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How to Sell Your Car to CarMax


PUBLISHED MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2023
Family relaxing in their lounge room mother showing father some information on a tablet as they research how to sell their car. Daughter is sitting on rug completing homework on the coffee table.

Curious about how to sell a used car to CarMax? We can help. 

If you’re looking to sell your car, you’ve got options beyond trading in or selling your car privately.

At CarMax, you can get a custom online offer that’s good for 7 days.

We’ve heard from customers that private car sales can take longer than selling a car to CarMax. There are challenges like price negotiations and some prospective buyers want owners to bring a car to their own mechanic for inspection. All told, it can take a lot of time — sometimes weeks or even months — to sell a car on your own.

And, if you’re still making payments on your vehicle while you’re trying to sell it, you could pay a lot while you’re finding the right buyer.

Here’s a quick resource guide for how to sell your car.

Why sell your car to CarMax?

  1. You’ll get a written offer that’s good for seven days

  2. You can leave CarMax with payment in hand

  3. We’ll buy your car even if you don’t buy one from us

How can I find out CarMax’s offer for my car?

There are two simple ways to receive your free, no-obligation offer.  Fill out the form below to get your online offer or schedule an in-person appraisal appointment at your local CarMax. 

If you’re ready to sell it to us, either make an appointment or bring your car in anytime we're open. We'll verify that your car's condition matches the information we received online.

Whether your car is appraised online or in-store, your offer is valid for seven days so you have time to think it over and compare your options.

What paperwork do I need to have ready?

To receive an offer in store, you don’t need any paperwork—just bring the car.

If you plan to accept an offer in the store, you’ll need:

  • Your car's title or payoff information. All titleholders should be present.

  • Valid and current registrations

  • Valid state-issued photo ID for all title holders.

  • All keys and remotes

Requirements may vary by state—click here to find out exactly what you need to bring.

How important is it to have a clean or detailed car before I bring it to CarMax?

Woman cleaning her windshield with microfiber cloth

There’s no need to spend a lot of money on professional detailing before you visit us. We’re not as concerned about minor imperfections as we are about how your car has been cared for over time. Read more about how to maximize your car’s value.

What’s the difference between trading in a car, a private sale, and selling to CarMax?

When you trade in your vehicle at other dealerships, you can’t be sure the dealer isn’t boosting your trade-in value in order to charge you more for a new car. At CarMax, we issue one no-hassle appraisal offer for your vehicle. If you’re ready to sell, you can leave with payment in hand.

Private sale could be a good option if you’re someone who doesn’t mind posting and responding to ads until your car sells, or if you’re willing to negotiate a sales price with your buyer. You could potentially get more money through a private sale.

Be aware, though, that selling privately comes with uncertainties that include:

  • How much money you’ll get for your car

  • How effective your ‘for sale’ ad will be

  • Whether you’ll need to drive your car to a buyer’s mechanic for inspection

  • How to transfer title paperwork in the state where you live

But if you’re ready to move on to your next vehicle, we can take the extra time and hassle out of selling your old one. Read more about how to trade in a car at CarMax.

What if I still owe money on my car?

If you have a lien on your car or truck, we’ll contact your lien holder to facilitate a payoff. To pay off your lien, we’ll need the following:

  • Your lien holder’s name and contact information

  • Your lien account number and lien holder(s)’s Social Security Number

If a previously paid-off lien is listed on your car’s title, you’ll need both the title and the lien release from the lien holder before we can purchase your vehicle.

If your pay-off amount is more than our offer for your car, the difference is called “negative equity.” In some cases, the negative equity can be included in your financing when you buy a car from CarMax. If not, we’ll calculate the difference between your pay-off and our offer to you and you can pay CarMax directly.

If the amount you owe is less than $250, we will accept a personal check. CarMax stores accept cashier's checks, certified checks, certified funds, cash, and debit cards. CarMax Car Buying Centers (locations that only buy cars) can accept cashier's checks, certified checks, and certified funds. Our written offers are good for seven days, giving you time to get any necessary funds to settle your transaction..

What needs to happen for the sale to be final?

Once we’ve made an offer on your vehicle and you’ve accepted it (and you’ve brought your paperwork, IDs, keys, and remote fobs with you), we can issue you a bank draft on the spot.

If you’re interested in selling your car to CarMax, click here.

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

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