Kelley Private
Party Value

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

Return from Private Party Value to Insider Car Buying Tips home

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.