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Carvana Review: 8 Tips Before Buying or Selling
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Carvana is an online car buying and selling platform that has revolutionized the car buying and selling experience. It’s advertised as fast and efficient, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
In this post, we’ll share some useful tips for anyone thinking about buying or selling a car from Carvana and then leave it to you to decide the answer to the question, “Is Carvana good?”
1. How does Carvana work?
Since its launch in 2012, Carvana has been all about low prices, no pressure, and no haggle sales and purchases of used cars. The vehicles it sells are well-maintained and it’s able to deliver on its promises by cutting dealerships out of the process.
Almost everything Carvana does is online, which means it doesn’t have the overheads of a traditional dealership or a competitor like CarMax.
Carvana allows you to buy or sell a used vehicle from your armchair, with no haggling involved. If you’re a buyer, Carvana will deliver your purchase to your door. Alternatively, you can pick it up from a Carvana Vehicle Vending Machine located around the country.
According to Carvana, as of September 2023, the company had more than 22,000 vehicles you could choose from.
Carvana puts its vehicle through a 150-point inspection and there is a seven-day money-back guarantee on all vehicles it sells.
If you’re selling a car, contact Carvana and receive a real firm offer online in less than a couple of minutes. If you accept the offer, an on-site inspection will be arranged. If your vehicle passes the inspection, you’ll get your check there and then.
2. How do you buy a car through Carvana?
The Carvana car buying process couldn’t be easier. Once you’ve found the Carvana website, you get to search for a specific vehicle or use a more general category such as “Small SUVs”.
There are numerous filter options to help you narrow down your search. You can choose to filter by:
- Make and model
- Body type
- Year and mileage
- Payment and price
- Interior/exterior colors
- Seating capacity
Once you’ve found a few viable options, you can start checking out individual car profile pages.
The profile pages provide much more information about the cars including an interactive 360-degree view of the item in stock, along with multiple photos of the interior.
Click on “Vehicle Details” and you’ll also see the car’s VIN. You can look this up to see the vehicle’s history.
If you like what you see and want to get the process started, you click “Get Started”. At this point, you’ll have to create an account. You must provide your name, email address, phone number, and ZIP code.
The next step is to decide whether you want to trade in your old vehicle, pay cash, or finance. Carvana offers in-house financing if you require it, and you can pre-qualify on the site.
Next, you select your delivery option. It can be delivered to your door within a few days, or you can pick it up at the nearest Vehicle Vending Machine.
Carvana gives you seven days to test drive the car. If you don’t like it, you have the option to return it with no questions asked.
Vehicles come with a limited warranty on all mechanical assemblies for 100 days or 4,189 miles (whichever comes first).
3. How do the prices at Carvana compare with other platforms?
Carvana prices are very competitive, as you can see from the table below. We’ve compared three different makes and models in September 2023.
Carvana price (mileage)
CarMax price (mileage)
Autotrader price (mileage)
2018 Toyota Camry SE
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo E
2020 Honda CRV EX
4. How do you sell a car through Carvana?
So, what happens if you want to sell your car through Carvana? Is Carvana a good place to sell your car? Let’s see if we can answer these questions.
To sell a car through Carvana you have to input details of your vehicle, schedule an appointment, and have a Carvana representative come and inspect your car at your home.
The first step is to enter your license plate or VIN and click “Get My Offer” on the Carvana website.
Then you’ll be asked for further details including:
- ZIP code
- Premium features
- General condition
- Mechanical issues
- Exterior damage
- Accident history
- Loan status
If Carvana is interested in buying your car they’ll provide an instant cash offer that’s valid for seven days.
If you’re happy with the offer, you’ll make an appointment for a representative to come and inspect the vehicle in-person. The appointment could be the next day. If your vehicle passes their tests, you’ll get a check on the spot.
Carvana has a cool feature for anyone interested in the value of their vehicle. The tool is called Value Tracker. Simply enter a few details about your vehicle and Carvana will give you its current value together with a projection of value over time. They’ll also send you monthly email updates until you sell the vehicle.
As well as your vehicle’s value, the tool also shares market trends and key details that impact your vehicle’s value.
5. What are the pros and cons of using Carvana?
From the information we’ve already shared, it seems that Carvana is a good place to buy a car and also to sell one. However, it’s still important to make you aware of the pros and the cons.
- Used car inventory is easy to use
- No-pressure and haggle-free buying/selling environment
- No overheads usually associated with a physical car lot
- The entire process can be done online
- Seven-day return policy + 100-day or 4,189 mile limited warranty on purchases
- Prices slightly higher than a private sale
- When selling, offer may be less that you’d get in a private sale
- No opportunity to test drive before purchase
6. With Carvana, you get instant sale and trade-in prices
If you went to a dealership to sell your vehicle, haggling with the representative is a given. There’s none of that with Carvana.
Carvana delivers an instant offer for cash or the vehicle’s trade-in value. The instant offer is competitive and based on your car’s VIN, odometer reading, and a few other factors.
The Carvana selling experience is hassle-free. You don’t need to create a listing, communicate with a buyer and arrange a test drive, or worry about being scammed. However, you may not receive the full value of your vehicle.
7. Pick-ups and drop-offs can be scheduled to suit you
Both trade-in and sales of used vehicles on Carvana can be touchless and safe. You can schedule a vehicle pick up at your home or arrange to drop it off at one of Carvana’s car vending machines.
The experience is much more convenient than visiting a dealership or scheduling test-drive meet-ups at your home.
8. There is no price match with Carvana
Carvana offers quick and convenient quotes for trade-ins and sales, but doesn’t offer a price match. Your vehicle also has to go through a 150-point inspection because this allows Carvana to provide buyers with a vehicle warranty on their purchase.
Carvana has to purchase your vehicle cheaply enough to turn a profit and at the same time cover the cost of vehicle inspections, pick-up and vending machine expenses, and other operating costs.
Now you know a little more about Carvana, you can decide whether this platform is right for you. Don’t forget there are lots of other platforms for selling and buying cars, such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, CarMax, and AutoTrader. You also have the option of checking out your local ads.
Online platforms have revolutionized the way people buy and sell cars. Shopping locally is no longer essential, and with the help of an auto transport company like ours, you can find your dream car online. Even if it’s across the country, we can ship your car to your doorstep.
Want to know the cost of shipping a car with us?
What is better, CarMax or Carvana?
Carvana is considered the better option if you’re looking for convenience and ease of use. The company earns higher customer reviews and the process is online. Carvana is also more upfront about the potential costs of its financing.
CarMax, on the other hand, is ideal if you want to test drive your purchase before you buy it and you don’t mind travelling to the nearest CarMax location to do it.
Are Carvana cars overpriced?
In many cases, Carvana is slightly more expensive than shipping at a local dealership. Additionally, the prices are non-negotiable, which means you talk them down like you would with a dealership.
How long does it take to sell to Carvana?
The time it takes to sell a car to Carvana can vary. The process could take under an hour to complete or it could take longer. Filling out the online information takes only a few minutes, and you receive your offer within two minutes.
Once you accept the offer, having the vehicle picked up or dropping it off yourself takes less than twenty minutes. Carvana’s offer is good for seven days or 1,000 miles.
It’s important to note that these are just general estimates and the actual time it takes may vary depending on specific circumstances.