Let me preface this whole post by saying: buying a car sucks. Car salesmen can be skeevy and if you’re not savvy, they absolutely will take advantage of you. Not to mention, cars are terrible depreciating assets and lose a ton of value the minute you buy them. What a scam. But, for many of us, cars are an unfortunate necessity.
I bought my Hyundai Elantra back in 2015. It’s a 2015, but it had 25,000 miles on it when I bought it, so I got a better-than-brand-new value on it. It was a good car and went on quite a few road trips and was always good to me. But I was ready for something new. Something nicer. Something that looked expensive without, actually, being expensive.
The problem is, I still owed a bit on my car and the value was less than that. So, if I were going to buy a new car, the negative equity would be rolled into my new loan, which makes the new car even more expensive. No thanks, I’ll keep this car forever. Even though the warranty is long gone.
Oh, but eeeeeveryone is offering incentives and low APR financing right now to stimulate sales and — well, I can’t help myself.
I talked to two different sales departments at two different local dealerships, each of which wanted to offer me some joke of a dollar amount for it. Again, no thanks. One of them insisted that after the incentive offers, the piddly trade amount they offered would amount to wiping clean my loan (the real goal here). While you’re not wrong, kid, doesn’t that defeat the point of me trying to take advantage of this sick deal you’re offering?
So, content to just keep driving my car forever and ever, I log in one day to CreditKarma (which, by the way, is an A+ resource to keep on top of your finances and credit) and there’s this little ad suggesting I see what Carvana would offer for me. It doesn’t hurt to look, right?
Imagine my surprise when Carvana offered me not just enough to pay off my loan but even more than that. This has to be a scam, right? Surely there’s no way they’ll buy my car off me and give me a good deal for it, without forcing me to buy anything back from them.
You get seven days to accept their offer. It did not take me seven minutes to accept the offer. Even if I didn’t get a new car right away, there’s no way I’m saying no to turning a profit on my used car. Right away they offer you an appointment time and schedule their local representative to come out. The only thing I didn’t love was that the purchase agreement was not readily available for me to review, and I like to cover my bases. No problem – once I reached out to ask, copies of all the paperwork were sent to me.
Within a few days, a guy in Carvana car showed up to take a look at my car. If the car has flat tires or isn’t running, they won’t take it. He took it for a quick drive around the block (about 5 minutes or so), then came back and signed the papework. I took the license plates off, he slapped a sticker on it for the tow truck to identify, and he was gone.
While he was in the parking lot he pushed the payment out — most of it to the finance company, the rest to me — and the next day I already had it. The finance company processed the payment within a day or two and that was it. It was done.
That was literally it! One brief conversation with a human and I sold my car and got a really good deal on it. No catch. Barely any waiting for my money (getting a check right away is also an option, but costs $5).
I’ll admit, I was really skeptical about the whole process. When your intuition says it is way too good to be true, it’s usually right, but I was happy to be wrong about this and glad I took a chance. I would absolutely do it again if I needed to sell a car and 100% recommend it to anyone else.