KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax – Which One Is The Best?

by Conner Mckay

Are you thinking to get rid of your old car and you have been considering between KBB Instant Cash Offer and CarMax? Which one of them gives you the best offers and pays the most? We are about to find out which is which when it comes to the KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax. Because you need to get the best deal!

Selling a car that you don’t use is probably the best thing that you can do. Leaving a vehicle to rot in the backyard is a pity, to be honest. It is even worse if it’s a good running vehicle that still has a lot of life in it. That’s why selling it is a great idea because you are going to make money and you will give someone a good car that he will use for a long time.

And you probably want to avoid haggling and hagglers since you consider KBB and CarMax. If this is the case, I understand your trouble. Nobody wants to haggle with people and receive numerous calls a day in order to sell their vehicle. And if you are one of those people then considering KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax is the way to go. Since both companies buy cars without the haggling part and give you an instant offer. But which is better? We are about to find out!

In this article, we are going to discuss what are these two companies and how do they work. Then we will cover all the documents needed to sell their car to them. Then we will discuss how much you can expect to get paid and also the alternative options that you can take. So, follow along.

KBB Instant Cash Offer

KBB Instant Cash Offer is a service by Kelly Blue Book. KBB is one of the most reputable companies out there when it comes to car value evaluation and the evaluation of the running costs for each vehicle.

They also offer reports on the market value prices of new and used cars. KBB also offers reviews on new cars as well.

They started offering customers to buy their used vehicles. KBB is collaborating with a wide network of dealers nationwide and by using this wide network they can purchase almost any vehicle.

To use their service, you need to visit their website and look for the KBB Instant Cash Offer. Here you can enter your VIN and the information of the vehicle. Then you will get an instant offer by KBB and you will have a 7-day period to accept the offer or reject it.

If you accept the offer, you will have to take your car to the local dealer that is working with KBB for inspection if the information that you entered on the website is correct.

For your car to get accepted, you will have to bring all the required documents as well as the Instant Cash Offer certificate that you got when you applied on the website. This document is needed for them to know that this is you.

You will also need other documents that are required. These documents we are going to cover these later in the article after we discuss what CarMax has to offer and then we will see KBB Instant Cash Offer VS CarMax. Which of these companies offers the best deals?


Unlike KBB, CarMax has its own dealerships nationwide. They are present in every state and most likely is that there is a CarMax near you as well.

CarMax buys cars that they are looking to sell later. They buy cars at wholesale prices and they look to make a profit out of these cars.

They claim that they will buy almost anything that is out there and they do. But not every car enters their lot. This is the case because they want the best for their lots, they don’t sell bad cars.

That’s why they evaluate cars that need some serious mechanical work extremely low when compared to a vehicle in perfect condition. And this is understandable. That’s why if the car that you want to sell has major cosmetic and mechanical flaws and a rebuilt title. You cannot expect much from both KBB and CarMax.

KBB Instant Cash Offer VS CarMax

They also buy cars that the dealers or CarMax are later trying to sell. So, you can expect an offer that is 10% less than the market value of the vehicle. But if you don’t want to haggle, they are the perfect option to go for. You might earn less money but you will have an amazing selling experience.

Unlike KBB, when you sell your car to CarMax, you need to take your car to one of their locations. Then they will inspect the car in detail and will give you an offer.

This offer lasts for 7 days from the day you drove your car to their location for inspection. If you want to sell the car to them you can do it any day you want. But you will have to bring the paperwork with you and what you will need we are going to cover next.

Documents You Will Need To Sell Your Car

To sell your car to KBB or CarMax, you will be required to bring some documents. They are serious companies and they do not do bad business. That’s why it will be extremely difficult to sell them a car that you don’t have a title for (which you can solve by figuring out how to get a title for a car with no title).

One of the first documents that you will need is the Instant Cash Offer certificate if you try to sell your car to KBB Instant Cash Offer or the certificate that CarMax gave you for the estimate of the vehicle.

