uncommon for the IRS to look into the value of a collector car and launch an audit if the value claimed on a tax form doesn’t seem to match the fair market value of a vehicle. The unfortunate truth is that many collectors don’t know the fair market value of their vehicle and may rely on the price they paid for the vehicle when claiming the car’s value for tax purposes. This can be particularly fatal if you’ve bought a car from a relative or a friend who did not price the car accurately (often as a kind gesture). You could end up being liable for taxes on a $25,000 car even if you only paid $5,000 for it.

You may be asking yourself, “But what happens if I really DID pay $5,000 for the car and then restored it to a $25,000 value?” This can also be troublesome without proper documentation. Should you decide to sell that vehicle and receive a full $25,000 for the car, you don’t want to pay taxes on the full profit when a large portion of the price of restoring the vehicle makes up for the difference between purchase and sale price. A lack of documentation showing the original value of the vehicle, the price of restoration, and the value at the time of sale can cost you a pretty penny.

Classic Car Value Appraisal from Auto Appraisal GroupInsurance

Many vintage auto owners will claim that their collector cars rarely leave the garage and that they have no intention to sell the vehicle, believing that they don’t really need to know the full value of their classic auto. It would be nice to believe that a car that is largely garaged and only driven on the 4th of July is safe from the type of insurance claims that require full knowledge of a vehicle’s value. Unfortunately negligent drivers rear end even antique cars, and there is just no way to know that an accident or theft will never happen and require you to file an accurate claim with your insurance company.

While insurance companies rarely question a claim on a classic car when the other driver is at fault, attorneys for the at-fault party may not be so quick to accept the value presented by the classic car’s owner. Without proper documentation of value, a claim can easily be disputed. Good paperwork helps you to defend your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

In situations where value can be helpful or even vital to the protection of your assets, a well-documented vehicle inspection can be critical. Whether you’re being audited by the IRS or defending an insurance claim, a carefully documented value appraisal can save you money, time, and hassle. A pre-purchase inspection can also help you determine if a vehicle has been properly valued and help you understand what your tax commitment may be.  Furthermore, a resale value appraisal will help you save money and get more for your restoration efforts.

Know what your vintage vehicle is worth! Contact AAG today to schedule a value appraisal or pre-purchase inspection and protect your investment.

Donating a Vehicle to a Non-Profit

Donating a Vehicle to a Non-ProfitMany car owners think that donating a vehicle is a great way to get ahead on taxes and avoid having to sell an unwanted car or pay to junk it, but the process can be fraught with pitfalls. Some charities are guilty of false advertising and self-dealing, while other organizations are for-profit intermediaries that give only a small contribution to charity. In some cases, it may actually serve a charity better (and prevent IRS auditors from calling) to sell the car and simply donate the proceeds.

In the case of vintage vehicles, the value of the automobile may make it worthwhile to look into the details of donation and put forth the effort to donate properly. The following tips will make it easier for you to donate in a safe and effective way:

Research the charity to which you donate. In order to claim the donation as a charitable deduction, the charity must have a 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS. Take the time to learn about the charity, too – organizations like Charity Watch rate charities and help you determine how well they process vehicles that are donated.

Itemize your tax deductions. The IRS has detailed rules about the amount you can claim, and you must itemize your car donation on your return. Furthermore, the charity to which you donate must qualify for you to receive full market value for the vehicle: donated cars must be used by the charity in their operations, improved by the charity in order to sell or use the vehicle, or donated or sold to a needy person for below market value. In all other cases, you can only deduct the amount received by the charity as proceeds from selling the car.

Get a receipt for the donation. You must get a receipt from the charity for the vehicle and documentation certifying the selling price of the vehicle within 30 days of the charity’s sale of the car.

Complete the appropriate IRS form. There are specific forms the IRS requires for you to deduct the donation based on the sale price or fair market value of the vehicle. If the vehicle’s fair market value or sale price exceeds $5000, you will be required to get an independent appraisal and complete Section B of Form 8283. For more information about the IRS forms necessary to deduct your vintage vehicle donation, visit the IRS web site.

Donating a VehicleDeliver the vehicle yourself. If possible, drive the vehicle to the charity yourself. This not only saves the charity money to make your donation more effective, but it also ensures that you are not giving your car to an unrelated, for-profit intermediate dealer. Be sure to sign over the title of the car to the charity and ask a representative to sign it as well. If the car is not road-worthy and the charity picks it up for you, make the person picking up the vehicle sign the title and take a picture or photocopy of it to prevent liabilities that can be charged to you or the new owner.

