Frequently Asked Questions about Car Appraisal

Car Appraisal FAQsWhat is a car appraisal, and when might you need one? AAG has been performing expert car appraisal services for more than 30 years – if you have a question, we have an answer! We have collected some of the most common questions about car appraisal here, but if you have more questions, simply give us a call!

What Is A Car Appraisal?

Simply put, an auto appraisal establishes a value for your vehicle. There are several types of appraisals, and what you plan to do with the appraisal value plays an important role in what type of appraisal you will need. Appraisal types include:

Insurance Value: Accepted by all insurers to obtain proper coverage.
Property Settlement: Used in estate or divorce settlements or to establish a trust.
Resale Value:  Establishes current market value to set the asking price.
Charitable Donation: Provides fair market value and includes IRS Form 8283.
Trusts & Estate Planning: Establishes value of assets to create a family trust.
Bank Loan Value: A certified auto appraisal for collateral or purchase.
Early Lease Termination: A certified appraisal that determines current value.
Expert Witness Testimony: An appraiser provides expertise about value.
Commercial Vehicles: Appraisals of a variety of motorized equipment.

If you aren’t sure which type of appraisal you need, check our website for a detailed description of each type of service, or call us to speak to a sales team member who can help.

Frequently Asked Questions about Car AppraisalHow Much Do Car Appraisals Cost?

There are several factors that make up the cost of your appraisal, including your reason for acquiring the auto appraisal and establishing the value of your vehicle. In general, it is based on the amount of time required to provide the inspection, research, and completed appraisal report. Custom, modified, exotic, and one-off vehicles may require a higher price tag for appraisal due to the knowledge and experience needed to assess them properly. Multi-car discounts are available as well as discounts for past and present military personnel and first responders. To learn more about our appraisal fees call us for a quote.

What Are Car Appraisals Used For?

As you can probably determine from the list of car appraisal types, there are many reasons why you might need a car appraisal. If you are a collector, you may want an appraisal as part of your portfolio or to establish the vehicle’s value for insurance coverage. Likewise, you may want your collection to be part of your family trust and an appraisal will help with estate planning. A car appraisal can be helpful when filing an insurance claim and can help you get the price you want for a car you are selling. Appraisals can be useful when settling property due to divorce, and if you choose to donate a vehicle, your appraisal will help you get the deduction you deserve at tax time. Appraisals and other historical documentation can make your collectible automobile more valuable.

Frequently Asked Car Appraisal QuestionsHow Do You Get A Car Appraisal? 

Car appraisals should be conducted by an impartial third party to ensure an accurate value. Car appraisals should also be performed in person when possible. Online car appraisals are often inaccurate and can result in losses that far exceed the savings you intended when you chose an inexpensive online option. Do your research to find a reputable appraisal company and discuss with them your reasons for seeking a vehicle appraisal. A reputable appraisal company will be able to provide certified, experienced agents and complete documentation, including legal documents and photos.

Do I Need a Car Appraisal?

Car appraisals are typically needed for legal purposes or for informational purposes to help you make a wise financial decision. The documentation provided goes far beyond the simple establishment of value, and if you are choosing to sell your vehicle, you are likely interested in current market value trends and need a range of value to help establish your asking price.  A collector would be interested in a more detailed appraisal that includes historical documentation. If you are looking to buy a vehicle, you may actually need a Pre-Purchase Inspection, which can save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Questions about Car AppraisalOur certified vehicle appraisers provide the information you need to independently determine the value of your vehicle. Our agents inspect your vehicle onsite, taking photographs and collecting pertinent history from the owner. Our master appraiser oversees all research using our centralized database to establish a reliable value that can be used for whatever purpose you choose.

If you are ready to schedule an appraisal, visit our website and use our scheduling form to get started, or call our office any weekday at 800-848-2886!

Common Vintage Vehicle Scams (And How to Spot Them!)

Common Vintage Vehicle ScamsThanks to the internet and websites like Craigslist, it has never been easier to buy or sell a vehicle on the secondary market. Private car sales negotiated between individuals can be the source of great finds or nasty scams – high rewards are possible, but so are devastating losses. Avoiding these scams is essential, and the best way to avoid them is to learn how to spot them.

