Does CarMax Buy Cars – How Easy Is It, And Are They That Good?

by Conner Mckay

For many people, a car is a natural part and extension of their daily lives. But as with anything in life, there will come a time when you’ll need to replace your car with something newer. The moment of letting your car go passed on to someone else with countless unforgettable memories is never easy. Even selling the car itself isn’t always a seamless process to go through. So, you might be wondering, does CarMax buy cars?

You might’ve driven past them at least once in your life. That large blue banner is, after all, very noticeable. Equally apparent is the vast ocean of cars parked on their lot, with a handy “For Sale” sticker on the windshield. The simple answer is yes, CarMax does indeed buy cars. But perhaps the more pertinent question would be, does CarMax buy cars from you? Could you sell your particular car, whatever its model, age, mileage, or condition might be?

Although sometimes known as a dealership for newer cars, you’d be surprised as to how deeply CarMax can go to populate its inventory. They can accept a huge variety of different cars. CarMax’s process of buying and selling has been refined to make it easier on your sanity, too. It’s the little things that make having to sell your car a lesser pain on the posterior. So, follow along with our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ guide to learn more on how to best sell your car to them.

CarMax Buy My Car

So, does CarMax buy cars? Yes, they do. CarMax is the largest used car dealership in the US. So, they’ll surely be needing to find those cars somewhere, right? In 2020 alone, they sold over a million vehicles. 830,000 of those were used cars, while another 465,000 were done in wholesale auctions. CarMax bought more than 650,000 vehicles in 2018. They are spread across more than 200 different dealerships across the United States.

On CarMax, you can practically buy and sell anything from pickup trucks to muscle cars. You could choose to test drive the cars for 24 hours to get to know them better. Or, you can return that car after 30 days or up to 1,500 miles (whichever comes first), if you don’t like it. There’s even a limited warranty attached to each purchase, covering 90 days or 4,000 miles (whichever comes first). As such, there are certainly a lot of reasons to use CarMax as your preferred automotive marketplace.

Does CarMax Buy Cars - Selling Your Car

CarMax Sell My Car

Knowing how many vehicles are rolling across CarMax’s lot, you might wonder how is it that they’d have the time to buy cars from you. Moreover, what does the whole process of selling your car look like on CarMax? I think we can agree that one of the most tedious things to do is having to sell your car. Auto dealerships have had a bad reputation amongst a lot of people and for good reason. For one, they will haggle you to death on your car.

Does your car have the tiniest of scratches or dents? Yep, that’s a few hundred dollars knocked off the price. Oh, is your mileage just running a bit too far than usual? That’s probably a thousand or two knocked down again. Ah, you haven’t given your car a proper squeaky polish before you had it appraised? Well, surely that’s a 50% discount right there. Again and again, car dealerships can make a simple transaction much harder than it seems.

Not all dealerships are like that, but there are certainly enough bad apples around. Thankfully, however, standards have improved quite a lot in the past few years. Never has selling your car be any easier, more convenient, or hassle free than it is today. CarMax, similarly, has been stepping up their game, too. So, in our next segment, we’ll be taking a look at how does CarMax buy your cars, and how to sell your car to them step by step.

Does CarMax Buy Cars Step #1: Get A Quote Online On CarMax

CarMax can conveniently let you use its website to get a quote on your car. This can be done easily within minutes, from the comfort of your own home. All you need is your car’s license plate or VIN number, along with your state and zip code. CarMax will then match the details of your car with its own database, and give you a rough estimate for that particular car. This way, you can have an approximate idea of how much your car might be worth.

Does CarMax Buy Cars Step #2: Get All The Documentation For Your Car Ready

If you’re in agreement with CarMax’s estimation of your car’s value, then you might consider having it appraised for a more accurate price. But before you do that, you’ll be needing to get the car’s documentation sorted out first. The required paperwork will vary from state to state. Thankfully, CarMax’s website can make determining which documents to bring easier, depending on where you live.

Generally, you’ll be required to have your car’s title or payoff information. Make sure when you’re going to CarMax to have it appraised, that all titleholders should be present. This is in case your car is registered to more than one person. Your car’s valid and current registrations will also be needed, before selling it to CarMax. All titleholders present will also need their valid, state-issued photo IDs, and any other identification.

