Most Common Mistakes When Shopping for a Collector Car

Pre-purchase Inspections for Classic CarsNot Knowing What You Want

There are different types of collector cars just like there are different types of collectors. The collector who wants to spend time at car shows may be looking for a very different type of vehicle than the driver who merely wants to take friends and family out for a spin on a pretty Sunday afternoon. Knowing what you hope to get out of owning a collector car can help you determine where to shop and what kind of vehicle you want to buy. A pre-purchase inspection is more effective if you understand what type of collector experience you want to find.

Ask yourself what your dream of owning a collector car entails: Are you interested in showing at car shows? Will you be driving this car regularly to work? Are you hoping to buy an automobile that will increase in value and prove to be a wise investment? Or do you want to have something you can work on yourself and improve while enjoying the process of restoration and maintenance? Understanding your goals will narrow your focus and make it more likely that you will purchase the collector car you truly want, and can help you to discuss with an appraiser the specifics of your pre-purchase inspection.

Lack of Familiarity with a Qualified Mechanic

Classic Cars Pre-purchase InspectionClassic and collector cars come with their own needs, and a trusting, working relationship with a mechanic who is qualified to work on your collector car is a vital part of ownership. If the classic car you purchased is unrestored or an older restoration, the vehicle may need repairs or restoration as well. Even if you have purchased a restored car, the vehicle will need routine maintenance.

Maintenance, restoration and repair of a collector car require knowledge of authentic parts and methods to sustain the car’s originality. Not just any mechanic can be trusted – you need to know that your mechanic has experience with your auto’s special needs. If you have a reliable mechanic, you can discuss the findings from your pre-purchase inspection or certified appraisal and make a plan that will allow you to enjoy your new purchase sooner.

Unfamiliarity with the Driver Experience for a Specific Model

Prepurchase Auto Appraisal for Classic CarsOf course we all want to own a ’69 Ferrari GTO in racing red. Or you may think that a ’57 Chevy will provide the driving experience you’ve always wanted. But if you have never driven the vehicle you hope to purchase, you may not know enough for a test drive to give you an accurate idea of the condition of the vehicle. Without some knowledge and experience, it would be hard to determine if a collector car has stiff or poorly functioning controls, or if that is simply the nature of that particular model.

Classic Car Shopping and Prepurchase Inspection from Auto Appraisal Group, Inc.Furthermore, you might find that you don’t enjoy or simply can’t drive a vehicle with no power steering or power brakes. If you are short, you may not be able to see over the dashboard to drive safely, or if you are big and tall, you may not even fit into a tiny driver’s seat. Get to know the collector car you are hoping to purchase and make sure that the driving experience matches your expectations. Your pre-purchase inspection performed by an experienced appraiser can give you insight into a collector car’s condition and how well it represents the best possible driving experience for that vehicle.

Believing the Car Won’t Need Any Maintenance

All autos need maintenance, and in the case of collector cars, this can be particularly true. Whether you drive the vehicle or not, an old car will need routine maintenance. You may buy the vehicle in 5-star condition from a trusted seller, but what works on the car today may not work next week. Cars develop a wear pattern and when that pattern changes, it can develop problems that need attention. Plan for routine maintenance and inspections, and be prepared should the car need repairs. It is also a good idea to schedule an appraisal after major repairs or restoration to insure you have current documentation should you ever need to file an insurance claim.

Assuming You Won’t Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Prepurchase Inspection by Auto Appraisal Group, Inc.There are several details that are easy to miss, even if you are an experienced car collector with a garage full of successfully purchased automobiles. A pre-purchase inspection performed by a qualified appraisal company helps you to avoid missing important details, and ensures that you will receive the proper documentation to confirm the car’s value and condition. A certified appraiser, like those at AAG, can establish the value of the vehicle so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to buy a particular collector car.