The next document you will need is the title of the vehicle. Without a title, you cannot sell the car to these companies. Some states are only requiring a bill of sale. So, if you have a bill of sale, you can sell your car. But in most states, this isn’t possible. The best is to check your local laws to make sure that you will be able to sell your car with a bill of sale.

Another document that you will need if your car is leased is the lienholder information. This is the case because you are not the legal owner of the car and your car is owned by the company that gave you the lien. They need to allow you to do this sale since you cannot make decisions on your own if you are not the legal owner.

Other documents that you will need are valid vehicle registration, vehicle keys, driving license, and government ID.

Car service paperwork is also required since they have to know what services have been done to the vehicle.

Then you will get paid for your car. Usually, everything is done in an hour or less. But which is better KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax? Let’s find out.

Car Title

A car title is a document that proves that you are the legal owner of the vehicle. This document is easily distinguishable because it says “title” on top and below there is your information and the vehicle’s information. So, you will not be able to confuse it with something else.

It is also good to notice that there are a couple of types of car titles. The number one type of title is the clean title. The clean title means that this vehicle was never involved in an accident that totaled the vehicle. Clean title vehicles also hold their value more compared to other types of vehicles that have different types of titles. But what are the different types of titles?

One of them is the salvage title. This salvage title is a given to a vehicle that was totaled and repaired. Since the vehicle has the title, everything was fixed and the vehicle is in decent condition. But you should be aware if you are on the market for a vehicle like this that sometimes they do botched repairs on these vehicles and only make them look presentable to buy. When you see underneath the skin, you will be disappointed with what you got. That’s why you need to be aware and avoid possible scams.

And the last type of title is the certificate for destruction. This type of title means that the vehicle cannot be repaired and can be used for parts only. These vehicles are usually carnage vehicles that were involved in serious crashes, floods, or fires. These cars are not repairable and rebuilding them will be almost impossible. That’s why the governing body decides that the best is to scrap them altogether.

How These Companies Do Business

As we said, both of these companies buy cars at wholesale prices. One of the companies, namely CarMax is buying cars through its dealerships across the country.

While KBB has a different method and that is through their long list of dealerships that they are partnered with. Either way is the same. You get the official offer certificate from KBB not from that specific dealership, so selling the car to KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax doesn’t change a lot in terms of doing business.

Both of them also require the same documents that you need to sell your car to them. And that is the offer, the car title, and your personal identification. We explained what a car title is in great detail so you can have a better perspective on how this document looks and also where to get a copy of it if you don’t have it available at your house. Or if you lost it.

Since years go by and things get lost or damaged. So, this is the case with the car title. That’s why you should always keep them protected because one day you might want to sell the car and the only way to do so is by giving the car title and your personal identification to the buyer. Which in this case is the KBB Instant Cash Offer VS CarMax.

Either way, you go, you will need the same documentation and paperwork to push this sale through.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax

Now it’s time to discuss which of these services is the best when it comes to selling your car. The important thing is to get a good deal out of your car and earn the most money out of it.

Both KBB and CarMax buy cars at wholesale prices. This means that they buy cars that they later look to sell for a profit. That’s why you cannot expect an offer that will surpass your expectations unless your expectations are pretty low when you plan what to get out of your car.

Their offers will most likely be $500 to $2000 less than the market retail value of the vehicle. With old cars that are pretty cheap, you cannot expect that they will give you a bad offer. But if you own an expensive vehicle, offers can be a few grand cheaper compared to retail prices. That’s why if you own a car that is worth more than $10,000 the best is to sell it for full retail.

The way to go is to try both of these services and see which of them will give you a better offer. So, you can decide which is best when it comes to KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax.

Their offers will last for 7 days and this time is enough for you to think and make your decision. Go for the highest offer that you can get.

