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!

Pre-Purchase Inspections: Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Purchase Inspections: Frequently Asked QuestionsIf you are interested in a pre-purchase inspection for a potential vehicle purchase, you may find yourself asking a lot of questions. How do pre-purchase inspections work? How much do they cost? Are they even worth it?

At AAG, we have heard (and answered) every question there is about pre-purchase inspections. We have provided this list of frequently asked questions to answer the most common questions we hear from customers. If your question isn’t answered below, give us a call! With over 30 years of experience in the pre-purchase inspection business, we have an answer.

What Is A Pre-Purchase Inspection?

A pre-purchase inspection is a detailed assessment by a qualified individual to document the condition of a vehicle to help the potential buyer make an informed decision to buy or not to buy.

how do pre-purchase inspections workHow Do Pre-Purchase Inspections work?

AAG’s certified agents perform detailed research about all types of vehicles and provide a comprehensive report about the vehicle’s condition. This report includes detailed photographs, title information, and receipts pertaining to any repairs or restorations. You are able to speak with the inspecting agent before and after the inspection about any concerns you may have. You can also speak to an AAG appraiser if you would like an opinion of the value based on our inspection. To learn more, read our blog post: How Do Pre-Purchase Inspections Work?

How Much Do Pre-Purchase Inspections Cost?

Generally, a prepurchase inspection costs somewhere between $425 and $750. The higher cost for custom and modified automobiles reflects the time and care required to research and document a custom-built vehicle. Antique and vintage automobile appraisals require extensive knowledge and detailed documentation. The value of a classic or antique car can affect insurance costs and estate value, and is vital as part of the sale process –collectors often claim that the higher price associated with a certified agent and skilled auto appraiser is well worth it in the long run. To learn more about the cost of pre-purchase inspections, read our blog post: How Much Does a Car Appraisal Cost?

what do pre-purchase inspections includeWhat Does a Pre Purchase Inspection Include?

We want you to stay informed throughout the whole process! That’s why we include a consultation with an AAG-certified agent before and after inspection. Once the inspection has been completed, you will receive a 15-page condition report documenting all details. This includes origin and condition, test ride results, paint gauge readings, detailed photographs of the vehicle’s condition, a copy of the title, and any provided receipts. Reports provide decoding and identification numbers, and your agent will review the report with you and answer any questions you may have. We do take a test ride or test drive as long as the vehicle is street legal and the seller allows us to do so. You will receive a current market value consultation, and if you purchase the vehicle, you have the option to purchase a certified appraisal certificate for insurance or bank loan purposes.

Why Do I Need a Certified Agent to Perform My Inspection?

AAG’s agents are tested and certified so that your pre-purchase inspection is performed by an experienced professional who can accurately assess your potential purchase. Having a fresh set of eyes that aren’t interested in purchasing the vehicle is extremely beneficial! The inspecting agent will discuss the vehicle with you before and after the inspection so that your questions and concerns are properly addressed. AAG Agents are trained to look for details that might go overlooked by inspectors who are unfamiliar with antique, classic, vintage, or late-model vehicles. AAG does not buy, sell, or broker automobiles, making your interest our only concern. We have set the industry standard by providing prompt, independent, reliable pre-purchase inspections and auto appraisals that you can trust.

Pre-Purchase Inspections: Frequently Asked QuestionsDo I Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

In our professional opinion, Yes! But, you expected us to say that. If you are driving a brand new car off the lot, then no, you don’t need a pre-purchase inspection. If you are buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a reputable dealer, the dealer has probably already performed an inspection. However, if you are buying any vehicle second-hand, there is a chance the seller may not be telling the whole truth about the vehicle in order to sell it to you. An investment in an independent, unbiased pre-purchase inspection could save you thousands in repair costs or by lowering the negotiated selling price. With 30+ years in business we have spent a lot of time fine-tuning our inspections to make them the best for our clients!

How Do I Get a Long Distance Pre-Purchase Inspection?