Make an appointment to have a pre-purchase inspection completed an independent appraisal service like AAG. We provide the documentation needed to make an informed decision before you buy a collector car. Our appraisers provide the knowledge, training, and experience to compare your choice with other collector cars of the same make and model, equipping you with the most information and the ability to shop with confidence. Call us today to schedule a pre-purchase inspection, and enjoy shopping for your next collector car!

Two Great Fall Events in Pennsylvania

Auto appraisers know that car auctions can be an indicator of market value trends. Motivated sellers by the hundreds will descend upon Carlisle Fairgrounds for the Annual Fall Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Corral event on October 2nd through the 6th. Of special interest will be Thursday night’s & Friday night’s auctions. This is one of the best buying opportunities of the year. Look for great values as sellers are motivated to sell before winter sets in.  Don’t miss out.  Savvy shoppers could buy at Carlisle and sell the next week at the AACA Eastern Fall Nationals in Hershey on October 9th through the 12th. Both will present great buying opportunities with motivated sellers.  Let us help you negotiate the best deal.  AAG’s pre-purchase inspections and appraisal report can help you save money.  Stop by our tent and check out our appraisal specials.

See you there!

Larry

What’s the Difference Between AAG’s Pre-purchase Inspection and a Certified Appraisal?

What’s the Difference Between AAG’s Pre-purchase Inspection and a Certified Appraisal?A pre-purchase inspection’s purpose is to document the condition and features of a vehicle for a potential buyer who does not want to travel to the vehicle or who may not have the knowledge necessary to accurately assess its condition.  AAG agents are our client’s eyes and ears as they gather information during their inspection. 75-150 photographs are taken to document the details and condition of each automobile, inside and out.  A paint meter is used to determine areas where body filler has been used or repairs have been made.  Over 125 individual items of the auto are given a condition rating.  Additional information includes identifying numbers, copies of documentation, descriptions of options, aftermarket items, wheelbase measurements, drivetrain particulars, comments regarding the condition of components, operational and performance verification of features, as well as a test ride in the automobile to assess its roadworthiness.

AAG agents have a strong background of experience and knowledge and are tested and certified by the company before they start working with AAG.  They are available to speak with clients before and after the inspection.  Since we are appraising the condition of the auto we provide a condition report instead of an appraisal report.  However, the appraised value of the automobile is included in the verbal consultation that is part of every pre-purchase inspection that AAG provides.

A certified appraisal is a document that is created to establish the value of a vehicle for a specific purpose and is completed according to recognized standards within the industry.  Personal property appraisers are not regulated to the extent that real estate appraisers are. However, professional certified appraisers adhere to similar standards as applied to automobiles.  Certified appraisals are often requested by lenders, insurance companies, probate courts, families who are distributing property from estates, the IRS, individuals involved in claim settlements and a variety of other clients.  While an inspection should always be a part of the appraisal process, the appraiser’s report is the required outcome.

If a buyer is purchasing an automobile and needs an appraisal to secure funding or insurance, then both a pre-purchase inspection and a certified appraisal are required.  The pre-purchase inspection allows the buyer to make an informed decision and negotiate the best deal.  The certified appraisal allows the buyer to provide proof to their lender that they are funding a vehicle worthy of the loan amount. It can also provide insurers with documentation so they can arrange for the proper coverage to protect the buyer’s investment as it is being transported to its new home.

Too Good to be True

It is something that occurs all too frequently.  You see that ad for your dream car.  You know the one – you and your pals always talked about it, but it was always just out of reach.  Now, one shows up that meets all of the criteria and look at the price!  Woohoo!  You’ve got this; you can make it work!  Better hurry up and contact the seller before someone else snags it up.

Okay, you have contacted the seller and want to get some more information.  What’s that?  Lots of people calling and wanting it?  You’ll need to make a deposit and they will hold it for you until you can arrange full payment.  And they will arrange for transportation also?  Great, because you live out of state (or country).  Also, you will need to arrange for someone to come check it out, give it an in-person inspection.