Selling Your Car: Signs of Trouble
Some signs that your buyer may not be “on the level” include:

Common Vintage Vehicle ScamsACH Transfer Fraud: ACH transfers occur when money moves between banks electronically. You may be asked to provide account information or send money to your account. After a few days, the buyer claims the transfer was unauthorized and will attempt to keep your money AND your vehicle.

Fake Mobile Deposits: The buyer might ask to log into your mobile banking app to deposit funds into your account, but instead of depositing money, they remove funds and put the money into their account instead.

Deferred Payments or Loans: A buyer might ask you to wait until they receive a paycheck or a settlement payment, at which time they will pay in full. They may also ask for a loan on part of the amount. It should come as little surprise that they then disappear with the car.

Common Vintage Vehicle ScamsOverpayment: This is a common scam in which the buyer sends a cashier’s check or money order for more than the agreed-upon price. In this scam, the buyer never sent a legitimate check or money order in the first place. When you are asked to send a refund on the overpayment, the buyer disappears with your money before you realize the original payment was illegitimate.

 Selling Safely
You can protect yourself from these scams with a little extra care and caution. Always meet with your buyer in person in a public place, even if the sale originates online. Be sure that you only accept certified checks when selling, and consider an escrow account for buyers that are not in your area. An escrow account can reduce the risks of fraud and allow you to confirm that funds have cleared with the escrow service before you ship your vehicle.

Common Vintage Vehicle ScamsBuying a Car: Common Scams
Watch for these scams when buying a vehicle:

Priced Below Market Value: What you find generally is also true in car-buying: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters will often post enticing pictures of exotic cars with prices that seem far too low. When you contact the scammer, they will tell you the car is actually out-of-state or even out of the country. They will then ask for money to ship the car – a car that most likely doesn’t exist.

False Escrow Services: Escrow services are a legitimate way for sellers to protect money, but sellers can also lie and claim to use an escrow service in order to get you to transfer funds before the car can be shipped. The scammer will then break the contract once the funds clear.

Common Vintage Vehicle ScamsSight Unseen: It should be a giant red flag any time a seller expects you to buy a car without seeing it first. The seller may claim they are too busy to meet you, or they may even offer a fake inspection report to convince you that the car is in working order. In truth, the car may not even run – or exist – at all.

Buying Safely
You can protect yourself as a buyer by following a few simple steps. Performing a vehicle history check can alert you to repairs, accidents, and other signs that the car may be a lemon. You can use any of the reputable services online, like CarFax, Auto Check, and Vin Check Pro to perform a history check; but know that they only know what is reported to them. Not everything gets reported. History reports do not show you the current condition and providers do not know the current value.

It’s also a good idea to check for liens on the vehicle. Verify that the owner’s driver’s license matches the information on the car’s title, and visit the local DMV to find out about liens on the vehicle.

Common Vintage Vehicle ScamsScammers count on buyers to be uneducated, and many scams rely on the ability to hide damage before the sale. This is especially true of vintage vehicles, whose value may depend on the use of OEM parts and original paint. It can be hard for the average buyer to spot the little differences that can cost thousands of dollars. The best way to protect yourself from paying more than you should is to have the car inspected. Prepurchase inspections ensure that you know exactly what you are buying and prevent surprises after the fact.

If you are considering buying or selling a vintage vehicle, a certified inspection from AAG can be a real lifesaver! Whether you are trying to prove the authenticity of a vehicle you are selling or verifying the value of a vehicle you wish to purchase, an appraisal or inspection gives you the knowledge to proceed with confidence. Contact us today to schedule!

Why Did My Vehicle Appraise For Less Than I Thought?

Why Did My Vehicle Appraise For LessDuring the 30 years that AAG has performed vehicle inspections and appraisals, we have faced our fair share of car owners and classic car collectors who are not happy with their appraisal results. While any vehicle appraisal should document the criteria for an appraised value, many vehicle owners may wonder why their vehicle was not appraised at the value they expected. We wanted to provide some insight into the common reasons your appraisal may be lower than you expected, and what you can do about it.