They are as we said, car dealers and they look to make money out of your car by selling it. There are also plenty of ways that you can sell a car online for a retail price and make money out of it. But which are these ways? Let’s find out in the next chapter.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, Consideration #1. Valuation Process

KBB Instant Cash Offer

KBB (Kelley Blue Book) provides a direct offer based on an extensive questionnaire you fill out about your car’s condition, features, mileage, and more. The questionnaire aims to get a comprehensive idea of the car’s state, ensuring the offer is as accurate as possible.


On the other hand, CarMax focuses on an in-person appraisal. You bring your car to a CarMax location where their professionals assess its condition, test drive it, and then give you a quote. This hands-on approach offers tangible insights into the car’s value.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, Consideration #2. Time Efficiency

KBB Instant Cash Offer

One advantage of KBB is speed. Once you complete their online form, you’ll get an instant offer. This can be especially useful if you’re looking to sell your car quickly.


With CarMax, the appraisal process generally takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Though it’s not instantaneous, some sellers appreciate the personal touch, believing it ensures a fairer valuation.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, Consideration #3. Offer Flexibility

KBB Instant Cash Offer

KBB often partners with local dealerships. This means that once you get your online offer, you’ll need to bring your car to a participating dealer who can validate the car’s condition and finalize the deal.


CarMax provides a bit more flexibility. After receiving your offer, you can sell your car to them, use the amount towards a trade-in, or simply walk away.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, Consideration #4. Trustworthiness and Reputation

KBB Instant Cash Offer

Kelley Blue Book has a long-standing reputation in the automotive world for providing trusted valuations. Many individuals and businesses alike rely on their data when making car-related decisions.


CarMax, as a large nationwide company, has built a reputation for transparency and no-haggle pricing. Their straightforward approach resonates with many sellers who prefer a hassle-free experience.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, Consideration #5. Market Influence

KBB Instant Cash Offer

KBB bases its offers primarily on current market trends and recent sales data. This means external factors, like a sudden spike in demand for a particular car model, can impact your offer.


While CarMax also considers market trends, their in-person appraisals allow for a more individualized offer, potentially leading to better prices for cars in excellent condition.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, Consideration #6. User Experience

KBB Instant Cash Offer

The online-first approach caters to the tech-savvy seller. The platform is user-friendly, making it simple to input car details and receive an offer.


CarMax’s physical locations and in-person appraisals cater to those who prefer traditional transactions. Their staff is trained to guide sellers through the process, ensuring clarity at every step.

Ultimately, the best choice between KBB Instant Cash Offer and CarMax depends on individual preferences. If you value speed and online convenience, KBB might be the way to go. However, if you prefer hands-on appraisals and the opportunity for a potentially higher offer, CarMax could be your best bet. Remember to always consider multiple avenues when selling your car to ensure you get the most out of your deal.

Alternative Options

Since we covered KBB Instant Cash Offer VS CarMax. Now it’s time to discuss the alternatives that are available for you. I’m saying this because why limit yourself to only two options when there are a ton of options on the market for people like you that want to sell their car online and make some cash out of it.

Some of these other methods are very straightforward and easy, while some of them may require some extra effort by your side and will to make deals with people on the phone to come and see the car in person. Haggling will be involved in some of them just for you to know. So, which are these methods? Let’s find out!

1. Peddle

Another great way to sell your car online is through Peddle. Peddle is an online platform that buys cars. This service is perfect for cars that don’t run or vehicles that are too old. These cars usually go between $500 to $3,000 and most of the services that buy used cars to later resell them are not even bothering with them because they cannot make any profit out of them.

That’s why Peddle was created. But how can I sell my car through Peddle? It’s pretty simple, you just go to Peddle.com and you insert all of the information that you are going to be required.

Make sure that you give all the right information about the make and model of the car. Then make sure that you note any damage because when they will come to pick the car up, they will look for this information that you submitted and will see that you lied. So, don’t lie to them, they are a serious company and they will not like that, they will simply reject your car.

When selling the car to Peddle, you also need to have all the legal documents for the vehicle. By this, we mean registration, title, and personal identification. For more information, you might want to look on their website if you want to be better informed.

