Frequently Asked Questions

About selling my car...

What’s a fair used car price valuation?

Used car price valuations can be tricky to figure out but there are a few major factors you can count on and should consider. 


  • Market supply and demand: On any given day or week demand for a car like yours can go up or down.  With the pandemic creating major new car supply chain issues, many use car owners have seen the value of their used cars spike.  That will change as new car manufacturers begin to recover from the computer chip shortage.  Once new car production levels return to normal the value of most used cars will drop (due to improved new car availability)


  • Local and regional auction demand:  Used car auction values can fluctuate wildly between cities due to socio/economic factors, seasonal trends and purchase preference trends.  In northern climates 4-wheel drive trucks and SUVs rule the road and fill the wholesale auction lanes while markets like West Palm Beach and Miami see Mercedes Benz and BMW vehicles outsell other used car brands at auction and by a wide margin.


  • Any local dealer’s need on any given day: Used car dealer stocking strategies and habits are as different as new car trim levels.  There are any number of different retail used car stocking strategies employed by the dozens or hundreds of used car dealers near you. 


The trick to Maxing out your trade-in is getting your vehicle’s unique value story properly told and sold to the right segment of local car dealers.  Remember, today car dealerships are desperately seeking to buy what you have available for sale or trade in.


  • National car buying and online only selling companies are changing the rules: Every industry has seen its share of disruption.  Taxi drivers have been largely displaced or replaced with Uber and Lyft drivers, Walmart cashiers were replaced with self checkout and today, local car dealers are feeling serious pressure from 100% online car buying and selling systems offered by companies like CarMax, Shift, Carvana and a host of others.  


Before offering you a trade-in or purchase price, these companies instantly scan market demand and their own needs for a car like yours locally and demand in other cities across the country.  This means a convertible offered for sale in Chicago during the month of January can command a higher cash price or trade-in offer from a national car buying company than a local dealer.  The local dealer has to consider how long that convertible might sit on their lot unsold or what it might bring at the local auctions during the dead of winter.  


National car buying companies, meanwhile, have already identified the top three or four markets for the convertible (down South or out West) and will likely have a car carrier standing by to move the convertible from your northern climate driveway to their reconditioning and selling center in San Diego.


Why and how does my car value fluctuate from day to day or week to week?

Local car dealership needs change daily as do the needs of national car buying companies.  Timing the market is not as much a matter of luck as it is a matter of merchandising and marketing.  


At MAX Allowance® we work to properly showcase and position your used vehicle for trade or sale both locally and nationally.  A completely and properly merchandised private driveway car can increase your trade-in or cash sale offers by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  At MAX Allowance® we understand that transparency is a two-way street™.  


Our private driveway seller’s advocates know how to stage and present your vehicle to all in-market buyers. Whether in town or out of town and whether you're trading in or selling for cash. 

What’s the difference between an instant cash offer and a considerate cash offer?

Instant answers (for your trade-in or cash sale car) are given when the buyer knows minimal 

Information about your vehicle’s daily use or current physical/mechanical condition.   The potential buyer relies largely on details from available data sources, not from your driveway.  


This is why most car buying and trade-in offer systems ask for your license plate number or your VIN.  The Vehicle Identification number “instantly” unlocks enough detail for the purchasing prospect to make a weighted decision on how much to offer you today. It won’t be your MAX Allowance® but the instant offer and additional convenience of driveway pickup may be enough for you to cash out without leaving your living room. 


Considerate Cash Offers™ can only be realized by a seller or trade-in shopper who has properly staged and presented their used vehicle for sale with complete transparency.  MAX Allowance® makes this easy by providing a FREE Vehicle Story Vault™ for any or every vehicle in your driveway. There’s nothing to download and you can completely stage and present your vehicle to dozens of local dealers or nationwide car buying managers in under 15 minutes. The more you share the higher number of offers you’ll tend to receive (for more money). 

How do I activate competing cash offers for the car I need to sell or trade in?

It’s as easy as 1-2-3 and it’s FREE! Provide MAX Allowance® with your VIN or license plate number to share a few critical details. Why do we need your VIN?  The Vehicle Identification Number of your vehicle (VIN) reveals your vehicle’s unique factory equipment packages, recent service visits and any reported vehicle accident history. Where can I find my VIN?


Next, share your name and preferred contact method (most people choose texting).  We won’t share your personal information with any local car dealers without your permission.  If you choose to Check National Offers then your vehicle and contact information will be shared only with our elite network of MAX Allowance® Certified national car buying companies. None of your personal contact information will be shared (or forwarded to any other company or person) by our national car buying partners. Your privacy is of paramount concern to us.