They know all of the right words to use, how to use your emotions against you.  They want to keep you talking and telling them all about what it means to you and how you have always wanted one.  It is a great way to keep the stars in your eyes that don’t let you see the true condition of the vehicle until after you have bought it, gotten it home, and started really looking at it.

About that deposit – they do have a lot of people wanting this car, but you are the first to contact them so they will give you first dibs – they just need a little money down to hold it.  Everything is in order and – oh, did they tell you it is a matching numbers car? Very hard to come by.  Did you see all of the pictures they put on the ad? They show every angle and any imperfections.  This car is going quick and they are not sure there is enough time to have someone come look at it, but you are welcome to do so.

They are always accommodating and agree with you about everything.  They will even tell you that someone else had just bought it, but their financing fell through.

These are just a few of the many scenarios that occur on a regular basis in the collector and used car markets.  Sometimes you’ll end up paying more than you had planned, and sometimes there is no actual car for sale.  It was just a trick to get your deposit money.

Go ahead and keep looking for that dream classic you have always wanted.  Just slow down a little, take your time and think it through.  Most of the time if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If there is a sense that you need to hurry to get this vehicle, it should set up a caution flag for you.  Sure it will cost you a few extra dollars to arrange for an independent pre-purchase inspection.  That inspection can save you large sums of money and root out some dishonest sellers, some of whom do not have a car to sell.  Another thing it can do is show you through someone else’s independent and unemotional eyes and ears the true condition of that vehicle that may have been overlooked through your starry eyes.

There are people out there that only want to separate you from your money.  There is no car, the ad was made from taking stock photos off of the internet, and all of the popular catch phrases have been used to grab and keep your attention. That does not mean that there are not some very decent cars and sellers out there.  It just goes to show you that you need to be vigilant in the search and those you are dealing with – especially through the internet.  A pre-purchase inspection from a professional is well worth the cost.

Happy hunting!

Written by AAG Agent, Gary Goldsberry, Parker, Colorado

Do I Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Pre-Purchase Inspection - Close up of chrome and paint at trunk and rear lightsMisaligned ChromeModern car purchasing has changed dramatically from the traditional methods. Online purchasing and a shift towards buying classic cars as investment pieces has made the process both more convenient and more open to misuse.

The FBI and the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York recently uncovered a $4.5 million fraud ring that involved classic cars, indicting 25 defendants for running a nationwide scheme posting fake classic cars for sale online. Victims of the ring would respond to ads online and then be directed to shell corporations to pay for a car they would never receive. In most cases, the money lost was never recovered, and some victims were left with no choice but to continue to pay auto loans without ever receiving a car.

Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection - Note tear at bottom edge of door panelDoor Panel WearAAG’s professional inspection process has exposed fraudulent sellers in the past. Dishonest sellers won’t return calls when they discover we’ve been asked to complete an inspection. Or, agents have arrived at the address given by the seller to find empty lots and no cars for sale.

With the convenience of one-click shopping and online auctions comes the need to do your homework: the best way to protect yourself when buying a car is a pre-purchase inspection from a trusted and certified professional.

Pre-Purchase Car Inspection - 1959 Cadillac Fins1959 Cadillac FinsYou may be asking yourself “Do I need a pre-purchase inspection? I can probably go look at the car myself.” An experienced inspector can be your eyes and ears and will provide a detailed report that documents the vehicle’s condition. A professional pre-purchase inspection should include a market value consultation based upon the vehicle’s condition and documented history. An inspection can save you the cost and time of travel should you decide this vehicle is not the one that you want to purchase.

Make sure your pre-purchase inspection agent has been certified, and check to make sure they also provide the following:

    • • The opportunity to speak with your inspection agent before and after the inspection in case you have questions.

• A copy of the title or registration, pertinent receipts and information should be provided to the inspector by the seller.

• Documentation of all parts of the inspection, including notes on condition, originality, test ride results and paint gauge readings.

• Detailed photographs that provide first-hand evidence of the car’s complete condition, inside and out. Don’t rely on the seller’s photos alone.