The upside with Peddle is that there is no haggling and you will be able to get rid of your car pretty quickly. Usually, their trucks for pickup come after a few days, and then they pick up the car and you get paid. It cannot be easier than this.

Try your luck and maybe you will get a better offer than with KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax.

2. Facebook Marketplace

Selling your car to Facebook Marketplace is also a good idea. This is the best idea if you have a car that you can sell for a premium price. By selling your car on your own you will make the most out of the sale because there will be no middle man and everything will be handled by you. You will only need the free time and you will receive phone calls from people who want to see the car and also deal with hagglers as well. This can be unfortunate but big rewards require some sacrifice.

Just make sure that you make an elaborate posting for your car. Take a lot of pictures of the car and put the best that it can offer. It is also useful to add some images if the car has scratches, just for the people to know and this will give you some authority. Since you are honest and you don’t promise a perfect car.

The next thing is to write the posting and make sure that you get in detail with all the equipment that this car has and all the services that are done to it.

The last thing is to sell the car for a fair price. Don’t ask too much because you will be constantly on the phone with people who want to get that price down. By doing all these things, you can be sure that you will sell your car for a good deal. Far better than selling the car to dealerships.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is another website that has been extremely popular since the invention of the internet. Here people buy and sell almost everything. And here is the most likely that you will be dealing with hagglers. You can expect calls like “best I can do is $500”.

KBB Instant Cash Offer VS CarMax

That’s why if you have the nerves and time go for it. Similarly, to the Facebook Marketplace, you will need a good and elaborate sale post that will catch the buyer’s attention. Then you only need to expect the calls and see which one offers the best deal.

4. eBay Motors

eBay is also another option to sell your car online. Here you can make a listing and list your car. Then people can bid to win your car and you basically are selling the car without haggling.

You can also set the minimum amount that you want to sell your car in order not to sell it for $200 by accident. In the past, eBay has flourished, but it is still used even today. So, it is still a good option to go for if you want to sell your car and you don’t want the KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax offers.

Sell The Car To A Dealer

You can also sell the car to a dealer, similarly to KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax, they will not buy your car for a full retail value. But if you want to make a swap and get a new car from them, you will probably get a good deal.

So, if you have the idea in your mind of replacing this car with a new vehicle, this is a good option to consider.

KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have learned a lot when it comes to selling the car online. We learned what is KBB Instant Cash Offer vs CarMax and which of them is the way to go.

Then we have covered all the documents that are needed to sell your car. As we noted you should have the title, personal ID, keys, and service history.

Then we have covered some of the alternatives that you can also consider if you think that the offers that you got are too low. And these alternatives include Peddle, selling your car on Facebook Marketplace, selling it to a dealer, or selling it on eBay. Every method works, it’s up to you how much you are going to get from your vehicle.

Key Facts about the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer

  1. The Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer is an official offer to buy your car from participating dealers.
  2. The offer is calculated based on your car’s specific features and condition, as well as market factors.
  3. Your license plate or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is needed to provide accurate details about your car and ensure a more accurate offer.
  4. The offer is valid for 7 days and can be redeemed for cash or trade-in credit.
  5. Not all vehicles are eligible for an Instant Cash Offer, and the offer may be less than the Kelley Blue Book Trade-In Value or Range.
  6. Dealer inspection is required, and if the information provided about the vehicle differs from the dealer inspection, the offer amount may be decreased.
  7. Participating dealers pay a fee to participate in the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program, and program terms and conditions apply.
  8. Ineligible cars include those with mechanical issues, excessive damage, reported issues, vehicle modifications, or a modified suspension.
  9. To finalize the sale, bring the Instant Cash Offer certificate, vehicle title, registration, driver’s license or government photo ID, all keys and manuals, and service and repair records to the participating dealer.
  10. The Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer program does not redeem offers, purchase vehicles, or own or operate participating dealers, and offers are subject to adjustment by the dealers.

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