The highest local dealer Competing Cash Offers™ (with room for negotiation) will arrive via text after we’ve properly and completely staged and showcased your used vehicle in your personalized and secure MAX Allowance® Vehicle Story Vault.  Remember, At MAX Allowance®® transparency is a two-way street™. 


When it comes to fully completing your Vehicle Story Vault, completeness, cleanliness and honest disclosure of any physical imperfections or known mechanical/electrical conditions will get us more dealer interest.  Total transparency and a 100% complete Vehicle Story Vault can even lead to a potential local dealer price war (working in your favor).


How can I maximize the trade in value of my car?

Car dealers evaluate the car you are offering for trade-in the same way you evaluate the new or used vehicle you plan to buy or lease from a dealership.  Is the vehicle a good value? Does the dealership approach their vehicle marketing and merchandising in a transparent way? 

Trading in your vehicle is the same as selling it.  Try to separate the two transactions in your mind and in your negotiating. It’s smart to begin with a very clean and optimally functioning vehicle before you present it for online or in-store trade-in.  

As with most major purchase decisions, first impressions are important in MAXimizing your dealership or car buying company trade-in offers. You may find it’s worth it to do a little light reconditioning on your own as preparation for trade-in/sale.  

Don’t overdo it here but, a dirty interior, dashboard warning lights and bald tires present an immediate red flag to experienced car buying managers.  It’s not always cost effective or necessary to fix minor dings and dents before the trade-in (dealers have people to do that at prices discounted to the dealership).  More pronounced exterior and interior damage may be worth a trip to, or an at-home visit from, a licensed vehicle reconditioning service provider. 

How does the KBB trade in value of my car differ from a MAX Allowance® value?

Like most “What’s My Car Worth” companies the Kelley Blue Book values and Black Book Values are centered around auction and market data NOT unique vehicles, with unique stories from unique driveways.  

MAX Allowance® is different because we understand and seriously consider the value of a properly prepared, promoted and marketed privately owned driveway vehicle.  KBB helps shop your vehicle to select KBB participating dealerships, car auctions and/or private buyers (who may or may not have the means to purchase or finance your vehicle).  MAX Allowance® focuses on the FREE delivery of and advising on Considerate Cash Offers from MAX Allowance® Certified, state licensed, local car dealerships or nationwide car buying and selling companies.

MAX Allowance® considers your trade-in goals, your current equity position and your vehicle’s most advantageous marketplace where other car selling and trade in systems don’t or won’t.

This is why we created a Patent-Pending Vehicle Story Vault and trade-in value widget including an auto loan calculator with trade-in tools. Working a car payment calculator with a trade-in is tricky because most solutions only consider data they can see from a VIN decode. 

As an Advantage2U company, MAX Allowance® Online makes it easy to calculate a true-understanding of your trade-in vehicle’s value both locally and nationally. Should you find yourself in a negative equity position after using the car buying and selling tips and tools we provide, you’ll have immediate options others can’t or don’t provide. 


We’re not choosing sides and we’re not leaving you to roam the internet in search of truthful and trustworthy information about the car you need to trade-in or sell.  We’re here to help you understand what your vehicle is (or isn’t) worth and why.  We spend our days and nights helping shoppers like you to rely on “one place” for the truth about your trade value.  Use us as your advocate to effectively negotiate a considerate cash offerevery time, regardless of your vehicle’s current accident history, interior/exterior condition, mileage or reconditioning needs.

What’s the best way to sell my car for the most money?

At MAX Allowance® we understand that there’s still a simple answer to this complex question. Create an attractive presentation with a transparent and believable story and get it in front of as many qualified safe and secure buyers as possible.  


Everyone wants “the most money” for a vehicle trade yet every year thousands of Americans accept less than they should at trade-in. It’s not because dealers don’t want or need to give you a great deal.  Often it’s because shoppers failed to plan or didn’t properly merchandise in order to MAX their available trade-in offers.   MAX Allowance® is the only trade-in or “sell my car for cash” system to fully consider and coach shoppers on their privately owned driveway vehicle(s).  We work to understand each vehicle’s  total and transparent condition disclosures based on driveway photos, video and your detailed condition descriptions.  We’ve found the best way to eliminate games and bad feelings between two parties is through the building of mutual trust.  This is where competing trade-in “sell my car” companies often fail their dealers and consumers. MAX Allowance® is  based on two-way transparency between both parties in a trade/sell transaction.  Our tools, tips and advice consider each party’s unique financial needs and requirements before you start to communicate or negotiate. 


