CarGurus App and CarOffer Review: Find a Car, Sell a Car

The widely used car-buying app also makes offers to buy used cars.

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The bottom line: CarGurus gives shoppers access to a wide variety of dealer and private-party sale listings. CarGurus CarOffer allows users to sell their cars or accept an instant cash offer from a dealer.

What is CarGurus?

CarGurus is an online car-shopping platform that allows dealers and individuals to post new- and used-car listings. The company was founded in 2006 and acquired Autolist, another car-shopping platform, in 2020. According to CarGurus, more than 5 million listings are on its platform. In 2022, CarGurus unveiled CarOffer, an instant cash offer service to owners who want to sell their cars online.

CarGurus app review

Car-buying apps like CarGurus provide users with a simple way to browse thousands of new- and used-car listings from online retailers, like Vroom, and local sellers, such as dealerships and individuals. Many of the top car-buying apps feature robust inventory, access to vehicle history information and competitive pricing tools.

You can quickly filter new- and used-car listings, get price ratings and alerts for price drops and similar listings, and ask car-buying questions on a user forum. The app also offers expert reviews and user reviews for many car models, which can provide helpful context on whether a specific car is right for you.

This app is best for: Individuals looking for a wide selection of vehicles and personalized advice on the car-shopping journey.

App features

Loan calculator

Yes, you can input your desired loan terms to see estimated monthly payments.

Vehicle reviews

Yes, CarGurus experts and app users offer reviews.

Vehicle history reports

No, although it offers some vehicle history information and 20% discounts on full AutoCheck reports.

Price alerts

Yes, you can get notified about price drops.

Cash offers available?

Yes.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Offers a pricing data tool to see how much you should buy, sell or trade in a car for.

  • Recommends cars for you based on your views and searches.

  • Rates listing prices from “great” to “overpriced.”

  • Has a fairly active forum for users to ask questions (although the website experience is better).

Cons:

  • User interface may be glitchy or feel outdated at times.

CarGurus' app interface.

Listing a car on CarGurus: You can list your car on CarGurus for $4.95. Listings are valid for 30 days and can be renewed at no additional cost. Depending on where you live and if your deal rating is fair, good or great, you can pay $19.99 for a featured listing every two weeks that gets priority positioning.

Buying a car on CarGurus: CarGurus does not charge fees when you buy a car listed on its platform. Once you find a listing you’re interested in, you can send a message along with your contact information to the dealer or seller through CarGurus.

You can also start the purchasing process online for select listings marked with a “Start Your Purchase” tag. The process includes getting a trade-in value, if applicable; selecting your financing and add-ons; and scheduling your appointment at the dealership.

Yes, CarGurus offers a delivery service for select vehicle listings, indicated by a truck icon. This allows you to expand your search radius to nationwide, and associated fees are built into the listing price. If you choose this option, make sure you understand the dealer’s return policy.

Safety rating, days on market, EV battery charging time and recent price drops.

Can I filter out cars with accidents or other damage? Yes.

Can I filter for cars with only one owner? Yes.

Can I filter out online retailers’ nonlocal listings? Yes, you can use a variety of filters to achieve this, such as search radius, shopping method (nearby listings, home delivery, etc.) and seller type.

Apple App Store rating: 4.8 stars; 128,000+ user ratings.

Google Play rating: 4.7 stars; 44,000+ user ratings.


CarGurus CarOffer review

Our take

The bottom line: A good way to compare dealership offers with online retailers such as Carvana and Vroom, especially for those who do not plan to trade their vehicle for another car.

CarGurus logo

Key facts

  • Offers are good for seven days or 250 additional miles.

  • No charge to pick up your car.

  • Current loan or negative equity are OK.

  • Does not accept salvage titles. Does not buy leased vehicles.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • See best offer from those made by multiple dealers.

  • Offers free pickup in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Cons:

  • Does not sell cars directly, so trade-ins are not possible.

  • Price is not negotiable.

  • Does not buy salvage titles or leased vehicles.

  • Damaged, high-mileage or low-demand cars may get no offer.

How does CarGurus CarOffer work?

CarGurus CarOffer buys used vehicles directly from consumers in 36 states and the District of Columbia using instant price bids from a nationwide network of car dealers. Its instant cash offers are nonnegotiable and good for seven days or 250 miles, whichever comes first. CarGurus does not have physical locations but will arrange to pick up your vehicle at no cost from your home, workplace or other site you choose.

