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Car Gurus Review

Saturday, May 18th

2024 Car Selling Site Reviews

Car Gurus Review 4 Star Rating

Car Gurus

4 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Can sell your car privately ($4.95) or get a cash offer (in 22 states)
  • Offers valid for 7 days or 250 additional miles
  • Cash offer vehicles will be picked up at your preferred location
  • Payment through bank transfer or check

CarGurus was founded in 2006 by Langley Steinert, who also co-created the popular TripAdvisor travel service. The site uses powerful data analytics to help you price your used car appropriately. Although you'll find that this site specializes in dealer listings, consumers can use the service for selling cars too.

Cash offers available in 22 states

There are potentially two ways to sell your car using CarGurus: Instant Max Cash Offer or private listing. Cash offers are currently available in 22 states and Washington DC; the complete list is available on the CarGurus site. If you live in an eligible state, you'll enter basic information about your car: plate or VIN, mileage, condition, and so on. CarGurus will source offers from various dealers and send you the best one; that offer is good for seven days or an additional 250 miles over what you entered in the questionnaire.

Offer was less than rivals

We found that CarGurus' offer on a 2013 Honda Civic that we used for comparison was about $2,000 lower than we were offered by their rivals. If you choose to accept your CarGurus offer, once you've uploaded the documents proving ownership of the vehicle you'll schedule a date and time for pickup. Payment can be made by linking your bank account through CarGurus' secure portal or via paper check at time of pickup.

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Easy to list your car privately

If you prefer to list and sell your car privately, you'll pay $4.95 to place your ad. CarGurus offers pricing guidance, verified buyers, paperwork assistance, and a secure payment method (no need to make sure you're not getting scammed with a fake cashier's check or counterfeit bills). It's helpful that CarGurus takes the information you entered during the Instant Max Cash process and lets you carry it over to the listing section; you just have to click on the option for starting where you left off instead of creating a new vehicle entry. All you'll need to do is set the price - use what's suggested or select your own - and enter a brief description. (Unfortunately, there's nowhere to upload photos here.) On the payment page, you'll have the option of paying an extra $19.99 to get 14 days of priority positioning as a "featured listing" .

Mixed results

User feedback about CarGurus is mixed. On the one hand, the company has an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, with just 15 complaints logged in the year prior to this evaluation. That's not bad for a service that's been around for nearly 20 years. However, in other places we looked, we found a lot of unhappy people describing their disappointment with the car-selling aspect of this site - both for private listings and cash offers. There were problems with the payment system, accuracy of listings (and with getting CarGurus to fix the mistakes), and just overall difficulties in reaching anyone at the company for support.

Just average

CarGurus has a few things going for it. It's nice to be able to choose between two different pathways for selling cars - and there's nothing saying you can't do both (list it privately and then take an offer) if you live where the cash option is available. And, it's one of several services that will come and take the car right from your driveway, no trip to the dealership necessary. But, CarGurus' track record isn't what we would like to see: for a higher ranking among the competition in the future, we need many more ratings from consumers who have used this platform and come away satisfied with the experience. We would suggest experimenting with what CarGurus has to offer, but be sure to compare it with our higher-ranked car-selling services first.

What's the Best Way to Sell Your Car?

Gone are the days of newspaper classifieds and putting a "for sale" sign in the dashboard window: most people today sell their cars online. It's usually easy, often fast, and there are lots of tools to help you set a competitive asking price. Generally speaking, you'll choose between two different methods of selling your car: getting a cash offer from a dealership (either online-only or one with a brick-and-mortar location near you) or creating a listing to sell it privately - like those newspaper ads but digital.

Which one is right for you? That depends. Cash offers often eliminate a lot of hassle: you don't have to screen prospective buyers, set up multiple appointments with interested customers, or verify the authenticity of their payment method. Many of the online-only services will pick up the vehicle at no charge, from any address you specify.

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Car Selling Site FAQ

Yes! The days of taking out an ad in the classifieds are gone - most private sellers sell their cars by listing them online. The process is simple and makes it possible for thousands of prospective buyers to see your vehicle.
Nothing! There are several sites that allow you to list your car for free. Of course, most of these sites offer upgraded listings for a fee, if you'd like to put up more photos, have your ad up for longer than 30 days, or include your vehicle's CARFAX report.
Start by determining a fair market value for your car: most people use Kelley Blue Book to do that. Then, make sure your vehicle is reasonably clean - you don't have to spend a lot of money for a professional detailing, but at least make sure to wash it well and do a thorough job of cleaning out the inside (no crumbs, fast food wrappers, or unpleasant odors!). Finally, set up your online listing for maximum visibility: the more information you provide, including photos, the more prospective buyers you'll get.
At the very least, you'll need to have the vehicle's title in hand (or available for electronic transfer at your DMV). If you still owe money on your car, contact your lender to find out their process for getting the title. Other paperwork that can help you sell your car includes documentation of the service history (e.g. oil changes, tire rotations), initial purchase documents if you bought the car new, and a vehicle history report from a service like CARFAX.
For safety reasons, you may want to arrange to meet at a neutral public location like a parking lot or even outside of the police station. If the buyer wants to take a test drive - as they should! - you should get a photo of their driver's license and be sure to ride along with them.
Absolutely! While you may not get as much money for your vehicle this way, it eliminates a lot of the hassle you'll experience when selling to a private buyer. There are online services that specialize in advertising your car only to dealerships. You could get an instant cash offer, or a dealer might ask to do an in-person appraisal first.
That's up to you, but a smart buyer will probably request one from a mechanic they trust instead of taking yours at face value. It might be better to wait until you have a buyer and let them choose if and where to have an inspection done.
Call your insurer! If you're planning on getting a new car, you may have to keep your policy in place so that there's no lapse in coverage.
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Continued from above...

Of course, that convenience may cost you. Not every service with cash offers will take cars in any condition, and you may get more money for your car with a private buyer. After all, they're trying to avoid the markup that always happens after a dealership buys a used car and puts it on their lot, so you might be able to meet in the middle and start at a higher asking price. Many people selling cars try both at the same time: shopping around for the best cash offer while testing the waters with a private listing. It's up to you.

What will you need to sell your car? Either route you choose, you'll almost always need current, valid registration papers; any available key fobs/remotes and manuals; valid state-issued photo ID; and, typically, anyone named as an owner on the title needs to be present at the time of sale. Are you required to have a paper title in hand? That depends on the state where you live and the terms of the car-selling service you select.

There are quite a few sites out there for selling cars. Which one is the best for you? Keep these criteria in mind to help you decide:

  • Cash offer or DIY? Some services give you both options, while others specialize in just one pathway. If you go the offer route, it's a good idea to compare quotes among several platforms to help you get top dollar for your vehicle.
  • Tools. Does the service help you price your car appropriately or show you an estimate from an objective source like Kelley Blue Book?
  • Payment methods. How will you get the money for your car? Will you walk away with cash in hand, a cashier's check, or find yourself waiting for a bank transfer or a check in the mail?
  • Reputation. What do other sellers say about their experience with the service? Was it transparent and fair, or did they feel ripped off in the end? Has the Better Business Bureau rated the company?

To help you choose the right platform for selling your car, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular services currently available online. We hope this information makes it possible for you to sell your car quickly and get the most possible cash out of the deal!

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