And of course, you’ll need to bring over and surrender your car’s keys and remotes. Note, however, that these items and paperwork are not required for getting an offer from CarMax. The appraisal process can be done without needing any of the aforementioned documentation. Although, it will be needed for the selling process. It would be more convenient, therefore, to just have it on you in case CarMax makes an offer you can’t refuse.

Have your documents ready before having it sold to CarMax.

Does CarMax Buy Cars Step #3: In-Person Appraisal Of Your Car At A CarMax Lot

Once you’ve attained an estimation of your car’s worth, it’s time to drive down to your nearby CarMax. You could use their website to find the nearest one located by you, for a free in-person appraisal. This is, of course, required for CarMax to inspect your car with their own experts. That way, they can ascertain more properly as to the car’s condition, and how much to offer in return. Their website’s estimation tools can only give an approximation.

Note, with the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic still ongoing, you might need to book an appointment beforehand. This will depend on which CarMax you’re visiting. There will be more on Covid-19 later on in our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ guide. Once that’s done, simply drive down to a CarMax dealership, and inform them that you’re here for an appraisal. Then, CarMax will send its staff to inspect your car more closely.

They will look into your car’s condition, mileage, history, make, model, and more. CarMax’s appraisers may also consider taking a quick test drive to learn more about your car’s well-being. This includes testing some of the car’s functions. For instance, whether the lights are working, or if anything needs repairing or replacing. This whole process can be done quickly, sometimes within an hour.

Does CarMax Buy Cars Step #4: Accept Or Take Time To Consider CarMax’s Offer

Once CarMax’s staff have completed the appraisal process, they will retreat to discuss, and then offer you a price to buy your car. This may vary from the original estimation from their website, contingent on the in-person inspection. If you have decided to sell your car to CarMax, they will offer you cash in hand on the spot. One of the things to remember about CarMax is its no-haggle policy, and how that impacts your buying or selling experience.

The price they offer is the price that you will take. There’s never been much room for negotiations at CarMax. However, if you instead think that you can get a better offer elsewhere, you could walk away. CarMax offers a 7-day consideration period, while the original offer stands. You can then take these seven days, and decide on whether to sell your car to CarMax. Later on in our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ guide, we’ll take a look at some tips and tricks to potentially gain more from your car.

Does CarMax Buy Cars During The COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s fair to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on most of society. Among those that were heavily impacted were car sales and the dealerships that have to sell them. In some markets such as the UK, sales of new and used cars were at their lowest since the Second World War. That said, the human spirit has never been inclined to stay down forever. Businesses, painfully so, have learned to adapt to the pandemic.

One of those businesses is CarMax. They have continued to operate for the most part despite the Coronavirus still raging in many parts of the US. Hence, you could still buy, or sell cars with CarMax. As mentioned earlier in our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ guide, however, that there are some new ground rules. Some CarMax dealerships require an appointment, and all of them have applied social distancing rules as needed.

CarMax Appraisal

The biggest change when it comes to selling your car at CarMax nowadays is the new appraisal guidelines. Granted, the general steps and processes are no different than what was mentioned earlier. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it has forced CarMax’s staff to appraise your car, and inspect it while also making as minimal contact as possible. Firstly, you’ll be required to maintain a minimum 6-feet distance from the appraisers as they inspect your vehicle.

CarMax’s staff will also avoid sitting inside your vehicle or touching your car’s most frequently used surfaces. Therefore, their appraisers will kindly ask along the way for you to do it instead. For example, they could ask you to turn on the lights, open the hood, wind down the windows, and so on. This ensures that you could still buy or sell cars on CarMax, while still following health and safety guidelines pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Does CarMax Buy Cars - They will inspect your car during appraisal.

Is CarMax Good

But, you might ask, what can I gain from selling my car to CarMax? That is a natural follow-up question to ponder after asking yourself does CarMax buy cars or not. Besides, there are countless other options made available online, and elsewhere for marketplaces to sell your car to. Among the most popular car marketplaces recently have been Carvana and Vroom. Or what about using AutoTrader, or CarGurus?

Maybe you’d like to do this personally, and instead have your car listed on Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. In essence, there’s no shortage of websites to choose from. Meanwhile, CarMax might seem like a more old-fashioned, traditionally used car dealership. What could it possibly out-do from the rest? Well, in our next part of the question ‘does CarMax buy cars’, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of selling your car to CarMax.

