Kelley Private Party Value, Used Car Values for Private Car Sales (2024)

It's Worth What Someone
is Willing to Pay For It

The Kelley Private Party Value is, in my opinion, the most worthless of the four values that Kelley Blue Book (KBB) provides.

Ouch! I know that may have come across a little rough, but I'll explain why in a second.

Although, I don't think it is a very significant number, I'd like to show you some ways to use the Kelley Private Party Value if you are looking to buy a car via a private party car sale and want to wiggle a seller down.

If you are considering selling a car via private party car sales, then I'd also like to show you why it's best to ignore this number if you want to maximize profits.

Why I Consider It
To Be A Fairly Worthless Value

I consider it to be fairly worthless, because it is not a very easy value to get accurate data on.

Sure Kelley Blue Book could check registration data and sale prices through the Motor Vehicle Departments records, but how many buyers and sellers actually report accurate numbers with private party car sales.

It usually benefits both the buyer and the seller to report a lower sale price.

For instance, if the actual sale price was $10,000, but the buyer reports only paying $5,000 for the vehicle, then they pay half in taxes.

From the sellers stand point, why not go along with that...If the buyer ever tries to sue for their money back down the road, the seller is only liable for the provable sale price of half, or $5,000.

It also seems overly convenient to me that the private party value established by Kelley Blue Book almost always falls neatly, and squarely, between their retail value and wholesale value.

I don't think Kelley Blue Book has quite the handle on the private party value as they'd like you to believe.

How A Buyer Can Use It
To Negotiate A Better Price

Whether I believe it to be a worthless number or not, there are thousands upon thousands of consumers that consider Kelley Blue Book values to be the "end all be all" of used car values.

If Kelley Says So, Then It Must Be So!

You can oftentimes use that mentality to your advantage if you are dealing with a somewhat stubborn private party seller and you feel they are asking too much for their car.

Simply use the Kelley Private Party Value (assuming it's less than the sale price) as a reference to show them, without appearing insulting, that this is what the "whole world agrees" this car is worth via a private party car sale.

Use other peoples perceptions, of Kelley Blue Book as the leader in used car values, to your advantage here.

Ignore This Value If You
Are Selling A Car Private Party

If you are selling a car private party, then don't start out asking the private party value for your car. If you do this and someone eagerly comes along and pays the full asking price, then you probably just left money on the table.

Always start high, especially if the vehicle you are selling is in good shape and/or has extras that Kelley Blue Book would only give a limited or even no value for.

For instance:

  • New Transmission
  • New Engine
  • 20" Wheels
  • Extended Warranty
  • New Tires
  • New Paint Job

and on, and on, and on...

Always price the vehicle just a bit higher than you'd feel comfortable asking for it. You never know someone may just come along and pay it all.

Trust me, it's a heck of a lot easier to go down in price then to go up. If you're still concerned, then be sure to always list the sales price with OBO (or best offer).

Of course, if you are in a serious hurry to sell the vehicle, then you may have to settle for a less profitable deal and these tips may not apply.

If you are sure you'll be selling your vehicle via a private party car sale, then you'll definitely want to read my How To Sell A Car Guide. This will help simplify the process and will help you to maximize profits!

If after all this you feel you'd still like to reference the Kelley Private Party Value, then by all means do so, but keep in mind that Kelley Blue Book is simply a guide. Nothing more and nothing less.

Return from Private Party Value to KBB Guide

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Kelley Private Party Value, Used Car Values for Private Car Sales (2024)


What does private party value mean on Kelley Blue Book? ›

The Kelley Blue Book® Private Party Value is the starting point for negotiation of a used-car sale between a private buyer and seller. This is an “as is” value that does not include any warranties. The final price depends on the car's actual condition and local market factors.

What is the private party value of a car? ›

Private Party Value is the price you could expect for a vehicle sales transaction between two consumers. Depending on demand and condition, this transaction price will be between the wholesale value and the retail value.

