Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

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bagelhead
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Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by bagelhead » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:52 pm

If one has a car with relatively minor mechanical issues (say, Tire Pressure Monitor System needs fixing, one brake mildly shudders from slightly warped rotors, etc.) and one wants to sell it to Carmax, what is the best strategy to get the highest bottomline amount:

- pre-emptively fix the car, then get the quote and sell
- get the quote, then fix and get 2nd quote
- get the quote, then sell without fixing

stan1
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by stan1 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:56 pm

bagelhead wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:52 pm
- get the quote, then sell without fixing
Pretty sure its this in many cases. You could spend a lot of money on minor fixes (especially if paying labor) for things that Carmax doesn't care about.

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Cubicle
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by Cubicle » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:08 pm

I don't know about morality, but get the quote first. If they find something, then you can fix & re-quote.

runner3081
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by runner3081 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:51 pm

Get quote and sell without fixing.

runner3081
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by runner3081 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:53 pm

Cubicle wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:08 pm
I don't know about morality, but get the quote first. If they find something, then you can fix & re-quote.
No moral issues here at all, unless you intentionally try to hide something (pull out check engine light bulb, etc). They are buying the car, it is on them to determine what is wrong with it.

Besides, they likely get parts at a discount and their own labor is a cost, but not out of pocket, necessarily to fix and then make a margin.

TropikThunder
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by TropikThunder » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:05 pm

stan1 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:56 pm
bagelhead wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:52 pm
- get the quote, then sell without fixing
Pretty sure its this in many cases. You could spend a lot of money on minor fixes (especially if paying labor) for things that Carmax doesn't care about.
+1. You'll never get back the money you spend making their targeted repairs since they'll only value those repairs at wholesale. Say your car needs a new rear bumper. You spend $400 fixing it. They increase the offer by $150 because that's all it would have cost them to fix it.

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Watty
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by Watty » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:26 pm

bagelhead wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:52 pm
....what is the best strategy to get the highest bottomline amount:
Don't sell it to CarMax, sell it yourself.

Saying you want to sell it at CarMax but you want to get a high price is an oxymoron.

I have nothing against CarMax but you are at best selling it for basically a wholesale price.

AuctionRep50
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by AuctionRep50 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:39 am

Don’t spend money on repairs....

Typically, Car Max buys your vehicle and then simply wholesales the unit at a auction that they hold for dealers at their facility.
These are scheduled auction sales and they often consolidate trades and purchases to specific Car Max facilities for this purpose.
The buying dealer will likely repair it for less money or may choose to ignore the issue altogether.

Offering to buy your car is a great service, but Car Max’s intent is to build their brand and bring prospective buyers to their lot.
While your vehicle is being appraised, you can view countless sharp vehicles and perhaps become a Car Max buyer. If you are in the marketplace, you likely will find some beautiful, reconditioned late model choices.

Car Max will offer a fair wholesale price and make that offer stick for a specific period without pressure to sell.


It’s a fair way to assess your car’s value at wholesale , but to maximize your retention, you’d benefit from this information and take time to offer the vehicle to another buyer at some increase from the wholesale offer.

If you are inclined to stay clear of vehicle remarketing, you can expect a fast and safe transaction.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:42 am

Of course if you sell it privately, you may need to disclose known defects. Check your state laws.

Therefore, selling it privately with repairs could yield less than wholesale without repairs.
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:15 am

If you can fix it yourself for zero cost and don't mind the wrenching time, knock yourself out. I'm in that position, judging from your description. I would pull the rotors and sand them well. Warped rotors are pretty rare, actually. Built up deposits on rotors are very common and feel the same as what you might think warped rotors feel like. I also have a tire machine and could replace the sensors if I wanted to. I wouldn't bother. If you have to pay someone to do these things, you're likely looking at $200+ for the tire sensors, remount, rebalance and $300 for brake work. For this, car max will most likely offer you $5 more than if you don't do it. Yah...five bucks. Don't bother.

Instead, take the car through a car wash and vacuum the interior really well. Get some invisible glass and clean the inside of all the glass. That will add hundreds to the perceived value of the car.