Vehicle Comps
One source of market research is a list of comparable vehicles that have recently been sold. The comparison to similar vehicles can provide a realistic understanding of your vehicle’s value. If these “comps” have lost value or if your assessment of your vehicle’s value is inflated, your appraisal could come back lower than you expected.

Why Did My Vehicle Appraise For LessIf comparable vehicles have experienced a drop in value recently, it may be due to a flood of similar cars in the market. If you are unhappy with your appraisal, you can wait for your vehicle’s comps to gain value as the market is depleted and schedule a new appraisal. This is especially useful advice when appraising collector cars. Collector values can wax and wane in proportion to current trends and supply: a short supply quickly raises values, and an oversupply quickly lowers them.

Misleading Media
It is not uncommon for collector car owners to see a car similar to theirs listed at a certain price on television or online and assume that their car must be just as valuable. Unfortunately, media can be very misleading: television shows inflate their prices to heighten the drama and online media use inaccurate information to “click-bait” viewers and lead them to advertisements. Some car owners feel that they have been cheated if the result of their appraisal comes back much lower than what TV and the internet have led them to expect. Such misinformation makes it essential to obtain an appraisal from an impartial third party like AAG that does not benefit from the value of the vehicle they appraise.

Why Did My Vehicle Appraise For LessBecause each vehicle has been exposed to different conditions, usage and wear patterns, owners shouldn’t rely on book values or price guides, especially for collector cars. Price guides are an average of vehicle prices and not the value of a specific vehicle.

Vehicle Condition
Most of us love our cars just enough to impair our ability to determine the vehicle’s condition accurately. In some rare cases, an owner finds out that their car is worth more than they ever dreamed possible, but in many cases, we have an inflated sense of how well our cars have resisted wear and tear. Collector cars can be more complicated: the quality of your paint job can change the value of your appraisal.

If your goal for an appraisal is to get the highest possible value, have your vehicle cleaned and detailed, keep up with maintenance and repairs, and be sure repairs are done with OEM parts. Collectors should gather all documentation about repairs and alterations to the original vehicle and have these documents available for review during the appraisal inspection.

Hearsay History
Why Did My Vehicle Appraise For LessA common problem appraisers encounter is when an owner claims that there is a noteworthy history attached to a vintage vehicle without documentation to substantiate the claim. If a collector car was owned or driven by a famous person or if it was once part of a museum collection, you must have appropriate documentation for your vehicle’s history to affect your appraisal. Without documentation, these claims mean nothing to a potential buyer and therefore add no value to the appraisal, no matter what an owner might expect.

Inaccurate Documentation
Our auto appraisers take a wide variety of criteria into account when compiling an appraisal value. An AAG agent will carefully inspect any documentation you provide, and will likewise analyze your vehicle in great detail. If your documentation is visibly inaccurate, it will affect your appraisal. Most commonly, our agents will find non-OEM parts on a car that has no history of repairs.

An easy way to avoid surprises on your appraisal is to make sure that any used vehicle you purchase undergoes a fully documented pre-purchase inspection. Once you own the car, keep accurate records of your repairs, maintenance, and other changes you have made to the car, and always insist that your vehicle be repaired with OEM parts.

Why Did My Vehicle Appraise For LessRestoration Costs
A large financial investment in restoration is good for your local economy and for your personal enjoyment of your vehicle.  Supporting local restoration businesses where artisans and technicians make a living using their skills to restore, rebuild and even fabricate custom items, allows you to get what you want as long as you are willing to pay for it. However, the financial investment will not always increase the value of the vehicle by an equal amount.  The cost of labor adds up and the market value of the vehicle rarely keeps up with that cost.

Your fully documented appraisal will equip you to sell, trade, or insure your vehicle for the proper amount, but keep in mind that market values may dictate the best time for an appraisal, particularly for collector cars. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appraisal!

