Many people have been thinking about selling their cars in the past couple of years. This comes from the unusual circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lifestyle and employment changes.
When it comes to selling a car, there are many possible ways to go. This can involve creating a classified ad and selling the vehicle privately. Perhaps a friend or family member will take it off your hands. There's always the option to auction the car . And many will try a convenient instant offer from outfits like Carvana.
Let's take a closer look at Carvana. We'll explore how its offer system works, the benefits of using Carvana to sell a car, and what drawbacks to consider.
Background: Why Are People Selling Their Cars?
Working from Home
The global pandemic forced countless people to work from home. It's an approach that changed the transportation dynamics for millions of households across the country and indeed around the world. A family that once relied on multiple cars to handle the commutes of two parents and daily driving duties (like school runs and errands) suddenly found that it had a surplus of vehicles. This all coincided with a significant increase in used car values.
With this in mind, car owners decided to sell one or more surplus vehicles to take advantage of favorable valuations. It's an excellent way to save on insurance, gas, and other operating expenses.
While life carried on for many during the pandemic—albeit with significant changes like working from home—others were not so fortunate and found themselves out of work or on reduced hours. These circumstances can make it hard to keep up with the monthly payment.
Rather than risk a car repossession and a poor credit rating, selling a car can pay off the loan balance and possibly leave some leftover cash. Even if the vehicle is paid off, the cash injection can help when times are tight.
Buying a New Car
And some people are selling because it's time to buy a new car. Perhaps consumers want something more private as they skip public transportation in favor of a less risky way of getting around. And others are selling their vehicles as trade-ins for models with newer features and better fuel economy.
Topmarq Pro Tip: Buying a Used Car: A Checklist
Carvana Sell My Car: How It Works
Getting an Offer on the Car
The first step with Carvana is to get an offer on your car, be it part of a trade-in or as a standalone sale. You don't have to buy a vehicle from Carvava to sell yours, as the company is constantly looking for quality used cars to resell.
The global chip shortage has put a lot of pressure on the pre-owned car market. Buyers like Carvana and CarMax are keener than ever to get their hands on additional stock to sell to impatient buyers tired of waiting for their new cars from manufacturers.
To get a Carvana instant offer, just visit their website and enter the license plate details or the vehicle identification number (VIN). You'll need to provide some basic information and answer questions about the car's condition (be sure to answer honestly to avoid surprises later on). Wait a minute or two, and Carvana replies with an instant offer.
Carvana's offer is final; there's no haggling or further discussion. It's a take it or leave it approach. Carvana considers several factors, such as the car's described condition, make and model, model year, market demand, and supply.
The offer is valid for seven days, which allows a seller to shop around for competitive proposals.
Inspection and Payment
After accepting your Carvana offer, arrange to have the vehicle picked up by a Carvana employee. Upon arrival, they'll verify the car's condition and the other details you provided online. It's a quick process that usually takes just minutes. Once everything is confirmed, a check is provided on the spot.
Carvana Sell My Car: Can I Trade In My Car?
You can trade-in your car towards another vehicle offered by Carvana; this is another large part of the company's business. The process is the same as if you were just selling your car to Carvana. Instead of getting a check at the end of the process, you can apply any balance towards a different vehicle in the company’s inventory.
A trade-in is handled without the need to visit a Carvana location. A team member will arrive with your new ride and inspect your old car. If everything works out, they'll hand over the keys to your new vehicle and drive away with the trade-in. It's an appealing process to car shoppers, like Millennials, who prefer a seamless, hassle-free selling and buying experience.
Pros and Cons of Carvana Sell My Car
Advantage: Convenience and Speed
The Carvana platform gets high marks for how quickly a consumer can sell a car and buy a new one. The buy offer is almost instantaneous, and the pick up can be arranged in a day or two and is quick and painless.
And going the traditional sell-your-car route involves finding time to photograph the car, prepare a listing, pay listing fees, and wait for a buyer. Going with Carvana alleviates this effort and expense (buy you're likely not to collect as much as you would through private sale).
Advantage: Help with Paperwork
Another benefit of Carvana is not dealing with the pesky paperwork that accompanies a vehicle transaction. The company handles the title transfer, lien release, and whatever else the motor vehicles department requires. Everything is done from the comfort of home.
Advantage: Trade-In as Part of New Purchase
Carvana's trade-in feature ensures you'll get a fair price for your car. There are no games or gimmicks, and everything is spelled out upfront. Plus, the company handles all the details, including paying off any existing loan.
Disadvantage: Convenience Comes at a Price
The biggest downside to Carvana is the premium that comes with speed and convenience, which applies to any of these instant-offer operations. Just keep in mind that the easier it is to sell a car, the less money you're likely to get from the transaction.
If you compare the price that Carvana pays versus the Kelley Blue Book private sale price, you'll notice a stark difference. That's not a trade secret, either. Carvana only says that they'll give you its best price, and for these purposes, the price you get certainly is that.
Disadvantage: Limited by Carvana Choice
Trading in a car at a local dealership might allow you to find the exact vehicle you're looking for. In contrast, a trade-in with Carvana limits the shopper to the company's inventory, which tends to focus on popular, mainstream models. You could be disappointed if your taste is for something more unique or with a less-than-typical equipment list. It's best to shop at Carvana with an open mind and flexible preferences.