If you are considering purchasing a vehicle second-hand or purchasing a vehicle that’s not in your area, AAG’s certified agents can assist you in being your eyes and ears to help make an informed decision! Our inspectors provide detailed research and reporting on any type of vehicle, including classic, antique, and collector cars, as well as late model daily drivers. You can call 800-848-2886(AUTO) or 434-295-1722 to schedule a pre-purchase inspection right now, or schedule your inspection online! We have agents located across the country to make it easy to get your inspection without traveling. International callers can call 011-434-295-1722.

paint thickness reading by prepurchase inspectorWhat Do We Provide That Other Companies Don’t?

Our agents are trained, tested, and certified through us. They have extensive knowledge and backgrounds with vehicles! Our inspections include over 350 checkpoints throughout the vehicle. Other inspection services don’t even come close! With that many checkpoints, our reports are much more thorough. When we quote our price for our service that includes everything, travel to the site, decoding, appraisal value consultations, etc. There are no hidden fees.

If you still have questions, we encourage you to call us or complete our scheduling form and we’ll call you. We will be happy to use our experience to help you better understand pre-purchase inspections. Call today!

Beware of Flood Damaged Cars

Beware of Flood Damaged CarsRecent catastrophic flooding in the US has left many aftershocks in its wake, just one of which is the many cars that experienced flood damage. When it comes to vehicles, flood damage usually qualifies as a total loss, but indiscriminate sellers and scammers often try to cover up the signs of flood damage in order to get rid of an undesirable vehicle. The current onslaught of flooded cars makes it more important than ever to be vigilant when purchasing a vehicle. The following tips will help you spot flood damage:

Signs of Flood Damage

Recently replaced fabrics. Fabrics and upholstery used in the seats and carpets of a car are more likely to show water staining from flood damage. If a vehicle’s fabrics look like they have been recently replaced, it could be a sign of flood damage. New seats and new carpet might look good at first glance, but they could be covering up much bigger issues.

Beware of Flood Damaged CarsRust in unusual places. If you see rust in odd places where a car doesn’t usually get wet, it’s a red flag that the car could have been in standing water or even underwater! Look for rust in the interior of the car, particularly in the metal brackets under seats. Rust under the hood is also a telltale sign of flood damage.

Excessive rust.
Excessive rust is a warning sign in any vehicle, but when a newer model shows signs of rust, it could be a warning sign. Excessive rust is also suspicious if the seller claims that the vehicle originated from a dry area (such as California or New Mexico). Rust can form very quickly if a car is sitting in salt or brackish water, which is common if the flooding occurred in coastal areas or locations that experience hurricanes.

Scams to Watch Out For

Suspicious origins. Selling a flooded vehicle is a common car scam. In many cases, sellers bring vehicles from Florida and Louisiana to the Northern and Western states where buyers are less familiar with the signs of flood damage. In other cases, sellers will lie about the origin of the vehicle in the hopes that buyers will assume that the possibility of flood damage is low.

Title-washing. When a car has sustained water damage but is still drivable, it is assigned a “salvage title” that informs future buyers that there is some risk associated with the vehicle. Scammers may register that title in a different state where clerks are not familiar with foreign salvage markings in the hopes that the car will be assigned a regular title. It is difficult for the average buyer to spot this kind of scheme without experience and background investigation, making a pre-purchase inspection done by an experienced professional vital.

Beware of Flood Damaged CarsBuying sight unseen. Never buy a vehicle sight unseen. Some sellers will claim that they cannot meet you and that the photos are accurate enough. In other cases, sellers may be out of state and refuse to travel. Don’t be tempted to buy the car unless you or a certified inspection agent has viewed the vehicle in person.

The recent rise in popularity of used cars has made it harder to find a reasonably priced used vehicle. Combine this factor with the recent flooding in the US and it’s not surprising that flooded vehicles are appearing for sale from unscrupulous sellers, making a used car purchase a risky endeavor. You can eliminate the risk and increase your chances of finding a vehicle that is right for you at the right price by engaging a certified auto appraisal company to perform a pre-purchase inspection. An AAG pre-purchase inspection will provide the information and the documentation you need to proceed with confidence. Call us today to schedule!

How Do Pre-Purchase Inspections Work? We Can Tell You!

How Pre-Purchase Inspections WorkSo you’re considering a pre-purchase car inspection – congratulations! You are taking an important step toward making an informed decision about an important investment. But how does a pre-purchase inspection work? How do you begin, and what should you expect?