The Best Museums to Donate Your Antique Vehicle

Donate Antique Vehicle to LeMay Collections at MarymountDonating a classic, antique, or collector car to a museum can be a terrific way to give back to the community and keep the rich history of vintage vehicles alive. Donating a collector automobile is different from donating a normal modern vehicle, although the process shares some basic principles (for general tips on how to donate a vehicle successfully, read our recent article about Donating a Vehicle to a Non-Profit). Collector and antique vehicles have the unique opportunity to become part of a museum collection, but how do you find the right museum?

The list below includes some of the most prestigious auto museums in the United States that accept donations and gifts:

America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington
America’s Car Museum was started by a donation of automobiles from the Harold LeMay Family’s collection and includes a wide variety of vehicles ranging from a famous Peking-to-Paris Citroën 2CV to a 1983 Mercury Colony Park station wagon. The collection explores the history and evolution of American mobility and automotive lifestyles. Learn More…

AACA National Headquarters & Library

The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based club is the oldest and largest such organization in the United States.  Its new facility houses a special display of vehicles, memorabilia, and the largest public automotive library known to exist.  As a 501 C 3 AACA welcomes donations of automobiles, literature, and selected memorabilia. Learn more…

The AACA Museum, Inc.
The AACA Museum, Inc. has built an antique automobile collection entirely based on the contributions of thoughtful automotive collectors. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate with a collection made up of over 175 vehicle donations. Learn More…

The Blackhawk Museum
The Blackhawk offers collectors several options for donation, allowing donors to choose between donating to the Wheels for Wheelchairs programs, the Children’s Education and Transportation Fund, or donating a gift to keep the Museum running. Learn More…

The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum
We have affiliated with the world-renowned Gilmore car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Because of its partnerships with other museums and collections, its outstanding facilities, and beautiful campus with year-round access to its exhibits, the Gilmore Car Museum is the destination of car enthusiasts from all over the world. The Cadillac & LaSalle Club Museum & Research Center is a premier attraction at Gilmore. Learn More…

Donate to Boyertown Museum of Historic VehiclesBoyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles
Discover Pennsylvania’s Transportation History at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles! See vehicles of all types: gasoline, electric, and horse-drawn, including carriages, wagons, and sleighs. You will see ‘high wheelers” and “safety bicycles,” vehicle builder’s tools, and local historic roadside architecture. Learn More…

The California Automobile Museum
This wonderful museum includes more than 150 classic cars and trucks exhibited in groups based on historical context. The museum is always looking for new donations to keep its exhibits comprehensive and up-to-date. Learn More…

The Gilmore Car Museum
The Gilmore collection consists of more than 250 vehicles, 7500 automotive artifacts, and almost 500,000 archival and library items. The collection rotates items to tell the story of transportation in America. Learn More…

The Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum offers educational experiences that include authentic objects and stories about the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation of the legendary Ford automobile. Exhibits celebrate the traditions of the past and the path that led to the modern Ford automobile.Learn More…

The Lane Motor Museum
The Lane Museum is one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars. Some cars are in showroom condition, while others represent typical aging. Efforts are made to restore each vehicle to near-original specifications. Learn More…

The Larz Anderson Auto Museum
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum is dedicated to educating the public about automobiles and their impact on society. The changing exhibits offer insight into how we think, use, and feel about cars. Learn More…

The LeMay Collections at Marymount
Founded by Harold & Nancy LeMay, this museum showcases over 500 vintage vehicles – primarily American-made cars, trucks, buses, fire engines, motorcycles, and more. Recognized as the world’s largest privately-held collection and located on the historic Marymount campus in Tacoma Washington, it is managed by the LeMay Family Foundation. Learn more…

The National Corvette Museum
The National Corvette Museum preserves the past, present, and future of one of the world’s most popular vehicles. The 115,000 square foot facility located on 55 acres includes the world’s only General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant. Learn More…

The Petersen Automotive MuseumThe Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum was rated by CNN, Octane, and Top Gear as “the world’s greatest automotive museum”. The Museum is also used as a venue space that has hosted some truly glamorous celebrations and continues to host presentations, weddings, social receptions, conferences, and much more. Learn More…

