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CarMax Review

Saturday, May 18th

2024 Car Selling Site Reviews

CarMax Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated by the BBB
  • Locations in 41 states
  • Get a real offer online on most vehicles
  • Offers valid for 7 days
  • Get paid right away

CarMax is our favorite choice for buying used cars, but what about selling them? You can trust them in that regard too. While you probably won't get a great offer if your car is in less-than-stellar condition - CarMax is, after all, well-known for being extremely particular about the cars they put on their lots - it's a great option for a lot of sellers. CarMax is in 41 states with over 200 locations.

Get an instant offer - sometimes

Will you have to bring your car in to get a real offer online from CarMax? Sometimes. Many cars qualify for an instant quote because CarMax uses the auto's VIN or license plate to pull up the pertinent details. However, when we entered the details for a 2021 Toyota Corolla, CarMax told us that the car "is pretty rare" and they wanted to see it in person. Not sure that's very rare, but okay. Most of their rivals were able to give us at least an estimate right from their website on the exact same vehicle. You may have a different experience, depending on the car you're trying to sell.

Like your quote? Set an appointment.

When we tried a different car - a 2013 Honda Civic - we did get an offer. The CarMax offer page will show you a Kelley Blue Book Trade-in Value to compare with their quote; for the Civic, CarMax came in about $900 under the KBB median price, but $2,000 higher than one of their rivals we evaluated. If you like the offer you get on your car, you can click to save it or use the "Continue" button to schedule an appointment at the CarMax location that's most convenient for you. When you get there, a rep will do a brief inspection on your car to make sure it matches the information entered during the online appraisal process. Assuming everything checks out, they'll pay you on the spot and you're done.

7 days to think it over

Not sure you're quite ready to let your four-wheeled "baby" go? No rush: you've got 7 days to redeem your offer. CarMax even puts a handy countdown timer on their site to remind you how much time you have left (but really... no pressure...). Just remember that you'll need valid state ID for anyone on the title, current vehicle registration, all key fobs and remotes, and either the car title or the payoff information. That may vary slightly if you live in a state with electronic titling (such as Florida).

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Same quote whether you buy a car or not

You can absolutely trust the process of selling your car here. CarMax has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and plenty of positive feedback from individuals who have sold multiple cars to them over the years. The one downside is that their offers tend to be lower than you'll get in other places, especially if your vehicle isn't in top condition or you're considering a trade-in. We found that many dealerships will offer more money on the trade-in, because they hope to make even more money selling you a new or preowned car. CarMax, in contrast, offers the same amount whether you trade it in or sell it outright; it's up to you to run the numbers and see which one really works out best in your situation.

Is there a CarMax near you?

Also, there are no options for at-home pick-up here either. If you don't have a CarMax within a reasonable driving distance from where you live or work, you'll have to choose a different service.

Worth considering when selling a car

Generally speaking, CarMax has a lot of loyal customers who wouldn't dream of buying or selling a car anywhere else. They love the no-funny-business nature of every transaction and being able to walk away with cash in hand, no need to wait for a check in the mail or for documents to get passed back and forth. For anyone with a CarMax nearby, it should be one of the options you consider first when selling your car.

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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