Last Sunday we ordered a car online though Carvana. After spending about an hour looking at cars in our price range (under $10K), we decided on a silver 2015 Chevrolet Spark. Deciding was by far the most time consuming part of the ordering process. From there, everything else was easy. So now, as promised, here’s my review of the car buying process with Carvana…along with our
crazy ambitious plan to pay off our new purchase in just 6 months (while still working only 4 days per week).
First, Carvana. The website is easy to navigate, except on a mobile device where it has a tendency not to load the menus properly. On my laptop though, we were able to filter by price range and take a 360 degree tour of only the cars that fit our budget. The car’s flaws (dings and scrapes) are highlighted so that you have a fairly good idea of what condition the car is in. Our car, like a lot of Carvana’s cars, was a former rental car. The one thing that I’d improve about the website is adding the ability to compare cars. There were several silver Sparks priced at $9,000. To compare, we had to look at each separately and take notes.
Carvana offers several payment options. You can bring your own financing, finance though them, or pay cash. The financing terms are reasonable and competitive, based upon your credit and down payment. These, of course, are words I never thought I’d find myself saying again. Financing a car was definitely not on our bucket list for 2017.
Completing the financing application with Carvana took about 15 minutes. We were able to enter our down payment and select the financing terms that fit our needs (well almost, the minimum term is 1 year). They ask about income but unlike our previous car buying experiences, we did not have to send any verification of our income. Of course, the last time we financed a car was nearly a decade ago so this could be standard practice by now. Regardless, the credit check and subsequent approval was almost instantaneous.
There was an option to trade in our current vehicle but I felt we could do better selling it on our own. Turns out we were right. We sold the Xterra on Friday for $2,200.
After approval, we were presented the option to review and sign our contracts online. This also took about 15 minutes. For our down payment we had to enter our bank account information; however, as of this moment, the money has not yet been withdrawn. I’m not certain but it may be that they don’t withdraw the down payment until after the 7-day test drive. After completing our order, we received a receipt, a copy of our contract, and confirmation of our selected delivery date via email. Aside from a short email on Tuesday saying that we were all set, this was the only communication I had with Carvana until the day of delivery.
On Thursday morning, I received a call confirming our delivery for later that afternoon. The driver arrived as scheduled – at 3 PM – and yes, we were pretty excited to see the truck pull up. In 22 degree weather, we watched Jennifer unload our new Spark. After driving it around the block, we returned to review our paperwork again and sign for delivery.
In total, it took about 2 hours from start to finish to order our new car online and about 30 minutes to complete the test drive/delivery. Jennifer was awesome! She was super-friendly and answered all of my questions, all the while standing in the freezing cold. Before she left, she gave us a gift bag containing a travel cup, mints, a key chain, a bumper sticker, and a $25 Visa gift card. (She called it a swag bag. I called it an unexpected Christmas gift.)
As folks who swore never to have a car payment again, the decision to finance even part of this purchase was extremely hard. It was the single strongest factor that kept us going back to the repair shop with our Xterra for the past two years. In the end, we decided to pay about half down and finance the rest, with the goal of having it paid off within 6 months. It’s an aggressive goal but one that we believe we can accomplish without compromising our other financial and work/life balance goals.
As a minimalist, I like to look at things in their simplest terms. Broken down into its smallest part, we need only to put $10 per day toward this debt to completely pay it off in 6 months. That’s just 2 Easy Shifts or 3 Bestmark audits or 1 GigSpot shop or 1 Shipt delivery. That’s seems pretty doable to us.
Ordering from Carvana was one of the easiest things I’ve done in a while. (Far easier than ordering my “free” photo book from Shutterfly today.) Now, let’s hope our plan to pay off this purchase is just as easy!