1. Hassle Free And Without Needing To Haggle On Price

One of the better benefits of selling your car on CarMax is its ease. Most people have reportedly been able to complete the selling of their vehicle with CarMax in under an hour. Car buying or selling can often be a nightmarish experience. This includes needing to haggle your way to a better price with the dealership. Or, you could try to attain a better price by listing your car yourself. But this will require you to deal with prospective buyers personally.

Moreover, you might need to entertain requests such as test driving, or pre-purchase inspection on your own time. Meanwhile, CarMax makes this much easier, and more predictable. Drive down to their lot, and have a free appraisal. Afterward, they’ll announce a final offer for the car. You can take then this offer on the spot, or take seven days to consider it. You won’t ever need to negotiate back and forth on the price. However, this ‘no haggle’ policy can also be considered a negative.

Another positive side effect is not feeling significant amounts of anxiety or pressure. CarMax’s ‘no-haggle’ policy means that there’s little incentive to mark up, or down the price of a car. This way, you can sell your car to CarMax, without feeling as though you’ll need to have an intense bidding war with the dealer. In contrast, most other car dealerships don’t have a (nearly) fixed pricing model that is used by CarMax.

2. More Time Efficient

One other benefit of going to CarMax to sell your car is that the whole process saves a lot of time. CarMax has drilled their appraisers and staff in prescribed methods for inspecting and then buying a particular vehicle. A vast majority of people wanting to sell a car on CarMax needn’t wait more than an hour. At most, it will take two hours for a more complex purchase. This is helped thanks to CarMax’s extensive experience with a huge variety of different vehicles, makes, and models.

In contrast, selling a car yourself, or going through most dealerships might take more time. Some dealerships may not accept your car or would need time to consider it before adding it to their inventory. While selling a car yourself would be limited by your experiences in trying to sell something. As a result, listing a car yourself might save money. However, it may also take days, weeks, or months before it can be sold.

Advantages Of Buying A Car From CarMax

For the most part, that concludes the benefits of selling your car in our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ overview. But for a more complete guide, we may as well take a brief glimpse into the flip side of things. What are the benefits of actually buying a car on CarMax? It’s worth noting that CarMax offers a trade-in option for cars as well. So, instead of selling your car outright, you might want to trade it in for something different.

Maybe you’ve found another car on the CarMax lot that suits your tastes. But still, CarMax’s “we take any car” approach doesn’t require you to buy anything from them. But we want to try and help give a better idea if you need to. So, here are some of the benefits of choosing to buy a car from CarMax.

1. Long Test Drives And Money-Back Guarantee

Buying a new car can be a nerve-wracking experience. This is especially if it’s used, and not understanding what issues it might’ve had before you bought it. But CarMax does offer options to make this easier for you. You can opt to take a long, 24-hour test drive period to know if the car suits you. This can help to further give your judgment a second thought, on whether the car is right for your lifestyle.

If you choose to buy it, CarMax also offers a money-back guarantee. It is limited to up to 30 days or 1,500 miles, whichever one comes first. At which point, you can then return the car to CarMax, and have your money returned. This highlights the peace of mind factor that CarMax’s overall experience bestows. You could always renege on purchasing a car from them, if it proves unsuitable, or if there are problems with it.

2. In-House Financing And Warranty Made Available

Being a fairly large corporation, CarMax naturally offers a wide variety of different services. This is done to accompany the usual buying, or selling of a car, to enhance the ownership process. Among those being offered by CarMax is an in-house financing option. This is a big benefit for most people, as we often choose to buy cars on finance. CarMax’s financing rates are easy to apply to and are extremely competitive with other financing options.

CarMax also offers a warranty for the cars that it sells. Every car leaving the lot will come with a limited warranty of 90 days or 4,000 miles, whichever one comes first. This is helpful since most used cars can cause their new owners problems within the first few miles. If this isn’t enough, then you could optionally choose to purchase a MaxCare extended warranty service. This will cost more, but it offers far more warranty coverage, for a lot longer, and for many issues that could happen over time.

Does CarMax Buy Cars - Optional extended warranty services to cover for repairs.

