How to Sell Your Car to Carvana

By Julie Blackley

If you’re in the market for a new car, you might be wondering what you should do with your old one. Just as there are many places to buy a car, there are also many places where you can sell one. Or, you can even take on the process yourself and do a private sale

If you’re looking for a convenient and hassle-free way to sell your vehicle, you should consider the online retailer Carvana.While selling a car to Carvana is convenient, is it a good idea? And how is it possible to sell your car without leaving your home? We answer these important questions and more.

What is Carvana?

While many automotive dealers shifted to an online-selling model in response to the pandemic, Carvana has actually been selling cars online since 2013. The Carvana car buying experience allows customers to handle every step of the car buying process completely online including purchasing, financing, and trading in. Carvana will even deliver the vehicle right to your door for free if you live within one of their local markets. Otherwise, you can pay a delivery fee or pick up your car at one of their famous vending machines at the location that’s most convenient for you. Carvana has a large inventory of over 15,000 vehicles, which have all undergone a 150-point inspection process. Carvana doesn’t have any physical locations, so you cannot test drive their vehicles before purchasing. But, car buyers will have seven days after buying the car to try it in their everyday environment and Carvana offers a seven-day money-back guarantee in case you decide you don’t want to keep the vehicle. All advertised prices are final, as Carvana offers no-haggle pricing. More information on How Carvana Works can be found here.

Will Carvana Buy Any Used Car?

According to Carvana’s website, they will buy any car as long as it’s newer than 1992, can safely perform a test drive, and it has a working odometer.

How Do I Sell My Car to Carvana?

If you’ve never traded in a vehicle, you might not understand the process and how it works. Or, you might wonder how the process at Cavana differs from your local dealer. Here are the three basic steps to selling your car to Carvana:

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before you sell your car to Carvana, you should always do your research. You can refer to some helpful online tools to help you estimate your car’s trade-in value including the iSeeCars Price my Car Tool, Kelley Blue Book (KBB), or Edmunds. Understanding these prices can give you a starting point and help you understand how much your car is worth.

Step 2: Get Your Instant Offer

Make sure you have your vehicle’s VIN or license plate number handy, and go to the Sell Your Car page on Carvana’s website. Then you can begin the process to get an instant offer from Carvana in less than two minutes. In fact, we did it ourselves using a stopwatch and clocked in at an impressive 1 minute 32 seconds. 

The process is simple! After you enter your VIN or license plate number, and you will likely be prompted to enter other information about your vehicle’s trim. It will then ask you to select one of the following: “sell” if you want to sell your vehicle outright, “trade in” if you are planning on buying another vehicle from Carvana, or “not sure” if you want to see what you offer is and decide later. 

You’ll have to answer a few identifying questions and confirm details about your car including mileage, color, engine, and drivetrain, and then you will be prompted to answer more questions about the vehicle’s features. Lastly, you will have to answer questions about your vehicle’s condition such as if there are any scratches or dings, if it’s been in an accident, or if there’s any damage to the vehicle. It will also ask if there is a loan on your vehicle or if it is leased. In that case, you will have to enter your loan or leasing information. If you have a loan, make sure you have your loan company, remaining balance and monthly payment information handy; and if you are leasing, you will need to know your lease company, payoff amount, and monthly payment. 

When you’ve answered all the necessary questions, enter your email and select “get your offer.” It will calculate for around 30 seconds, and then your offer will appear. Or, if it is unable to give you an instant offer, it will let you know the offer is pending and you will receive it the next day. Remember, there’s no haggling and this offer is final. Once you complete the necessary information, a Carvana representative will contact you within three business days.

Step 3:  Closing the Deal

The next step depends on if you are selling your car or trading it in.

Selling

If you decide to sell your car to Carvana without purchasing one from the retailer, it will ask you to upload a picture of your odometer, a picture of the vehicle title, and photo identification such as a driver’s license. It will also ask how you want to get paid, which includes who they will make the check out to. (Yes, Carvana will hand you a physical check when they pick up the vehicle, which seems a little behind the times for an online company.) Then schedule an appointment for Carvana to come and pick up your vehicle.

When Carvana picks up the car, they will go through a checklist to make sure the vehicle is how you described it. Then they will issue you your check on the spot.

Trading In

If you decide to trade in your vehicle and purchase one from Carvana, you will apply your trade-in toward the purchase of your vehicle.

Your vehicle will then be picked up when your new one is delivered, or if you are picking your vehicle up from a vending machine,you will drop it off there. Your car will then be inspected to make sure it matches your description. Carvana will hold onto your car during your seven-day trial period in case you decide you don’t want to keep your new vehicle.

Will Carvana Give Me the Best Offer?

Just as you would when buying a car, it’s always a good idea to shop around. Keep in mind that your offer from Carvana is good for seven days, which gives you time to see if you can get a better offer elsewhere. Be sure to get prices from other dealers such as CarMax or other local dealers. (Be sure to refer to this article which details the process of selling a car to Carmax.) If you’re buying a car from Carvana, it might be tempting to buy and sell at the same place, but it might be worth the inconvenience if you can get a better offer from another retailer. Also, Carvana’s offer is haggle-free, while you might be able to negotiate with other dealers.

However, selling a car through Carvana or any used retailer will not get you as much money as doing a private sale through iSeeCars.com, Craigslist, or Autotrader. However, Carvana provides a more convenient selling experience, especially because it will save you the hassle of advertising the car and coordinating showings.  Carvana will also handle all paperwork and registration information, whereas private sellers will have to make a trip to the dreaded RMV.

Bottom Line

Carvana offers a hassle-free way to sell your car versus selling to a private party or to another dealer. Unlike CarMax or other used car dealers, you can complete the entire transaction without leaving your home. However, this convenience can come at a cost. While Carvana offers competitive pricing for your used car, you might find a better offer at another car dealership or make even more money with a private sale

If buying or selling a car online appeals to you, be sure to check out our articles about other online retailers including CarMax vs. Carvana and Carvana vs. VROOM to help you decide which used vehicle retailer is best for you. 

Even if you aren’t convinced that online car shopping is for you, it doesn’t hurt to at least get your offer from Carvana if you are selling your vehicle. After all, it only takes two minutes! 

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle to replace your old car. Check out some of our handy guides:

If you’re interested in a new car or a used car, be sure to check out iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. It uses advanced algorithms to help shoppers find the best car deals across all vehicle types and provides key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. Filter by make, model, price, and special features to find the best deal on your next vehicle.