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My Experience Buying A Car Online From Carvana

Our daughter, Faith, is now a senior in college and has been driving one of our family vehicles that has over 200,000 miles on it. The air conditioning went out this summer (and was too expensive to fix) and it has begun to have chronic repair issues. So, we have been kicking around the idea of helping her purchase a newer car. As you may know, I am an advocate of buying cars that are two to three years old with less than 50,000 miles on them. I have found over the years that this is the 'sweet spot' in used car pricing.

Finding a used car at a decent price within these parameters is not always easy. I recently learned about an online used car dealer by the name of Carvana. I know people that have bought used cars online through auction sites, but I just never had confidence in the idea. I had all the objections that most people do. How would I be able to really check the car out? What if it turned out to be a lemon when I got it? More than anything, out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at Carvana. Spoiler alert - it all worked out, as this past week we received delivery of my daughter's 'new' car - a 2014 Ford Fiesta (see picture below). Now, the rest of the story...


First, the website is just amazing, and the ease of moving around looking at cars and price ranges was something I had never seen before. Secondly, the site does a superb job of providing a 360 view of each car, and even lets you open the doors and take a look inside (and pop the hood). I kid you not, it is almost like being able to physically have the car in front of you. You might think that these are 'stock' pictures, but they are actual pictures of each car. You will also see a nice punch list of 'imperfections' that are fully disclosed (scratches and dings, etc...). Perhaps the most exciting aspect of shopping for a car through Carvana is the ability to do so from your living room couch. I just love the enormous inventory that can be sorted by everything from price to color to make and model (with cars starting as low as $6,000). There is no bidding or negotiating, as the each car has a 'no haggle' price.

A nice feature as well is the promise that Carvana does not sell any car that has been in an accident.


 What If I Don't Like The Car After It Is Delivered?

The people behind Carvana have really thought through and developed solutions to overcome every concern associated with the process. When the vehicle was delivered to our driveway, we were given ample time to check it out, and even go on a test drive. Carvana then provides a one week trial period that includes the option of returning the car if we are not satisfied. Yep, they come back to our driveway and pick it up and cancel the deal. Even after the one week trial, there are other substantial ways you are protected for the first 100 days (see details here).

What About Trade-Ins, Financing, Registration, And All The Red Tape?

Carvana takes care of all of the standard issues associated with buying a car, just like buying from a local dealer. We decided to sell our old car on our own, but Carvana would have taken it as a trade and picked it up when delivering the car we purchased. Our car was delivered with a 45 day temporary tag, and after the one week trial Carvana will fully register the vehicle with the DMV in our name.  If you are not paying cash, you can even get your financing through Carvana (but you will likely get a better interest rate if you go through a local credit union).

It seems like the Internet has changed everything, and I believe that Carvana will change forever how people buy cars. I am sure you still have more questions - see their FAQ page here.  Full and fair disclosure, some people did not have the wonderful Carvana experience we did, and have posted negative reviews online (to their credit; Carvana has these available on their website Click Here).

Carvana also gave Faith ten $500 off coupons she can share with friends that want to buy a car through Carvana! 

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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