Let’s talk about car buying.
CarMax has a reputation for being one of the more expensive places you can buy used car. Even so I feel that for me it was worth the extra cost. Before I dive into why I feel that way let’s look at the numbers for a base 2009 Boxster.
CarMax Sticker for my Boxster: $27K
KKB Estimated Range: $25K to 29.5K
Autotrader Average Price: $32.5K
I bought my Boxster in early March and as I recall the prices on Autotrader and CarMax mostly fell in the $25K to $29.5K range that KBB gave. CarMax did tend to skew toward the higher priced side. There may be some seasonal effect going on. I found this article about how convertibles tend to be cheaper in the winter. They found the price could swing almost two thousand US dollars from winter to summer. But when I did a similar comparison back in March I recall finding the prices at CarMax to be a few hundred bucks more expensive. Others have found it to 10% to 15% higher than other options. The point is that compared to other available options I felt like I paid a reasonable price.
Back to the buying process. Once I knew what I was looking for I found it very quickly. A 987.2 Boxster with PDK in Guards Red. At any given time CarMax has about a dozen Boxsters of any year and at the moment there are only 12 Base ’09 or ’10 Boxsters on Autotrader within 500 miles of me. So I was fortunate to find just what I was looking for in just a few weeks after deciding against The Almost 911. While I had been searching for quite a while for Boxsters along with several other cars this particular Boxster jumped out at me immediately as ticking all the right boxes.
I live in North Carolina and the car was about four hours away near DC. One of the things I liked best about CarMax was the fact that they will bring almost any of their cars to the store of your choice for few hundred bucks; very nice if like me you cannot take a day and go look at a car. I think I paid $199 to have it shipped down. I had a trip planned for Easter weekend to go see my family and I wanted to be able to take the car. I was told that the guaranteed delivery time was 14 days but they made the effort to accommodate me and had it there within the week, just in time for my trip.
The test drive went well and my quick inspection revealed no major issues so I purchased the car that night. I felt confident doing so in large part because of their 5 day return policy and standard 30 day warranty. I did at the time pay for their extended warranty but I ended up canceling it.
Next Time: The First 5 Days
PS: Since you read all the way to the end I have a bonus mini story for you! I had planned on using a special check designed to look like Monopoly money with the image of the Monopoly car piece. I got it as a part of a sampler pack when I open my first checking account back when I was 17. I saved it for years so I could use it for the express purpose of buying my first car on my own. And I screwed it up, filled it out wrong, could not use it. Oh well.