How Does CarMax Work When Selling a Car?

When you watch the commercials on your TV, you get the impression that CarMax is a friendly, professional car dealer. The actors are all dressed cleanly, and they’ve got big smiles on their faces. Oh, and unlike local car dealers, the commercials actually look like they were shot by a professional. And while it may sound surprising, those commercials are actually a realistic depiction of how you’ll be treated at CarMax even if its prices are a little higher. (At least in this author’s personal experience.)

But while some of CarMax’s commercials focus on its promise to buy your car even if you don’t buy there, it seems like most of the coverage of the CarMax experience focuses on buying cars. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what about selling your car? Is that as easy as the commercials make it look? To get a better idea of what that’s like, let’s take a closer look at the CarMax selling process.

What to expect during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, CarMax has had to adjust the way it operates, but its dealerships are still open. There’s just a little less distance between people these days. When you bring your car in for an appraisal, CarMax promises a low-touch buying process that includes determining the value of your car without driving or sitting in the vehicle.

Owners watch from at least six feet away while the CarMax employee as they appraise the car. When the appraiser needs the car turned on or off, as well as when they need something opened or closed, they’ll ask you to do that for them. It may sound a little extreme, but at least you don’t have to worry about your car getting contaminated with a deadly virus.

The appraisal you’re given is good for up to seven days. If you decide to sell, CarMax will cut a check right there. Just know that the appraiser may need to take your car for an actual test drive to confirm its condition before you get the check. Unless you plan to trade in your car, that is. In that case, you’ll be able to use the appraised value of your trade-in toward the car you want to buy.

What you need to sell your car

Regardless of who you plan to sell your car to, there are a number of documents you need to have ready. The most important one being the title. Which makes sense considering that’s the thing that proves you own the car. CarMax is going to need you to sign that over so that it can take possession of your car and sell it to someone else.

If your car is financed, though, you won’t have the actual title. That’s held by the bank until you pay off your car loan. In the event that you still owe money on a car you’re planning to sell, you’ll need to also show up with the payoff information. After all, CarMax needs to know where to send the money so that it can pay off your loan and get the title.

On top of that, if there’s another person on the title, they’ll need to come with you to sign over the car. It’s possible to do it without them if you get a power-of-attorney letter, but having them show up in person is much less complicated. Everyone whose name is on the title should also bring government-issued identification. You should also make sure you have your registration and all of the keys to the car.

More questions about selling a car to CarMax


CarMax Is No Longer Circling the Drain

Those are most of the basics that you’ll need to know if you want to sell your car to CarMax. Or just get an appraisal before selling your car somewhere else. But since we weren’t able to cover everything in this article, it’s possible you have more questions.

In that case, we recommend you check out CarMax‘s FAQ page. It has the answers to several more questions that may be on your mind. And if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, you can always give CarMax a call. We’re sure they’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.