A pre-purchase car inspection allows you to obtain detailed information about a used, classic, vintage, or antique vehicle. AAG’s certified inspection agents perform detailed research about all types of vehicles and provide a comprehensive report about the vehicle’s condition. This report includes detailed photographs, title information, and receipts pertaining to any repairs or restorations. You will be able to speak with the certified auto inspection agent before and after the inspection about any concerns you may have.

What to Expect From Pre-Purchase InspectionsAAG Pre-Purchase Inspections include:

  • Consultation with your AAG Certified Agent before and after inspection.
  • An in-depth, 15-page condition report that documents the origin and condition of the vehicle, including test ride results and a detailed schematic of paint gauge readings.
  • Pre-purchase inspection reports include decoding and identification numbers at no extra charge.
  • Detailed photographs that show the vehicle’s condition, inside and out. You will also receive a copy of the title or registration and any receipts or information provided by the seller. The report and photos will be available in your Pre-Purchase Inspection Portfolio online to be viewed and downloaded as needed.
  • Your inspection agent will review all inspection materials with you and remain available for any questions you may have about the car’s condition.
  • Pre-Purchase Inspections with Auto Appraisal GroupYou will be provided a current market value consultation after all research and analysis of the current market have been completed.
  • You have the option to purchase a vehicle appraisal certificate to document the vehicle’s condition and value for only $150. This certificate can be used in reference to insurance and lending requirements.

AAG does not buy, sell, or broker vehicles, allowing us to work solely in your best interests. Our certified agents have set the industry standard with prompt, reliable, and personal pre-purchase inspections that you can trust. Our pre-purchase inspection agents work not to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t buy, but to provide you with all the information you need to take an educated step in the right direction.

How Pre-Purchase Auto Inspections WorkReady to schedule your pre-purchase inspection? It’s easy! Call us at 800-848-2886 between 9:00 – 5:00 Eastern Time or fill out our online form. We have offices nationwide to serve you wherever you need us. Most pre-purchase inspections are scheduled within 48 hours of your order. Let our certified pre-purchase inspection agents help you to make the right decision!

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!

How Much Does a Car Appraisal Cost?

How much does a car appraisal cost?There are a variety of reasons why a vehicle owner might need to have a car appraised. You may need to establish an accurate value for a vehicle you wish to sell, or perhaps you need to know the value of a car for insurance purposes. Other owners may require an assessment of value as part of an inherited estate, or as part of a divorce settlement. Why you need to have your car assessed can be an important factor in determining what type of appraisal you need and how much that appraisal will cost.

In general, a vehicle appraisal will cost somewhere between $275 and $550, although the cost can be higher for custom and modified automobiles. In such cases, higher prices reflect the time and attention to detail required to properly research and document a custom-built vehicle. Antique and vintage automobile appraisals require extensive knowledge and involve careful documentation and evaluation. The value of a classic or antique car is important for insurance and estate purposes, and is crucial in the sale process – most collectors will tell you that the higher price associated with a skilled and experienced classic auto appraiser is well worth it in the long run.

The value of your car and the reason you choose to have it appraised are key factors in determining the cost of an auto appraisal, but you will also need to consider travel. If you bring the car to the agent, your appraisal will usually cost less than if the agent must travel to the car to complete the inspection. Dealerships will often claim that they are cheaper than a professional appraiser simply because you can bring your car to them, but it’s important to remember that a dealership appraisal is usually offered as part of a trade-in for a new sale, and such an appraisal may not reflect the fair market value of your car.

It’s not surprising to find that the more research needed to appraise a car, the more likely the appraisal will be more costly. Likewise the more documentation you need to include in the appraisal, the higher the fee will be. Classic cars, luxury vehicles, and custom automobiles will usually cost more to appraise, while a simple market value range on a late model vehicle may not require the same in-depth research and paperwork.

How much does it cost to have my car appraised?If you are objectively honest about your car and have some knowledge of vehicles, you could opt for an online estimate. Such an appraisal is a ballpark value range based on your description and will not provide documentation or certification. Furthermore, if you are selling or trading a vehicle, the other party may well require a more in-depth inspection before purchase.