What is the difference between KBB trade in and private party? ›

The Kelley Blue Book Trade In Range shows what a consumer can expect to receive for their car this week when trading it in at a dealer. The Kelley Blue Book Private Party Value reports on a fair price when selling the car to an individual instead of doing a dealer trade in.

Who gives the best used car values? ›

Both Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book are reputable sites that offer pricing information. The accuracy of an appraisal has a lot to do with the information the owner provides. If you overstate the vehicle condition or don't check off the correct trim level and options, your value is less likely to be accurate.

What is considered very good on Kelley Blue Book? ›

“Very Good” condition means that the vehicle has minor cosmetic defects and is in excellent mechanical condition. This vehicle has had minor or no paint or bodywork, and requires minimal reconditioning. The engine compartment is clean and free of fluid leaks. This vehicle is free of rust.

How accurate is Kelly Blue Book? ›

The accuracy of KBB values can vary depending on several factors, such as the condition of the vehicle, its location, and the current market demand for that particular make and model. KBB values are based on a number of factors, such as the car's make, model, year, mileage, condition, and features.

What is the difference between retail value and private party value? ›

The Private-Party value is normally less than the retail value since the vehicle has not been reconditioned. In addition, the seller is not trying to make a transactional profit as they are disposing of their own property. Tag and title fees are normally paid at the motor vehicle office and not to the seller.

Why is trade-in value less than private party value? ›

Trade-in Value vs. Market Value

If you're trading in your car at a dealership in greater Tampa, you may be wondering, “Why is a vehicle's trade-in value lower than its retail value? This is namely because the dealership has no incentive to buy your vehicle unless they can profit. They also act as a middleman.

Does nada show private party value? ›

For any car you might be interested in buying, NADAguides uses the single classification of “Clean Retail.” NADA Guides doesn't show private party sales/values, but the guide does have values for certain Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles.

Why does KBB undervalue cars? ›

Lag – It takes time for data and analysis to make its way through KBB. Prices listed may not always reflect the very latest trends and economic conditions. Consumer bias – Most people think the car they are selling or trading in is in better condition than it really is.

What do dealers use instead of KBB? ›

Black Book Vehicle Pricing.

The Black Book is what dealerships typically use to lookup pricing information about new, used car, truck, and recreational vehicle prices. Black Book updates the Dealer invoice and Manufacturers Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) weekly.

Why are Nada and KBB values so different? ›

KBB factors in the condition of the vehicle, local market conditions, and popularity of the vehicle, so their prices tend to be a lower than NADA. NADA values tend to lean higher because they assume cars are in good conditions. Insights can be gained from both values, but KBB looks at more factors.

Who pays the highest price for a used car? ›

After comparing multiple car buying websites, our team found CarMax pays top dollar for used vehicles.

What is the best site for private car sales? ›

Best Sites For Private Party Car Sales
  • Facebook Marketplace for Used Cars. ...
  • Craigslist for Selling a Vehicle Locally. ...
  • Private Auto Sales on eBay Motors. ...
  • Bring a Trailer Classic Vehicle Auctions. ...
  • Hemmings Classic Auctions and Auto Classifieds.
5 days ago

What is the best website to value a used car? ›

Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book has been one of the most trusted names in the auto industry. You might say we literally "wrote the book on car values". And today there's no better place to find the value of your current car than

What are the three ways a car is priced in Kelley Blue Book? ›

You can determine new vehicle pricing on Kelley Blue Book, which features three types of new car pricing:
  • Invoice Price. The invoice price is the dealer's cost for the vehicle and its options. ...
  • MSRP Price. ...
  • Fair Purchase Price Range.
Mar 23, 2022

What does the Kelly Blue Book value mean when buying a car? ›

The Kelley Blue Book is a good estimation of what a car might sell for and how much it is worth. The price doesn't include warranties and other options that may increase the a cars value. Ultimately the KBB value is often used as a starting point for negotiation and not the final price.

Is fair market value the same as blue book value? ›

KBB fair market value, officially known as "Fair Purchase Price," is the term used to describe the market value of a new or used vehicle set by Kelley Blue Book's pricing system. Edmunds has similar pricing information for new and used vehicles.


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