 Do car dealerships and nationwide car buyers view the NADA trade in value as a reliable car trade in value?

Typically banks rely on NADA trade-in values as a measure of a used vehicle's value for the purposes of setting auto loan limits.  Because banks and some auctioneers rely on NADA value, certain dealers may use it as a measure of how much they should pay to acquire a used vehicle which they plan to recondition for immediate resale.  

NADA guides website suggests they are “the leader in accurate vehicle pricing and vehicle information” featuring “Fast & Reliable Prices.”  NADA (National Association of Automobile Dealers) issued the first ever NADA Guides nearly 90 years ago.  

Today NADAguides has become a primary source and resource for understanding used vehicle market value including retail value, trade-in value, auction value, actual cash value, private party value and current new and used car dealer market value.  In 2015, the NADAguides were licensed to J.D. Power where they are maintained and continuously updated.

So, do car dealerships and nationwide car buying companies depend on NADA Trade-in value? Some do and some don’t. Some will and some won’t. Some used car dealership owners or buying managers rely on the “I know what sells and at what price” method where they stay acutely tuned into their local customer base, live auction trends and increasing pressures from online only retailers.  

Would I be better off to sell my car to Carmax or sell my car online through MAX Allowance®

Carmax, has built a sophisticated internal value ranking system for used vehicle values so, they tend to be less flexible and unable or unwilling to “negotiate” the trade/sell values calculated by their proprietary technology and algorithms. 

MAX Allowance works differently. As an Advantage2U™company, MAX Allowance Online encourages you to share as complete a visual, records-based and condition disclosure story as possible in your secure Vehicle Story Vault. Then, we let you choose to facilitate a quick and easy sale through a national car buying/selling company (with at-home pickup) or, invest time in telling and selling your vehicle’s unique marketplace value for competing cash offers from local car dealerships near you. In either case, we’re here to help with advocates available, day or night, to help you decode and navigate the confusing car values condition landscape.

Why are the local dealer or national car buying company trade-in or cash sale values for my car so different from when I tried to  sell my car to carmax?

As stated, Carmax uses an internal system based on corporate processes, policies and profit procedures proven to work for them.  Over the years Carmax has built a strong and believable marketing message backed up by satisfied or even “happy” consumer reviews. 

But, you’re not likely to get your MAX Allowance® through the Carmax trade/sell system.  Today new and used car dealers near you are empowered and even incentivized to negotiate and keep your business.  That’s where and why your MAX Allowance® advocate will focus your time and energy if you want the highest number possible for your trade-in or cash sale vehicle.  

Looking for quicker cash? Unable or unwilling to build a Vehicle Story Vault for your MAX Allowance®?   Our national car buying company partners can offer the same transparency and convenience as Carmax with at home pickup and a contactless sell/trade experience.  Due to competition with Carmax, our national car buying partner offers routinely beat their big box competition at Carmax.  

How does MAX Allowance® get paid? 

Our service is paid for by the local dealer or the national purchasing partner who acquires your car, truck, SUV or van. We never steer you, you steer us, toward the MAX Allowance® path, process and preference that works best for your situation.

Our business is built to facilitate transparent dealer and consumer communication for daily win-win deal making.  MAX Allowance®, is building raving fans and a fanatical following around the trading and sale of vehicles in every city in America.   

What’s the difference between a private sale and selling to a local dealer or national car buying company?

Unlike private buyers, the dealers and car buying companies are not buying your car to own and drive it.  The dealer will be hoping to sell your vehicle for profit within 40-50 days.  After agreeing on a purchase price, the dealer will be making an additional investment to recondition and market your vehicle for resale to her next owner.

Conventional consumer wisdom suggests that you can make more on your used vehicle sale when selling to a private buyer.  That may have been true prior to the pandemic but, today local car dealers and 100% online car buying/selling companies are paying top dollar to acquire used vehicles from driveways. If you are trying to sell any vehicle worth more than $10,000 you’ll find a very limited pool of buyers with the available cash to purchase.  That means your buyer will need to find bank or credit union financing to facilitate the purchase.  Local dealers and national car buying companies have a ready supply of cash and a daily need to buy what is being sold and marketed from local driveways.  That’s why so many of them are partnering with MAX Allowance®!