• Data tag and vehicle identification numbers should be documented and decoded.

• Ask if your pre-purchase inspection company can provide a certified appraisal for insurance or bank loan purposes if you decide to purchase the vehicle.

• A value consultation with the master appraiser should be included. AAG utilizes its centralized database along with 30 years of experience to determine an accurate market value for the vehicle.

Pre-Buy Car Inspection - Photo of rust under mat in trunk
Under trunk mat
Pre-purchase inspections often uncover areas of concerns that may give you room to negotiate with the seller’s asking price.

Find an agent who is located near the vehicle in need of a pre-purchase inspection. AAG agents are located nationwide, allowing you to get a pre-purchase inspection promptly.

Before Buying Car Inspection - 1969 Lola T70 ReplicaLola CockpitIt is best to hire an inspector from an independent service, not one affiliated with selling or brokering cars. Pre-purchase inspection agents should work for you, rather than working to their own or the seller’s benefit.

Before you buy your next classic car, antique car or any other type of vehicle, have an independent pre-purchase inspection completed by an experienced, tested and certified AAG agent. AAG’s pre-purchase auto inspection service gives you the confidence to buy or walk away.

Read more about the case behind this article here.

Car Appraisal Process – How it Works

The Car Appraisal ProcessSo you’ve decided to get your car appraised. Understanding how the car appraisal process works can help you to find the right appraiser and get the most out of your appraisal.

A vehicle appraisal is a written estimate of the current value of the car based on the experience and training of the appraiser and current market trends. Appraisals are usually performed when a vehicle is bought, sold, or insured, and by collectors and hobbyists. An appraisal is also useful for determining the tax value of a donation, in estate cases, or in legal disputes after an accident.

Auto Appraisal ProcessAn appraisal will generally cost between $75 – $500. It may be tempting to choose the least expensive appraiser available, but the cheapest appraisals may be performed by inexperienced appraisers and produce inaccurate results. A standard appraisal should include:

– Date and location of the inspection
– Date the valuation is established
– A full, detailed description of the vehicle
– Methods used to establish a value
– Purpose of the appraisal
– Description of the appraiser’s qualifications including certifications
– Appraiser’s signature and physical address

Process of Car AppraisalsIf your car or vehicle is involved in a legal dispute or insurance claim, you may want the appraiser to provide expert testimony. This will incur additional charges.

Before your vehicle is appraised, it’s best to clean, wash and wax the vehicle and be sure that all basic maintenance has been completed (oil changes, fill all fluids, new filters). Be sure there is enough gas to take the appraiser on a test ride.

A certified value appraisal should include an onsite inspection of each auto by a certified agent. This inspection should include photographs of the vehicle and the agent should also gather pertinent historical information as available from the owner. A master appraiser should review all research and valuations, preferably with a centralized database at hand to ensure consistency.

Best Car Appraisal ProcessA properly performed appraisal done by a certified, experienced agent is always your best choice. An accurate estimate from a trained professional allows you and others to get the best value from your vehicle.

Interested in a Car Appraisal for your vehicle, or for a potential buy? Check out AAG’s Vehicle Appraisals and call us to schedule!

Classic Values: Determine the Value of Your Classic Car

Classic Values: How to Determine the Value of Your Classic CarClassic car collectors know that one of the most rewarding things about collecting vintage vehicles is how these cars tend to retain their value with proper maintenance and care. More importantly, they are aware that to protect the value of their investments, it is vital to know the value of their classic car, and to document it properly with a professional appraisal.

Determining the value of a classic car is very important, but it is not always a straightforward process. Restoration work (or the lack thereof), condition, rarity, connection to famous people, and region can all have an impact on the value of your classic car. Most collectors prefer to allow a professional appraiser to prepare an appraisal report for them because vintage vehicle appraisals can be very difficult for novices in the field. Classic car appraisals require an understanding of the required procedures used to determine a fair value in this specialty marketplace.