When you get the car max number, shop it to other dealers. They may beat the car max number. I've done that by bringing a car to the brand dealer that the car is, if it's in good shape. Even if it's not, dealers have used car dealer buyers they work with who take not-ready-for-prime-time cars needing work or that are too old to put on their lot. Auction is a last resort, but certainly dealers will send off a car that they can't easily unload for more money in other ways.
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rich126
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by rich126 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:43 am

I'd agree with the cleaning as long as it isn't expensive (i.e., do it yourself). I usually prefer to avoid hassles and don't want to deal with private buys for a variety of reasons (don't care to meet strangers, allow someone else to test drive my car, legal stuff that I don't understand, etc.) so I always take my car to CarMax to get an estimate (usually quick and easy). Then after dealing with the car dealer on a new car, I ask them if they can meet the Car Max price (obviously saves me the trouble of driving it to CarMax and getting a ride home) and so far the two times I've done it, they have agreed.

I'm sure a private sale can bring more money but there is some risk with the money and I'd rather take the easy path. And if a friend or relative wanted it, I'd still be reluctant to sell it to them because I'd feel guilty if something went wrong, even if it was something I had no idea was wrong when I sold it.

Dealers/CarMax can fix things cheaper than you can in most cases.

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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by Mako » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:25 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:15 am
When you get the car max number, shop it to other dealers. They may beat the car max number. I've done that by bringing a car to the brand dealer that the car is, if it's in good shape. Even if it's not, dealers have used car dealer buyers they work with who take not-ready-for-prime-time cars needing work or that are too old to put on their lot. Auction is a last resort, but certainly dealers will send off a car that they can't easily unload for more money in other ways.
Yeah, the one time I went to carmax there were a bunch of guys standing outside the entrance with signs like "We'll beat your Carmax offer at Bob's Toyota, 123 Main St."

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dm200
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:28 am

Cannot comment on OP exact situation, but I have been pleasantly surprised in successfully selling two cars on Craigslist, where the cars have had problems (which I fully disclosed to potential buyers). In both cases, the disclosed problems were significant.

I might get the Carmax (without fixing problems) quote - then offer it on Craigslist for a higher amount - then (fully disclosing problems to potential buyers) see what you can get.

In one case, posting the car on Craigslist with several pictures of the car, a potential buyer saw the neighborhood where I lived and walked around until he saw the car in the driveway - and knocked on the door. I was amazed (in a positive way). He ended up buying the car for my full asking price! [I then wondered if I had not asked for enough?]

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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by Goal33 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:38 am

dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:28 am
In one case, posting the car on Craigslist with several pictures of the car, a potential buyer saw the neighborhood where I lived and walked around until he saw the car in the driveway - and knocked on the door. I was amazed (in a positive way). He ended up buying the car for my full asking price! [I then wondered if I had not asked for enough?]
glad it worked out but that’s very creepy to me
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dm200
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:45 am

Goal33 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:38 am
dm200 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:28 am
In one case, posting the car on Craigslist with several pictures of the car, a potential buyer saw the neighborhood where I lived and walked around until he saw the car in the driveway - and knocked on the door. I was amazed (in a positive way). He ended up buying the car for my full asking price! [I then wondered if I had not asked for enough?]
glad it worked out but that’s very creepy to me
Yes - seemed a little that way to me as well - but it turned out ok.

The next time I put a car for sale on Craigslist - I will take photos in a public parking lot - AND not have the car parked in such a visible location.

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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:51 am

For the vehicles I put up for sale on Craigslist, I make sure the pictures don't give away the location. For the listing, I pick the middle of town, no specific area for them to come to.

I've sold 4 vehicles and 1 camping trailer this way. Either cash (nothing larger than a $20 bill), or I meet them at their bank, take the cashier's check right from the teller, and go deposit it.
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dm200
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:03 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:51 am
For the vehicles I put up for sale on Craigslist, I make sure the pictures don't give away the location. For the listing, I pick the middle of town, no specific area for them to come to.
I've sold 4 vehicles and 1 camping trailer this way. Either cash (nothing larger than a $20 bill), or I meet them at their bank, take the cashier's check right from the teller, and go deposit it.
Yes - excellent ideas!

j9j
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by j9j » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:41 am

Sold a few cars privately and to Carmax. With those issues, just quote and sell. Carmax will fix inhouse or wholesale the vehicle. Carmax primarily cares that the vehicle is in stock condition. For example, if you had aftermarket wheels, better to put originals back on and Carmax will most likely offer a higher quote.

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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by Stinky » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:36 pm

AuctionRep50 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:39 am
Don’t spend money on repairs....

Typically, Car Max buys your vehicle and then simply wholesales the unit at a auction that they hold for dealers at their facility.
These are scheduled auction sales and they often consolidate trades and purchases to specific Car Max facilities for this purpose.
The buying dealer will likely repair it for less money or may choose to ignore the issue altogether.