Why Is CarMax Bad

Right, by this point in our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ guide, we’ve learned that selling your car to CarMax entails many benefits. In conclusion, both buying and selling at CarMax is assuredly a headache-free and time-saving experience. For many people, these reasons alone are worthy of choosing CarMax over any other dealership. That’s not to mention the myriad of services, both standard and optional, that make car ownership better.

Even a simple warranty option goes a very long way in preventing heartaches down the line. However, it won’t be a fair review if there weren’t any downsides to selling your car at CarMax. So, for our overview here, we’ll be taking a look at some of the drawbacks that hinder an otherwise perfect experience.

1. No Price Negotiations And Fixed Pricing

As we’ve mentioned earlier, CarMax’s ‘no-haggle’ policy is both a pro and a con. On a positive note, it means that you can get fair pricing on any car you want to sell (or buy). A downside is that you can’t ever negotiate or argue for a better price. Whatever CarMax says your car is worth; that is what you’re going to get. Compared to other methods of selling your car, CarMax will for the most part offer less money for it.

So, even if you disagree with some of their appraisals, there’s often not much choice in being able to push the price any higher. For a large company that needs to cover significant overhead, this is perhaps expected. Although, there are ways you could potentially try to get a better appraisal. We will be covering this in more detail a bit further down in our ‘does CarMax buy cars’ guide. You can then learn more about trying to get the most from selling your car.

2. Requires An In-Person Appraisal

This can be an inconvenience for some people, especially in our day and age of minimal contact, and lockdowns. This is in contrast to some other car marketplaces that can offer to come to your place of residence. But with CarMax, you’re required to drive to one of their dealerships in order to get an appraisal and inspection done. Even with more than 200 dealerships across the US, a more versatile option for selling your car would be even better.

CarMax requires an in-person inspection and appraisal to be done.

CarMax Selling Process

At this point in our review, we can take a deeper dive into ways that you can try to game the system. This way, we’ll be teaching you how to get the most dime from selling your car. CarMax’s no-haggle policy leaves little room for negotiations. However, you can at least try to make a good presentation before the appraisal process is complete. After which point, there is no easy way to get CarMax to up the price of your car.

So, what could you possibly do to try and get more from selling your car? Well, as they say, first impressions are ever-lasting impressions. So, here are a few tips and tricks, so that you can leave CarMax with as much money as is possible.

1. Prepare And Compile Service History

The condition of your car is important in determining its final value. This applies to every dealership, including CarMax, or if you’re selling your car privately. A buyer, including CarMax in this case, will always be open to paying more. But this is only so if they’re confident that your car is in perfect, or at least good condition. So, try to compile a complete service history book to up their trust in you. Try to include your service intervals and any other work that you’ve done on the car.

2. Maintain Your Car’s Condition

Double check your car’s well-being before having it appraised at CarMax. Even the little things, let alone a full-blown ‘check engine’ light, can have detrimental effects on your car’s value. If you’re handy or knowledgeable, go around the car to check if it’s at least in a serviceable condition. For instance, monitor the engine oil, or if there are any puddles leaking underneath your car. Notice any weird noises or rattling while driving? If so, have it checked and fixed before selling it.

3. Give Your Car A Good Detailing

CarMax doesn’t require a full detailing to be done for your car during the appraisal process. In short, it doesn’t have to be clean for CarMax to put a value on it. However, first impressions are important. That effect alone could give them a psychological boost to consider upping their price. It’s amazing to see how a bit of soap could increase a car’s value by so much. So, before selling your car, make sure it’s as spotless as it can be. Inside and out, give it a wash, polish, and vacuum where needed.

Does CarMax Buy Cars - Wash your car for a better impression before appraisal.