For even more information about donating a vehicle and tax deductions, read IRS publication 4303, A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations.

A great first step for any automobile donation is an independent appraisal by a certified appraiser. Not only can an auto appraisal of a vintage vehicle help you to deduct a donation, but it can also help you determine how and to whom you want to donate to. In some cases, it may make more sense to sell the vehicle yourself, while in others, it may be profitable for both you and the charity to donate the car directly. If you decide to sell the vintage vehicle on your own, the appraisal will help you to know what price to expect and help validate that price to potential buyers.

Auto Appraisal Group can help you to navigate the world of vintage vehicle donations – schedule a certified independent auto appraisal today!

Does an Antique Vehicle Need to be Restored for it to be Valuable?

Restored Vintage Vehicle AppraisalFor most of us the words “valuable antique vehicle” conjure up the image of a perfectly restored “fresh off the lot” vintage car. Obviously such a vehicle would be very valuable indeed, but many antique vehicles still hold value, even with very little or no restoration work having been completed. The reasons that collectors seek classic cars play a significant role in the determination of a vintage vehicle’s value.

Antique vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and offer different benefits to different types of collectors. If a vehicle is particularly rare or sought after, it can be extremely valuable to the right buyer. Hobby buyers may be interested in the car as a “project” and will welcome the need for restoration and the chance to own a unique gem that they have lovingly brought back to its former glory. Even a car past the state of restoration can be used for parts to a collector who enjoys the process of restoration.

Many modern buyers are interested in “patina” vehicles. These antique cars might be found in a barn or a garage and are then lacquered to retain the patina and rust that have resulted from neglect and age. This new fad has created a market for unrestored vintage vehicles, allowing sellers to fetch outrageous prices from collectors who covet the “rustic” look. There is some debate about whether or not these vehicles are actually worth what people are asking for them.

Restored Antique Vehicle AppraisalMany collectors will admit that part of the allure of working on a vintage vehicle is the social environment associated with the process. Going to auctions, conferences, and auto shows where restorers and collectors can share information and talk about their vehicles is part of the attraction for serious antique car restorers. Even a car that is eternally “in the shop” or that can supply rare parts for trade can be valuable to a collector who enjoys the lifestyle of vintage car collecting.

Even if your vehicle has not been restored, you should have a certified AAG agent assess the vehicle and get a certified appraisal. You might have a diamond in the rough, but even if your 1969 Station Wagon is just a piece of nostalgia collecting dust in the garage, it’s important to know what you have rather than to sell the vehicle for less than it’s worth!

Likewise, if you are considering purchasing an antique vehicle, an appraiser can help you determine a fair price for the vehicle based on your intentions. A pre-purchase inspection can be an important reality check, reining in the excitement of shelling out an enormous sum for a classic car that may end up being little more than a garage ornament. If you are looking for a decorative “patina” vehicle, an appraiser will give you the knowledge you need to negotiate a realistic price.

Contact Auto Appraisal Group today to make an appointment to have your antique car evaluated!

Don’t Settle For Less – AAG is Open and Ready to Serve!

The team at Auto Appraisal Group would like to assure you that Auto Appraisal Group and its agents have implemented best workplace practices in our home office and at on-site inspections. Your local AAG agents are working through the backlog of orders that have been placed and are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe during vehicle inspections.

As always, we are dedicated to providing outstanding customer service and we really appreciate your patience during this difficult time. We are eager to once more be of service to you, our loyal customers.

We would also like to offer a word of caution regarding on-line appraisals: many online appraisals do not include an inspection by an independent appraisal company and require instead that you complete the field inspection on your vehicle. While this type of appraisal may be easy to obtain, there is a strong likelihood that such appraisals will not be acceptable should a claim or a legal question arise in the future.

The requirements of a “Certified” appraisal demand that the vehicle has been properly inspected and the information presented in the report has been verified. While some companies may welcome the easy money they can make by offering a lesser online service, we don’t believe it is in your best interest and will do everything within our power to schedule your appointment at the earliest mutually convenient time.

We look forward to our continued relationship with our clients and to serving you regarding all your prepurchase inspection and auto appraisal needs.