Is it Illegal to Sell a Car Above the Kelley Blue Book Retail Value?

by Shanan Miller ; Updated July 27, 2017

Kelley Blue Book value is just one appraisal guide used by consumers to determine fair vehicle pricing. It is not illegal to sell your car above the Kelley Blue Book Value, although you may find that finding a buyer is difficult if you're asking for too much money. Appraisal guides may not take into consideration various market conditions that increase the value of your car.

Other Appraisal Guides

Aside from Kelley Blue Book, check your car's value at Edmunds.com or the NADA Guides website if you plan to sell your car or trade your vehicle toward another purchase. You'll find that values differ by appraisal guide. Also check the values of vehicles for sale in your area to obtain realistic prices. You may find that your type of vehicle is selling privately for retail value or warrants a higher amount than appraisal guide values.

Market Conditions

Market conditions also play a role in vehicle value. You may find that appraisal guides suggested a value thousands of dollars less than prices you obtained from local classifieds. This can happen for various reasons. Appraisal guides do not take consumer demand, vehicle availability or gas prices into consideration. If you found a buyer to purchase your car for higher than Kelley Blue Book value, there's probably a reason for it. For example, 4X4 vehicles may become a desirable purchase just before winter in a snowy area or in the spring in an area that allows 4X4 vehicles onto local beaches.

Selling Issues

If you intend to sell your vehicle for more than Kelley Blue Book value but haven't listed it yet, selling your car may be difficult. Possible buyers can easily look around at vehicle classifieds to determine where to shop or determine if your asking price is unreasonable. Even if you find a buyer to choose your car over the rest, your buyer may have difficulty obtaining a loan. If your buyer asks to borrow more than the car's private sale value, his bank is likely to tell him so and require a down payment.

Trade-in Consdierations

If you're selling your car to a dealership, known as trading-in your car, the dealer may offer whatever it wants for your car purchase. However, an inflated trade-in value is just as much of a concern as a trade-in value that’s too low. If you told the dealer you’re concerned with your trade value, it may transfer numbers around to make it appear as though you’re receiving more for your trade-in than you really are. A dealer accomplishes this by reducing the car's selling price without telling you and showing the discount as an inflated vehicle trade-in value. Do not purchase a new vehicle for more than fair value, which you can determine using the same appraisal guides.

About the Author

Shanan Miller covers automotive and insurance topics for various websites, blogs and dealerships. She has extensive automotive experience, including auction, insurance, finance, service and management positions. Miller has worked for dealer sales events around the United States and now stays local as a sales and leasing consultant for a dealership.