Tips, Tricks & Trends

Carmax’s Highest Appraisal Offer Will Leave You Dumbfounded

When it comes to selling your car to a dealer, there’s almost no easier way to get it done than going to Carmax. You simply bring your car to any Carmax location, they appraise it and then give you an offer right on the spot with a seven-day grace period. The process is so easy that many YouTubers have posted videos of their high-value cars getting appraised at Carmax just to see what the retailer would give them. This made me wonder: What is the highest amount that Carmax has offered anyone?

Carmax’s appraisals depend on the car and the market

I have some personal experience in getting my own car appraised at Carmax and I can tell you that the process is really easy. The first time I went to Carmax for an appraisal, I had them check out my 2007 Honda Element since I was planning to sell it anyway. I knew I could get more by selling it to a private party, but I always heard that Carmax gives great offers, so why not? For reference, my Element’s retail value at the time was between $5,000 to $6,500 according to KBB, so with that in mind, my hopes were high. But alas, they hit me with an offer of $3,500.

That offer was a bit of a slap in the face but the Carmax employee was quick to tell me that their offer depends not only on the KBB value but mostly on the market and what they can sell the car for. I can’t blame them, but it also explains why I fared much better years later when I got my 2019 Subaru Forester appraised by Carmax.

This time, the Carmax I went to appraised my Forester at $26,000, which was right about where it should have been for the market and it put a smile on my face because I owed $24,900 on the car. However, I didn’t end up selling it to them, I went with Carvana instead.

The outside of a CarMax dealership
A CarMax store in Pleasanton, California | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

RELATED: Carmax Is Now Allowing For 24-Hour Test Drives

Carmax’s highest appraisal amount

Personal experiences aside, it looks like Carmax is prepared to appraise just about any car that you bring them, at least from what I can tell from the countless videos on YouTube. Run a quick search for “Carmax appraisals” on the video site and you’ll be met with all kinds of YouTubers bringing everything to get appraised at Carmax; ranging from a brand-new Toyota Supra to an ultra-rare Bugatti Veyron with Mansory body kit that valued at over $1 million.

And while it’s easy to think that Carmax should be able to meet the pricing goals of these starry-eyed YouTubers, you’ll be surprised to learn that there’s actually a maximum amount that Carmax can offer anyone on their car. And that offer is $200,000.

RELATED: How Does CarMax Work When Buying a Car?

Is that the highest low-ball offer ever?

Don’t get me wrong, $200,000 for any car is a lot of money, no matter which way you cut it. But if you’re bringing the used car retailer a super rare Lamborghini Muira to be appraised – a car that’s allegedly worth $3 million – and they hit you with an offer for $200,000, then that high offer can quickly turn into a low-ball offer.

But they’re not out to insult anyone as they have margins to stick to as well. Besides, would you really want to sell a super-exclusive exotic car to Carmax? Probably not. In that case, the lesson here is that you should sell your car to Carmax if it’s something more mainstream, like a 2019 Subaru Forester.