This post is sponsored by Carvana. All opinions are my own.
Car shopping. Do you love it or hate it? It’s something I’ve done so infrequently, that I personally didn’t even know where to begin.
We’ve been a one-car household for the last decade. At first, it was for financial reasons, and then it became more of a good habit. When you’re used to sharing a car, you don’t actually need two. But then we moved back to California, and I knew I wanted to get my own car as soon as I possibly could.
Buying a Car Online
Just when I was considering all of my options for buying a car, one of my good friends told me about Carvana. I remember questioning her, “wait, so you buy your car completely online?”
“You’re telling me I won’t actually see the car or test drive the car before I buy it?”
“And they are going to deliver it right to my door and I can return it if I don’t love it?”
“I love buying everything else online, so why not a car?” I thought to myself.
Let’s be honest, it IS a little weird to change up car buying from a local dealership to an online site. No question, it felt a bit funny not visiting the dealership. BUT there are a lot of benefits to buying a car online, so I’m going to walk you through just exactly what I did.
How to Search for a Car Online
Since I decided to take the plunge and buy a car completely online, I thought I’d share my Carvana review with you. To start, Carvana’s site is very user-friendly. You don’t have to be a computer wiz to navigate the site. It’s super clear and easy to adjust your search options to find the perfect car for you.
First, I narrowed down to figure out the make and model of the car I wanted. I decided on a Toyota Camry for several reasons. To start, they are historically a very safe, practical, and affordable choice. Second, I’ve owned one before so I knew I liked them. Third, I know I will own it for a long time and not get tired of it. Fourth, it has great resale value if I do decide to trade it in down the road. We are also major Toyota fans. (I’ve collaborated with them many, many times)
Once I settled on the make and model, I use Carvana’s search tools to narrow my options based on year, price, color, you name it. I honestly wasn’t too picky on the color and I was even flexible on the year, but I was settled on a price I wanted to spend.
How to Choose A Car Online
Once I narrowed my results to just a handful of cars, then I used Carvana’s detailed photos and descriptions to determine which car was right for me. The great thing about Carvana’s site is that they list every detail of the car and they include close up photos so you can see any wear and tear on the vehicles. They also disclose any potential damage or issues.
For example, my car only came with one key and had a small dent on the side, along with some scrapes on one of the wheel rims. None of these minor issues were deal breakers for me, but it was nice to know, upfront, what I was getting.
There were a couple of cars that had larger dents or scratches, so I knew I didn’t want to go with those. Just like used cars at dealerships, you will find the Carvana used cars also have minor wear, but that’s totally normal. And you can decide which car is right for you based on whichever factors you feel most comfortable. For me, I didn’t want any major dents or scratches, but I knew that a minor dent or scratch was something I’d find on almost all used cars.
I would say that it took me about a week of looking to decide on a car. A lot of the reason is that cars did sell pretty quickly and I wanted to be sure I was comfortable with the decision before I pulled the trigger. Buying a car is a big decision, so I wanted to analyze each of the cars closely before deciding. I also wanted to check other websites to see if the price was fair relative to the miles, etc.
The Purchasing Process with Carvana
Once I made a decision, the process to purchase was actually really simple. I’m not going to walk you through every single detail of my process, but as part of my Carvana review, I want you to understand what is involved.
First, you have to decide if you’re going to finance with Carvana or if you’re going to have a third party financer or pay cash outright. Carvana will give you a financing decision within minutes. I did apply for financing with Carvana, but I chose to go with a credit union because I got a lower interest rate.
Carvana’s website makes the whole process very easy. You upload documents, like the front and back of your driver’s license, and then you set up the routing information for your bank so you can pay the downpayment.
There are a few steps you need to do to complete the paperwork, but it is all very easy and spelled out for you in detail on their site. You can sign the documents online and the whole process took very little time. Unlike the dealership, it was so seamless doing the paperwork on their site.
You can choose the delivery date that works best for you. My delivery was about a week after I ordered the car.
The Carvana team called me within a day to finalize all of the paperwork, banking information, delivery information, etc. They also sent several emails throughout the process to make sure each step was clear and concise. I always felt like I had so much information, so the entire process felt very transparent. Plus, if you have any questions, they have a great customer service line to walk you through the entire process.
There are two delivery options for your car. It can be delivered right to your house, or you can pick it up at one of Carvana’s Car Vending Machines if you live near one. I was lucky enough to get to experience both options. My car was originally delivered to me, but I also got to visit the newest Carvana vending machine in Westminster California. I was able to tour their vending machine and even watch my car come down the vending machine to be delivered right to me. It was definitely a fun option. I wish I had brought my kids with me that day, I think they would have loved watching me put the coin in and watch the process of my car being delivered. The technology was quite cool.
What Happens When Your Car is Delivered
The day my car was set to arrive, I received a call in the morning to give me an estimated delivery time. The driver arrived exactly when he said he would. Once the car was off of the truck and in front of my house, I had a chance to walk around the car. I examined it and then take it for a test drive before deciding whether I wanted to accept the car or not. If I was unhappy with the car at that moment, I could have chosen not to accept the car at all. The car seemed to be in good condition overall, so I did accept it.
7 Day Return Policy
One of the things that made me the most comfortable with buying from Carvana was the fact that they have a seven-day return policy. For any reason (as long as I didn’t get in an accident), I could return the car within 7 days.
100 Day Warranty
Carvana also has a 100-day, 4000-mile warranty. So if anything is wrong with the car, like the brakes or engine, they will repair it within that time frame. Carvana also offers additional warranties for an upcharge.
What Makes Carvana Unique
The thing that makes Carvana especially unique to me is their customer service. I had several minor issues throughout the process. But every single time, Carvana had an answer for me – and always with the most upbeat and friendly attitude. It was overwhelmingly clear to me that Carvana puts its customers first. If there is a problem, they are going to go out of their way to solve it. They want you to have a good car buying experience and they want you to love your car.
There is also a major time and headache savings to not have to go to the dealership multiple times. Plus, I didn’t have to drive around to a bunch of dealerships to find the car you want. Carvana has so many cars available at market prices. Plus, they have that great 7-day return policy, so you know you aren’t stuck with a car you don’t love.
My Carvana Review
Overall, I had a good experience buying my car with Carvana. I did have some bumps along the way, but what car-buying experience doesn’t? The thing that made it all worthwhile is the fact that Carvana never left me without an answer and a solution. Unlike dealerships, it was clear they put me first and they wanted to ensure I loved my car. And I do.
I hope this Carvana review is helpful. If you have any detailed questions about my experience, please send me an email or leave me a comment.