While it may be tempting to choose a cheaper appraisal or opt for the online option, you may end up needing the services of a professional in order to get the appraisal you need. A professional appraiser will provide documentation that can be used in a variety of situations and is usually accepted as a valid establishment of value. A certified auto appraisal can be used in insurance claims, divorce settlements, classic auto sales, bank loans, estate valuations, and many other situations, while cheap or online appraisals may not be recognized or accepted, and may end up costing you more money in the end.

An improperly appraised vehicle can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in potential value. Appraisals that overvalue your vehicle can cause you to be accused of fraud when you make an insurance claim, and undervalued vehicles can prevent you from receiving the compensation you deserve. Inaccurate appraisals in estate and divorce settlements can leave you with less than you should receive or leave relatives with tax payments they aren’t prepared to make.

If you are in need of a car appraisal, contact Auto Appraisal Group! We can help you determine what kind of appraisal you need and save you money, both at the time of the appraisal and in the future!

Vehicles Without a Title

Retitling a Vehicle without a TitleA vehicle that is missing a title can be problematic whether you are buying, selling, or simply moving a car to a new state. You’ll need to get a new title in order to sell or transfer the vehicle, and many states require you to retitle a vehicle when you move. If you are buying a car, a title is even more important: the title protects you and prevents misunderstandings involved with legal ownership of the vehicle.

So what do you do if you’ve lost your title or if the vehicle you want to buy doesn’t have a title? There are a few important steps you’ll want to take:

Replacing a Lost Title

If you are selling a vehicle or moving to a new state, you’ll want to have a current title in hand. If the vehicle was originally titled in your name and you’ve lost it, you can apply to the DMV for a replacement title. You’ll need to verify which state issued the original title and follow the guidelines for the issuing state (even if you do not live in that state currently). You will also need a copy of your driver’s license and current registration. For more specific information about the state that issued your title, read How to Find a Lost Title on the F & I Tools website.

Buying a Vehicle Without a Title

While most modern vehicles have original titles, antique and collector cars, particularly “barn finds” may have never been titled. Buying a vehicle without a title is risky: the title is a legal document that provides exclusive ownership rights to the title owner. This means that if you were to buy a stolen vehicle that has no title, you would have no rights should the title owner appear and claim ownership of the car. To avoid disputes related to titles, you’ll want to:

  • Research the vehicle. No matter what story the seller has told you about why there is no title or where the car originated, be sure to get a full vehicle history report (VHR) online (popular sites include Carfax or AutoCheck). A VHR will provide the car’s title status, an odometer report, and will include a history of accidents or insurance claims.
  • Contact your local DMV. You can use the car’s VIN number to confirm title status and request a history of the vehicle and any reported accidents.
  • Make sure the vehicle isn’t stolen. Use your car’s VIN number to check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau to determine if the car has ever been reported as stolen and not recovered.
  • Consider a pre-purchase inspection. AAG can provide a Vehicle History Report on late-model vehicles when completing a prepurchase inspection and certified appraisal report.

Buying a Vehicle without a TitleIf any of the information you find during your research contradicts the information provided by the seller you might want to reconsider your purchase.

If you do decide to purchase the vehicle, you can protect yourself in a few ways:

  • Complete a bill of sale. A bill of sale is an important part of the sale of any vehicle, and it is even more important when the car title is missing. Include all details of the sale: VIN number, mileage, and the price you paid for the car. List the terms of the sale (“as is”, “seller to supply title”, etc). Document the seller’s and buyer’s complete information: full addresses, legal names, and phone numbers should be available for both parties. Use a form of payment that can be easily proven such as a check or bank draft. You may also want to agree that all funds remain in escrow until the terms of the sale are met.
  • Request a replacement title from the seller. If the vehicle has been previously registered in the seller’s name with the DMV, the seller can request a replacement title. Once the seller has obtained the new title, the sale can proceed normally.
  • Locate the original title. If the seller never registered the car or transferred the title to their name, it may be worth trying to track down the original title from the previous owner. Your vehicle history report (VHR) will include the last state in which the car was registered. Contact the DMV for contact information associated with the last titled owner, explaining the reason for your call. Some states may insist on contacting the previous owner for you. You can request that the previous owner file for a duplicate title that will allow you to register the car in your name.
  • Get a Surety Bond. In some states, you can obtain a Surety Bond to get a new title. A Surety Bond is a financial security measure that guarantees that the car belongs to you and covers you should there be any financial penalties associated with the car. Check for any liens on the vehicle and do not complete the purchase until all liens have been cleared and lifted. Most states require proof of purchase, proof of residency in your state, proof that the car is not junk or salvage, and an accurate appraisal of value. A certified appraisal can help establish the value of the vehicle so that you can purchase the Lost Title Bond.

