If thoughts of selling your car have crossed your mind, your thinking might have advanced to how to best do it. You can sell it privately to a friend or family member, or give Craigslist a try. Perhaps a more formal approach might include a listing on Autotrader or a similar platform.
These are all good ways to sell the car yourself. An auction might even produce faster results. With the right listing, you could see results in days. But this is reliant on finding the right auctioneer. And this still takes time and effort.
Yet, more and more car owners are turning to retail giants like CarMax to get an instant offer. With minimal hassle, the car is gone, and the seller has a check in hand. Let’s take a deep dive into how selling your car to CarMax works.
Background: Selling, or Selling and Buying?
Before exploring CarMax and its “Sell My Car” section, contemplate what kind of transaction you want. One of the good things about working with CarMax is a lot of flexibility. Do you want to just buy a car from there? Do you want to just sell your car without buying one? Or, do you have an old car you want to sell to CarMax as a trade-in? All are possible.
CarMax Sell My Car: How Does It Work?
CarMax is one of the biggest car retailers in the country. With more than 230 locations, the company carries a massive inventory of pre-owned cars of all brands and styles. As with many of these buy-your-car operations, the process begins with a quote.
Getting a Quote
The first thing to do is to get a no-obligation quote from CarMax on the value of your current car. The offer they make is genuine and also final. There is no negotiating, and the offer is valid for seven days. If you find a better offer in the meantime, you’re under no obligation to accept CarMax’s earlier quote.
To get a valuation, just enter the car’s license plate details or vehicle identification number (VIN) into the form on the CarMax website. From there, answer some basic questions about the car’s condition. During this initial phase, known as the online appraisal, CarMax confirms what you’ve entered, and assuming everything checks out, the vehicle gets accepted for a quotation.
Verification and Payment
The offer is good for a week. During this time, bring the car to any CarMax store to finalize the transaction. Staff will inspect the vehicle and verify the other details. If everything is a thumbs up, you’ll get paid on the spot and complete the transaction.
In some instances where the original online request can’t be processed, CarMax will invite the customer to make an in-person appraisal appointment. This is all arranged online, and you’ll receive an offer after the in-person evaluation of the car.
Necessary Paperwork and Things to Bring
You’ve accepted the CarMax offer, now what? You’ll need to bring some things with you to the CarMax location to complete the sale. The website ( carmax.com/sell-my-car ) has a handy tool that helps determine what’s required, including any state-specific must-haves.
So, for instance, you’re selling your car in California and answer these three questions as follows:
- Are you making payments on the vehicle? YES
- Is there more than one person on the title? YES
- Can everyone on the title come to CarMax? NO
This is the most complex scenario. Let’s see the results…
- Valid state-issued ID for all titleholders
- Valid, current vehicle registration
- All keys, fobs, and remotes
- Payoff information: the account number and phone number of your lender
- Signature of a co-signer if there was one when buying the car
Vehicles with Liens
By asking about monthly payments, CarMax confirms if there’s a lien on the car’s title. This isn’t an issue for the company, but it requires some seller-supplied details (the lender and account number). CarMax will arrange the payoff and finalize the deal.
CarMax Sell My Car: Why Do People Sell with CarMax?
Hassle- and Haggle-Free Selling
A review of positive CarMax customer reviews frequently references a fast and hassle-free experience. One reviewer in Texas points out that they sold their car within an hour. That’s unthinkable when going the private sale route which involves advertising, dealing with buyers, coordinating test drives, and so on.
Millennials, in particular, don’t enjoy the haggling and drawn-out interactions usually associated with the car business. CarMax provides a seamless experience where everything gets taken care of rapidly and smoothly. The entire transaction can happen in a matter of hours (or less).
Payment comes in the form of a check that’s ready for deposit. That’s money in the bank versus the potential for a long, drawn-out payment process with a private buyer.
Whether you’re selling, buying, or trading in, dealing with CarMax is an open experience. The seven-day offer period allows time to consider your options and check for a better quote elsewhere. Ultimately, you have the option of a quick sale or the luxury of time.
CarMax Sell My Car: Are There Drawbacks to Selling with CarMax?
Chances are you won’t get as good a price from CarMax as you would through other channels. With enough interest (and the right car), an auction can be a quick way to get a reasonable price. Sure, there are more steps involved, but the trade-off is a price that’s likely higher than what CarMax might offer.
To be upfront, CarMax doesn’t claim to offer more money than elsewhere. It points out that the quote is the best possible offer it can make, and that’s that. It’s a take it or leave it approach that you’ll pay a premium for (in the form of a lower offer).
No Pickup Service
CarMax has one trait that makes it less desirable; there’s no pick-up service. Unlike rival Carvana , which touts its convenient collection method, CarMax requires sellers to bring their cars to a nearby CarMax location.
While it’s understandable that CarMax wants to perform an in-person inspection before finalizing the deal, Carvana achieves this with an at-home pick-up. On the other hand, CarMax has numerous locations across the country.
About the Company
Carmax is an American automotive retailer that was founded in 1993 by Austin Ligon and William L. Sanders. The company was established as a way to revolutionize the traditional car buying experience by offering a no-haggle, no-pressure environment in which customers could purchase pre-owned vehicles.
In the beginning, Carmax operated out of a single location in Richmond, Virginia. However, the company quickly expanded and opened additional locations across the United States. In 2002, Carmax went public and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Throughout the 2000s, Carmax continued to grow and expand its business. In 2006, the company introduced its "Buy Online" program, which allowed customers to purchase cars online and have them delivered to their doorstep. In 2013, Carmax also entered the luxury car market with the acquisition of the luxury dealership chain, The Auto Superstore.
Today, Carmax is the largest retailer of used cars in the United States, with over 200 locations nationwide. The company is known for its large inventory of high-quality pre-owned vehicles and its commitment to customer satisfaction.