Condition and Restoration
In the classic car market, condition plays a major role in the determination of the value of the vehicle. Restored vehicles usually command higher prices than similar unrestored vehicles, but the quality of restorations and even the origin of the restorations can create a wide variance in value. This makes a professional appraisal a must for most collectors, some of whom may restore their own vehicles, or work with famous garages and custom shops.

Faithful record keeping of all maintenance and restoration work can be a great way to document the quality of work and to ensure that materials are original or correct. Restoration records should show materials and work done as well as how often the vehicle receives basic maintenance. Furthermore, maintenance records can show that there were no accidents, and that the vehicle was not left unattended for long periods of time.

Running vehicles will always fetch higher prices than those that are non-functional. It is equally obvious that dings, scratches and other defects in the exterior of the vehicle will cause the car’s value to drop. Decals, hood ornaments, and other trim can also have an effect on the valuation of a classic car.
Comparable Pricing
Location and region can have a surprising effect on the range of classic car values in the market. Professional appraisers study fair market values of comparable vehicles within the same regional market, which may or may not include online and auction prices, depending on the availability of these services to regional buyers.

Determining Classic ValuesOnline auction sites sometimes provide additional details that help to create an accurate picture of comparable prices for the same make and model of vehicle in the regional marketplace. It is important to understand comprehensively how regional markets change – the same convertible might fetch a high price in Southern California while in Boston it attracts relatively few buyers.

Rarity
When demand is greater than supply, values increase. Obviously classic cars are generally rarer than other vehicles on the market. Among these, there are even more unique cars that are more sought after and harder to find. Basic economics will lead you to the probability that the fewer produced and the harder it is to find a car, the more its price will inflate to reflect its rarity.

Certain limited edition vehicles are also in high demand in spite of their more recent vintage. A car can be highly prized and sell for an extremely high price at auction or in a private sale. In this case, rarity is actually the selling point for the car. In such cases, it is extremely useful to have a professional appraiser help to determine the value of these one-of-a-kind vehicles.

Provenance
Sometimes a car is more valuable because it belonged to or was used by a famous person or celebrity. Vehicles associated with famous people have been known to capture as much as 10 times their fair market value. Celebrity cars are often auctioned for charities and selling prices can often be much higher. This can make it very difficult to determine your classic car’s value without professional assistance and experience.

Celebrity ownership is just one way that provenance can affect value. Restoration garages with a reputation for high standards of quality can demand a higher value range than cars restored to similar standards by an unknown mechanic. Cars customized by famous names are often more sought after and can get a higher price.

Since the classic and vintage car market tends to retain value, it is fundamentally important to document your repairs and restorations and to have professional classic car appraisals done to protect your collector cars.

Car Valuation: How Much is My Car Worth?

How much is your car worth?At some point in every car owner’s life, you ask yourself “How much is my car worth?” Car appraisal is the process that allows us to answer this question, but not all appraisals are the same. An inaccurate appraisal can cost you a lot of money – so what is the best way to get the right value?

Online Price Guide tools provide averages of different models but they are not the value of any one particular vehicle. To establish the value of a specific vehicle, factors unique to that automobile like condition, maintenance history and originality should be considered.

When you appraise a car, the following factors should be accounted for:

Make
The make or brand of your vehicle can significantly impact its value, even if the car condition is excellent. Some cars have a reputation for rapid depreciation while others tend to hold steady in value. These “high performers” tend to carry anywhere from 45-60% of their value during the first three years of ownership while other brands drop to 35% during the same period.

Modifications
If you’ve added aftermarket parts to your vehicle, it can affect the market value of the car, in many cases negatively. Buyers worry about quality of workmanship, maintenance and warranties for non-standard parts.

Condition of the Exterior
Everyone knows that dings, scratches and other marks on the vehicle will affect a car’s value negatively. If you’ve had a custom paint job, that may also detract from the overall value of the vehicle. And remember – bumper stickers and decals count as defects in the vehicle’s paint job.