Facts about CarMax: Buying and Selling Used Cars, Financing, and Other Details

  1. CarMax specializes in buying and selling used cars, with an inventory of over 40,000 vehicles that have passed safety, mechanical and cosmetic inspections.
  2. Customers can purchase a vehicle at over 230 CarMax locations, or arrange home delivery within 60 miles of select stores.
  3. CarMax also allows customers to finance through other lenders, such as their credit union or bank.
  4. CarMax offers financing directly to consumers through CarMax Auto Finance and works with other lenders such as Ally Auto, Chase Bank, and Capital One.
  5. CarMax Auto Finance does not have a minimum credit score or credit history requirements and says its range of financing sources enables it to serve customers across the credit spectrum.
  6. CarMax offers a three-day window to replace its financing with a better loan offer and allows customers to select payment due dates and manage their loans through the MyCarMax online platform.
  7. CarMax vehicles receive a 125-point inspection, and each online listing has an AutoCheck vehicle history report and can be checked for safety recalls with the click of a button.
  8. CarMax also buys cars and accepts trade-ins, with offers being good for seven days and non-negotiable.
  9. CarMax charges a non-refundable shipping fee if the car needs to be transported between CarMax stores, and the fee ranges from zero to $1,999, depending on location.
  10. CarMax sells used cars, and its inventory is mostly low-mileage and late-model used vehicles, and the company does not negotiate pricing.

Verdict On Does CarMax Buy Cars

It’s now time to summarize and end our little guide here. So, does CarMax buy cars from you? Absolutely, they do. CarMax certainly does, for the most part, live up to its motto of “we buy any car”. And they offer a fairly convenient selling experience, without any psychological fatigue or needing excessive amounts of time. Just drive up to any CarMax lot, and wait for their quick and cost-less appraisal to be done before a final offer is tabled.

This does come at the cost of being able to have the flexibility of negotiating your way into a better value for your car. Whether that’s a deal-breaker or not, we’ll leave that to you. But it does highlight the leaps and bounds that we’ve seen since the old days of having to get into verbal fights just over price. Whether it’s through CarMax or elsewhere, the wide selection of marketplaces available means that selling (or buying) a car could never be any easier.

FAQs On Does CarMax Buy Cars

If you’re still curious to learn more about does CarMax buy cars, our FAQs here might have the answers…

Does CarMax Negotiate

When it comes to CarMax’s offer, it’s a double-edged sword. For one thing, you can’t negotiate or haggle prices with CarMax. Therefore, if you were to sell your car to them, what they’ve appraised is their final offer. This is a massive boon for consumers who aren’t keen on spending a lot of time and brain power having to haggle back and forth with a dealer. In some cases, folks have even sold their car to CarMax and have gone through the entire process in under an hour. Although, this also means that if CarMax has offered you too little for a car, you can’t raise it any higher. It’s take or leave it.

Does CarMax Lease Cars

Currently, CarMax doesn’t yet offer any options to lease cars from them. In many cases, many of its competitors like Carvana or Shift also don’t make it possible for you to lease a car from them. However, you can sell your leased car to CarMax, instead. Once you’ve had your car appraised by CarMax, they’ll contact your car’s lienholder. Then, CarMax would offer them a buyout quote. If they agree to this appraised price, CarMax will pay the remainder of your loan to the lenders, while the remaining equity will then be distributed back to you. It’s a quick and easy way to unlock equity from a financed vehicle.

Does CarMax Sell New Cars

CarMax used to sell both new and used cars. However, as of early 2021, they’ve transitioned towards selling only used cars. If you’re reading this after January or February of 2021, then you can no longer buy a new car from CarMax. This comes after continued declines in new car sales. Although, they’ve still retained some of the benefits of buying a new car, should you wish to buy a used car from them, instead. For example, you can test drive a used vehicle from CarMax for up to 24 hours at a time. And, they’ve implemented a new 30-day return policy on all used cars.

How To Remove CarMax Sticker

If you’ve just bought a car from CarMax, you’ll quickly notice the plethora of CarMax stickers on your new car. Usually, it could be found on the windscreen and the bumpers. Thankfully, there are simple ways to remove the sticker without harming the delicate parts of your car, like the paint. First, soak a paper towel in vinegar and lay it on top of the sticker for 5 minutes. Leave it to soak, remove the paper towel thereafter, and try peeling off the sticker. Once the sticker is removed, rub the area gently with more vinegar to get rid of any remaining adhesive residue. Finally, rinse it off with some water.

Does CarMax Register Your Car With DMV

Yes, CarMax will register your car with the local DMV and will make sure that it’s passed all the necessary emissions testing. However, know that CarMax can sometimes take up to 28 days to transfer the ownership of the car over to you. If CarMax takes too long to hand over the new plates and registration, it’s a good idea to give them a call, just to make sure they’ve not forgotten to mail it to your address. It’s also a good idea to check in with your local DMV. Although not common, there have been instances where CarMax would take over a month to transfer ownership of a car over to its new owner.

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