Any time that you consider purchasing a vehicle without a title, you should also think about involving a certified auto appraisal expert to help you gather information about the car to ensure that the process of retitling is as straightforward as possible. Contact Auto Appraisal Group today for assistance!

Avoiding Common Used Car Scams

Avoiding Common Used Car ScamsBuying a used car can be a great way to purchase a quality vehicle at an affordable price, but it is important to keep an eye out for used car scams when shopping. Most scams revolve around concealing important facts about the car – mileage, title history, major repairs, or the lack of necessary maintenance. You can avoid many used car scams by using common sense, but it never hurts to be familiar with some of the most common scams.

Common Car Scams“It just needs a little Freon…”
When a seller says the car “just needs…”, what they mean is that some part of the car is broken. For instance, if an air conditioning system is not cooling properly, it could be due to a lack of refrigerant (Freon). Unless the car is very old, the Freon level is probably low due to a leak somewhere in the system. Sure, you can recharge the system with a kit from an auto parts store, but without addressing a possible leak, you will simply have to recharge it again, over and over. In other words, if the seller tells you the A/C system just needs more Freon, they mean “The A/C is broken.” The same can be said for any other part of the vehicle that “Just needs…”

Pre-purchase Inspections from Auto Appraisal Group“It ran last week…”
Clearly, if the seller is saying “ran” in the past tense, the car is not currently running. The seller may say something like “It just needs an alternator belt” and tell you that you can get one cheaply at an auto parts store. Which leads you to the question: If the alternator belt is so inexpensive and easy to install, why wouldn’t the seller replace the belt himself and ask for a higher price for the vehicle? It’s more probable that the seller has no idea why the car won’t run and would rather let you figure that out – after buying the vehicle, of course.

Prepurchase Used Car Inspection by Auto Appraisal Group“I almost never drive it…”
Most cars are driven an average of 12,000 miles a year (except in the case of collector or vintage vehicles). If the odometer of a 5-year-old used car reads 6,000 miles, it should make you suspicious of odometer fraud. Modern digital odometers can be “hacked”, and while this is not a simple process, it is done by unscrupulous sellers. Odometer fraud can be hard to spot – you can use your judgment to assess the wear on the brake pedal, steering wheel, and seats. Or you can ask for a prepurchase inspection to document the condition of the vehicle and to help determine the validity of the odometer reading.

Prepurchase Car Inspection with Auto Appraisal Group“I inherited the car from my uncle in Texas…”
This type of phrase may not be obvious to many buyers as a scam but is usually a sign of “title washing”. When a vehicle has been destroyed by flooding, fire, or collision, it can be rebuilt to drivable condition and given a “salvage title”. The salvage title informs a buyer that the car has been destroyed and rebuilt and that there is a unique risk involved in purchasing that vehicle. Scammers will try to hide this by registering the vehicle at a DMV in a different state, where it might pass through the system as a regular title by a clerk who is not familiar with out-of-state salvage title markings. You can avoid being a victim of this used car scam by engaging in a pre-purchase inspection. A pre-purchase inspection will not only document the vehicle’s current condition but will also use the VIN to obtain the car’s history and can help identify past damage.

If you are concerned about used car scams, you can find peace of mind by having a pre-purchase inspection done for the vehicle you hope to purchase. Our certified agents often identify suspicious or false claims, and the documentation they provide not only arms you against nefarious sellers but also prepares you should you choose to sell the car in the future.

Protect yourself from used-car scams! Call us today for a Certified Pre-Purchase Inspection!