The Savoy Automobile Museum
Officially opening 12.8.21, Savoy Automobile Museum connects people to the cultural diversity of the automobile. Through changing exhibits, educational programs, and engaging experiences individuals have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and history of automobiles. This world-class museum and showgrounds sit on approximately 37 acres in Cartersville, GA just off I-75, between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Learn More…

The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
As one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum contains more than 75 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, and more. Rare and vintage race cars are the primary focus of exhibits, but more common automobiles are also accepted as a way to support the Museum and its educational initiatives.
Learn More…

No matter what vehicle or where you choose to donate, it is important to make sure you know the fair market value of your vintage vehicle or classic car. Knowledge of your car’s value will help you to get the most out of your deduction and help you to avoid tax mishaps. AAG can help you determine the true value of your car with a Charitable Donation Value Appraisal and allow you to make the best decision about your donation. Call us today for more information!

The Top 5 Reasons Classic Car Buyers Walk Away

Tips for Selling a Classic CarIf you are preparing to sell your classic or antique car, you should prepare yourself and your car for the process! Whether you are selling the vehicle yourself or selling it at auction, there are some common mistakes that you will want to avoid that can prevent classic car buyers from walking away.

The advertising misrepresents the car. Be honest about your classic car when you advertise. It can be tempting to create an ad that makes your car look even better than it does in person, but this can be frustrating for an antique car buyer. Make sure the ad includes all information about the make and model of the vehicle, and don’t boast about its condition unless you are sure that your classic car is worthy of the praise. Having an appraisal performed before selling an antique car can help you to accurately describe the vehicle for buyers so that they are not disappointed when they see the car in person.

Selling your Classic CarThe car is overpriced. Do your research and make sure you know what price similar classic cars are demanding. This is another reason that having a fully documented appraisal can be extremely useful when selling your classic car. A certified appraisal agent can not only provide insight into what constitutes a reasonable price for both buyer and seller, but your fully documented classic car appraisal is a concrete way to justify the price you are asking.

The origin of the vehicle is unclear. Classic and antique vehicles are collected for a wide variety of reasons, and buyers of classic cars are most often very interested in the origin of the car. Be sure to have all documentation ready so that you can inform a buyer about where you obtained the vehicle, how it was maintained, any repairs that may have been done, and whether or not it has been restored. If you don’t have the title, make sure you have clear and accurate documentation to prove that the vehicle belongs to you and can be transferred legally. Registration or a sales receipt is usually sufficient.

The car displays mechanical issues. If your classic car is a hobby car, you may not drive it much and may not be aware of mechanical issues or may not have repaired them. Nothing is more disappointing to a potential buyer than the realization that the classic car they came to purchase isn’t in good working condition and requires costly repairs to be road-worthy. As mentioned previously, be sure to advertise the vehicle properly if it is not currently road-ready and requires repairs. If you choose to have the car repaired before the sale, be sure to keep records of what repairs were done, by whom, and what parts were used in the repairs.

Buying a Classic CarThe restoration of the vehicle was done improperly. Classic car restoration is an art, and classic car collectors will want to know if the car was restored when the work was done and by whom, and what parts, paint, or other materials were used as part of the restoration. Good records and documentation are a must for anyone selling a classic car – without them, it can be difficult if not impossible to prove that the car was restored properly. If you are not sure whether your antique car has been restored or if the restoration was done correctly, a certified auto appraisal can help.

If you are preparing to sell a vehicle, a vehicle appraisal from AAG can help make the process easier and more successful! We can provide a range for the vehicle’s worth and can give you a solid idea of what constitutes a fair price. Our comprehensive documentation offers you the confidence that your vehicle is priced properly and that all details are accurate and well-represented.

Call us today to have your classic car appraised and sell your antique vehicle with confidence!

How to Sell a Vehicle at Auction

how to sell car at auctionSelling 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:

how to sell vehicle at auctionSet 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!

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.