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Making Sense Of Classic Car Valuations

For whatever reason, it’s always useful to know how much your classic car is worth. Even if you have no intention of making a sale in the near future, an accurate valuation is the perfect tool for judging whether your classic car insurance policy is adequate and, if you’re an investor, whether your money is really working hard enough in the classic market. However, finding, judging and using a valuation isn’t as easy as picking up a single estimate. Shopping around and gathering different opinions are key to properly assessing and, ultimately, valuing your classic.

Formal Valuations
Dealers and specialists will offer a formal valuation service that you should consider if you want an expert opinion. Usually the service will cost you a small fee but you’re really paying for the expertise and the knowledge of someone who has seen many cars, probably similar to your own, going under the sale hammer. A formal valuation will usually be offered in the form of an estimate and it’s important to remember that neither the upper or lower bracket of your price range is a guarantee of a sale in that region.

Informal Valuations
On top of requesting a valuation, the canny classic investor can gather opinions informally as well. When at classic car meets or just down the pub, ask others to speculate about what they’d pay for your vehicle. You’ll also find that classic car enthusiasts are clever buyers who are happy to offer money off-hand for a car they’ve seen in the hope of a good deal. Don’t dismiss any speculative offers for sales off-hand, ask what price would be offered and use it as the basis for a discussion. These are real buyers offering real money - their opinion really counts.

Making Your Own Decision 
If you’ve received a few formal and a few informal valuations, you’re likely to have a pretty good idea of a range of what your car is worth. Of course, trusted expert opinions count for a lot more than pub-talk, but if you’re repeatedly finding people talking the value of your car up, remember you aren’t selling to the experts! In a sale, value of your car is exactly what one person is willing to pay for it and that could be ten-thousand pounds above an expert valuation.

In reality, your various valuations will all converge at a reasonable average price that, for most purposes is going to be a reasonable estimate. Always err on the side of prudence with valuations: don’t bank money you haven’t yet got and, potentially, might never be able to cash in.

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