Selling Your Car?

6 Top Appraisal Questions We Hear From Customers

Top questions when you are selling your car

Selling a car, just like buying one, is a big financial transaction. You may be familiar with CarMax as the best place to find and buy used cars, but millions of customers also count on us as an easy and convenient way to sell a car.

We're here to help answer your questions and share some tips so you can sell your car with confidence.

Here are the top 6 questions about selling a car that we've heard from customers like you.

1. I want to sell my car. What is my car worth?

Many owners overestimate the condition and value of their car, so it's smart to do a little research. There are quite a few online resources that can provide you with general guidance and help you estimate how much you can get for your car.

To get an offer for your car, bring your car to CarMax for an appraisal. Our trained appraisers take into account the following factors when evaluating your car and determining your offer:

  • Mileage
  • Condition
  • Accident history
  • How well it's been maintained, inside and out

"Minor imperfections have little impact on our appraisal offer, but major defects like frame or flood damage do," says Tom Marcey, CarMax's vice president of regional merchandising.

2. Won't I get more money for my car if I sell it myself?

There are pros and cons to selling your car yourself. Going through Craigslist or similar websites may get you more money for your car. But for many people, the amount of time it takes and the uncertainties of dealing with strangers make it simply not worth the hassle.

Many of our customers come to CarMax for an appraisal as a starting point. "One reason our appraisal offers are good for seven days is because we know our customers may want to 'shop around' and compare other offers to ours," says Marcey. "And that's okay!"

3. What can I do to increase how much I can get for my car?

Getting last-minute maintenance or a thorough cosmetic detailing may help your car make a positive first impression on potential private buyers. To our appraisal team, however, the long-term maintenance and care of your car is what's most important in determining our appraisal offer.

Another key factor is your car's mileage. "Keeping the miles low on any car is a great way to minimize depreciation impact over time," says Marcey.

What about after-market modifications and accessories - like a spoiler or a unique paint color? While these upgrades might make your car more distinctive, they may also limit your car's market appeal. However, certain upgrade packages that include options like leather seats and a Bluetooth connection may be beneficial when you're ready to sell.

4. I just got new brakes/tires/etc. Does that affect my appraisal offer?

Depending on the type of vehicle, new wear-and-tear components like brakes and tires can be a plus. High-end luxury and sports cars are often equipped with specialty high-performance tires and brakes, which can be expensive to replace.

For the average vehicle, replacing these items may not significantly affect our appraisal offer. If you have any questions about your car's appraisal, your CarMax appraiser can provide you with a detailed explanation about the factors that influenced your offer.

5. Is my appraisal offer negotiable if I use my car as a trade-in?

One key difference about CarMax is that our appraisal offer is the same whether you buy a car from us or not. That's not always the case at a dealership.

You may be familiar with "flexible" trade-in values that are standard practice for many in the industry. "If you got a generous price for your old car, it may mean you paid too much for your new car," notes Marcey.

6. I'd like to sell my car to CarMax. What do I need to bring with me?

Requirements for selling your car can vary from state to state, but there are a few key items you'll need to bring no matter where you're located.

What to bring with you:

  • Your car's title or payoff information
  • All parties listed on the title
  • Valid photo ID for all titleholders
  • All keys and remotes

Contact your local CarMax if you have any questions about what you need to bring with you. Once you've sold your car, don't forget to contact your insurance carrier to let them know.

When you're ready to sell your car, CarMax is a great place to start. We appraise millions of cars every year, and our goal is to make selling your car a quick and easy experience.

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