Car ValuationCondition of the Interior
Worn out mats, scratched interiors, torn or stained upholstery – these things are a sure-fire ticket to lowered value. And keep in mind that while the dog hair covering the seats may be removable, as long as it’s there, it lowers your car’s value.

Mechanical Condition
If you have kept a record of all maintenance on the vehicle, you can help retain value – not only will this record help to prove that the car has never had any major issues or accidents, but will also show that the vehicle has been well cared for, even if it spends most of its time in a garage.

Transmission, Preferences, Etc.
Factors like automatic versus manual transmissions, sport utility capabilities, convertibles, and other preferences can affect the value of a vehicle. The price you can expect to receive may change regionally – for instance, a convertible might fetch a high price in California, while in Colorado, a sport utility vehicle with manual transmission may be more popular.

Mileage
By and large, fewer miles means higher value. In some cases, a low mileage car may actually be in very poor condition and fall well below the average appraisal for the same vehicle with more miles, but in general low mileage is a benefit. The flip side to this truth is that a car may be in mint condition with 225,000 miles and still not sell well.

So now you’re probably scratching your head and thinking “This is really hard! And I should probably go vacuum my car….” You’re right, it’s not as simple as you might think to accurately determine what your car is worth.

You may need an appraisal to sell your car, or you may need it to receive the right benefits from an insurance claim or even in legal matters. If you are a collector, a thoroughly documented appraisal is a valuable asset. You know it’s important to get the right information – how do you get a dependable appraisal?

It is extremely important to get an appraisal from someone qualified and experienced in the field. Accredited appraisers for cars are a rare commodity, and looking for an individual appraiser by yourself can be a daunting task. Your appraiser may be called to defend his or her report in court, making certification and methods extremely important.

Auto Appraisal Group has a team of experts that have been certified and practice correct procedures and process of appraisal. Appraisals performed by just one person can only reflect the opinion of that one person. The certified agents at AAG are experienced, extensively trained and work closely with the Master Appraiser while utilizing AAG’s centralized database. This vast base of vehicle knowledge and appraisal experience allows us to create a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of your vehicle.

6 Things to Consider Before you Buy a Classic Car

  1. Documentation. Who? What? When? Where? Ask for copies of restoration receipts, maintenance records.  Who did the work? What was done? When was it done? Where was it done? Where has the car been driven? How has it been stored?  Other documents could include a copy of the build sheet from the manufacturer, window sticker or Maroney label.
  2. Ownership.  How long has the current owner had the car? Do the owners know its history or are they flipping it, trying to make a quick sale?
  3. Ask to see the title. What is the vehicle’s ID number?   Google it.  Old advertisements may still be available online. Look at both sides of the title. Is the title in the seller’s name, is it on consignment or are they floating the title? Look for words like salvaged, rebuilt, or a reissued VIN.
  4. Why is the car for sale?  How much will they take for it and why that much?
  5. Is the seller willing to have the car inspected by an independent appraiser?  If so, tell them you’d like to wait to make an offer on the car until after the inspection if it’s still what you’re looking for.  If they say OK, then move forward with the inspection.
  6. Never pay cash unless you are in a bank or safe location during the transfer of the money.

Don’t miss the Ford Nationals

Red Mustang at the Ford Nationals

Watch for record attendance at the next all-Ford Nationals in Carlisle on June 5-7.  This year we celebrate 50 years of the Ford Mustang and that includes honoring 50 years of the Shelby GT350  as well as a special GT-40 display.

As one of America’s favorite collector cars, the Mustang has seen an uptick in value as its anniversary celebration continues. The Auto Appraisal Group will host two seminars focused on value trends for the Mustang and Shelby GT350 over the past 50 years.  Come early to get a good seat and be prepared to participate in our classic car value “Fact or Fiction” fun.  Friday’s seminar is at 12 Noon and will review 50 years of Mustang values. Saturday at 1PM we will cover 50 years of Shelby values.

Don’t miss this special weekend presented by Carlisle Events, one of our country’s largest and most welcoming car show hosts.