Offering to buy your car is a great service, but Car Max’s intent is to build their brand and bring prospective buyers to their lot.
While your vehicle is being appraised, you can view countless sharp vehicles and perhaps become a Car Max buyer. If you are in the marketplace, you likely will find some beautiful, reconditioned late model choices.

Car Max will offer a fair wholesale price and make that offer stick for a specific period without pressure to sell.


It’s a fair way to assess your car’s value at wholesale , but to maximize your retention, you’d benefit from this information and take time to offer the vehicle to another buyer at some increase from the wholesale offer.

If you are inclined to stay clear of vehicle remarketing, you can expect a fast and safe transaction.
+1

I’ve sold several cars to CarMax in the past, most recently about a month ago. During the recent sale, the salesman sat with me for a while and basically told me exactly the same thing.
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DL1111
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by DL1111 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:39 pm

Yeah, when I sold my one car at Carmax they essentially just walked around the car and looked at it, offered me a quote on the spot. They didn't even drive it. I guess he saw me pull in so he assumed it ran just fine.

illumination
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by illumination » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:04 pm

I would argue you're (usually) getting way under what you could to sell it as a private party selling at CarMax anyway and it's done for the convenience. So just leave it as is and let them worry about it. They'll have plenty of margin to make up for it. I could see them offering the same exact price with or without these issues you listed. They have the resources to get it fixed for way under what you can do it for and I'm sure all of the their trade-ins get some level of R&R, so it's built into the offer.

You might want to try a private party sell, I've sold several on CraigsList and get about double what dealerships offered.

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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by chevca » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:15 pm

Don't fix... take it to Carmax.... see what they offer... if you like the offer, take it... if you don't like the offer, leave and come up with another plan.

It's just that simple. :happy

As mentioned, you're not going to get your money back if you fix it first. That's only going to make a minor difference in their offer.

I sold a car to Carmax one time and was very pleased with their service. They offered me a good price, more than dealerships offered, and it was too easy. If you're looking for an easy process, don't want to sell privately, and don't want to mess with dealers, it's a very good route to take.

Personally, I'll take easy with a reasonable offer over private sale and optimal dollar any day of the week. That's just me though.

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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by JackoC » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:46 pm

DL1111 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:39 pm
Yeah, when I sold my one car at Carmax they essentially just walked around the car and looked at it, offered me a quote on the spot. They didn't even drive it. I guess he saw me pull in so he assumed it ran just fine.
That's also what's happened in most cases where I've asked new car dealers for trade in quotes. Sometimes they gave it without looking at the car, just figuring it's driveable if I say it's in the parking lot, apparently :happy . Other times they'd call somebody to go out to the parking lot and look at it, but typically back in a very short time with a quote. I only remember one time a new car dealer offered up a problem with the car (they claimed it was leaking oil) as factoring into their quote. Makes me think repairing cars for trade to a new car dealer is not worth it. It's nothing like my experience with private sales where people often want to rake you over the coals about a car's condition based on the article they read saying they should do that.

I'm not surprised if Carmax is the same as other dealers. In both cases they are offering prices that give them some cover from cars with serious non-obvious problems, which most people probably don't try to palm off on them without mentioning, and are mainly trying to make money selling people new(er) cars and related services (financing, future maintenance etc).

I've sold private w/ no particular horror stories, it's just a hassle and to me only works for a limited cross section of cars. I have and would again do it for fairly new, fairly valuable, popular mass market models: it's a liquid market so you can get it out of the way in a couple of days and the difference from private sale to dealer trade in is enough to care about. For junkers it's not, to me. OTOH for more expensive cars the market is thinner and it's a bigger devotion of time, but if the car is worth enough it makes sense. For example if for some reason I wanted to sell my newer car, 2018 BMW M2, I'd try to do it through M2 owner's forum. But if my son trades me back my former now 15yr old Lexus for my 5 yr old BMW, as he might, and then I sell the Lexus when it's 18 or 20 yrs old to buy a new car, I probably won't bother with private sale. Obviously depends on preference. In states where a dealer can net the sales tax on a trade in that makes a difference too.

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dm200
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Re: Selling to Carmax: Fix then Quote vs. Quote then Fix

Post by dm200 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:57 pm

As mentioned, you're not going to get your money back if you fix it first. That's only going to make a minor difference in their offer.
My guess is that:
1. Carmax can do these required fixes at a lower cost than what the owner would pay
2. Most (or all) cars that Carmax gets need something - so, even if you got the things fixed - Carmax may still need to do some more things

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