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Carvana Review

Sunday, April 14th

2024 Car Selling Site Reviews

Carvana Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating
  • Quick offer online, valid for 7 days
  • Get cash or trade in your vehicle
  • Drop off the car or have Carvana pick it up
  • Get paid via check when the car is picked up or dropped off
  • Vehicles qualify if they are newer than 1992, the odometer is in working condition, and it can be safely test-driven

Carvana probably has the most visibility among the services that let you sell your car online and have it picked up right from your driveway. Founded in 2012, the company is based in Phoenix, Arizona and offers novel "car vending machines" in 28 locations throughout the country if you'd like to bring in your car instead.

Easier to sell here than with other services

Carvana has pretty relaxed requirements for selling them a car. As long as the vehicle is newer than 1992, the odometer is working, and they can safely take it for a test drive, it's eligible.

100% online process

You'll start by answering questions about your car: the simplest route is to enter your plate or VIN, but you can also click on the "get an estimate" button if you don't have that info handy. Within a matter of minutes, you'll get your Carvana offer; if you like it, your next steps include uploading your ownership documents, selecting your preferred payment method, and setting up the appointment to give them the vehicle. Carvana can pick it up at any address you choose, meet you in the middle, or receive it at one of their in-person locations.

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Get paid when they get the car

When you sell your car to Carvana, you'll get paid as soon as they get the vehicle, whether they pick it up from your home or receive it at one of their physical locations. That's a win over some services for selling cars who make you wait for a bank transfer or a check in the mail.

Lots of negative reviews - but mostly from car-buyers

How about Carvana's reputation? They definitely score higher with people selling cars to them than they do with customers buying their vehicles - but they seem to do much more business on the latter end. Client feedback on the selling cars side runs about 50-50: some people say that they got a great price on their vehicle and the transaction went smoothly from beginning to end, while others describe delays in paperwork, lacking customer support responses, and lowball offers. Their Better Business Bureau rating shows both accreditation and a "B+" rating, but there were over 2,000 complaints in the year leading up to this evaluation. We don't find that overly inspiring, do you? But again, we'd estimate that at least 90% of those complaints were from consumers who bought a car through Carvana and not the other way around.

Low risk to see what they offer

We definitely have our concerns about Carvana - but they're mostly with respect to the car-buying experience. There's not a ton of risk involved with selling your car here: you either like the offer they give you and get paid... or you don't. At most, you've wasted some time if they show up for your vehicle and you change your mind. Carvana needs to make some big changes to their customer service overall (as demonstrated by their many negative reviews), but there's no reason you can't see what kind of offer they make for your car and then decide.

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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