CarGurus CarOffer does not buy commercial or recreational vehicles. It also does not buy vehicles with a salvage title or flood damage. It may buy a vehicle that has been in an accident or has dents or scrapes, as long as the damage is clearly disclosed.

CarGurus CarOffer differs from some online auto buyers in that it does not also sell cars directly to consumers, so using the sale of your car to negotiate a trade-in is not an option. Most states credit the value of a trade-in against the sales tax on a new vehicle; remember that when considering CarGurus’ offer.

Selling a car to CarGurus

To sell your vehicle to CarGurus CarOffer, you’ll need to enter your car's 17-digit VIN or license plate number online along with the mileage, vehicle options and any loan information. You'll also provide your ZIP code and email address and fill out a questionnaire, which asks basic questions about vehicle damage and overall condition.

CarGurus CarOffer will email a cash offer, what it calls its instant match offer, typically within a minute or two.

If you accept the offer, a CarGurus CarOffer agent will call, email or text, depending on your preference, that day to arrange the details of the sale. You will be asked to describe any damage to the car and upload a photo of your driver’s license along with photos of the car’s odometer and title. The representative can also walk you through what you’ll need to do if other names are on the title or if the vehicle’s owner is deceased.

CarGurus CarOffer has an online tool that allows you to schedule when you would like a driver to pick up your car and where — from your home, workplace or other location you choose. The pickup typically happens within three to 10 days, depending on your preference and the availability of transport companies in the CarGurus contract network. In the meantime, CarGurus CarOffer will mail you the sales contract, which you can sign when the car is picked up. At pickup, the driver will do a visual inspection of your vehicle to ensure that it matches the description you provided online.

The driver will hand you a check, which can take several days to be activated by CarGurus (you’ll receive email confirmation) and clear your bank. Alternatively, you can opt to be paid with direct deposit to your bank account, in which case the funds should be ready in one to two hours. You will not be charged fees for either option.

You do not need to clean the car before pickup, and you should not sign the title until you are ready to hand it over with the keys. You will need to provide a government-issued ID, proof of ownership such as registration or title and any lien information. The pickup process should take 15 to 30 minutes.

CarGurus CarOffer may be a good fit for those who:

  • Want to have their car instantly appraised by multiple auto dealers.

  • Do not need to use their vehicle as a trade-in.

  • Have a vehicle popular in the local market that is not leased and has a clean title.

CarGurus CarOffer details and FAQs

Can you negotiate with CarGurus CarOffer?

No, the offered prices are not negotiable.

Will CarGurus CarOffer buy my car if I owe on it?

Yes. You’ll need to provide loan information so CarGurus can pay off the lender. If you owe more than the amount of your offer, you will need to cover any shortage. You can pay your lender directly or make the additional payment to CarGurus; then, CarGurus will pay off the lender. CarGurus uses a secure, third-party platform to accept payment.

Does CarGurus CarOffer buy leased vehicles?

No, CarGurus CarOffer does not buy leased vehicles.

Where does CarGurus CarOffer buy cars?

CarGurus CarOffer buys cars directly from consumers via its instant cash offer in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Can I drop off my car instead of having it picked up at my home or office?

No, CarGurus CarOffer does not have physical locations, and you cannot drop your car off. The company will arrange to have one of its transportation partners pick up your car at your home, office or other location you choose.

What if someone else’s name is on the title?

CarGurus CarOffer will walk you through the process of selling a vehicle that has a lost title, has someone else’s name on the title or belongs to someone who is deceased.

Does CarGurus have restrictions on vehicles it will buy? CarGurus CarOffer does not buy vehicles that have a salvage title or flood damage. In addition, CarGurus may not make offers on vehicles seen as unattractive to buyers in your area. These include cars that have extensive damage, are nondrivable or that are old or have high mileage. It can also include exotic (high-performing and eye-catching vehicles) or rare models. Cars that have been in an accident or have minor exterior or interior damage may receive a purchase offer, but any damage will affect the amount. If you do not get an instant cash offer, you can still list your car on the CarGurus site to sell it privately.

What more is needed to complete a sale? Driver’s license photo and vehicle registration, title if it’s in your possession, loan information if applicable; a description of any damage; and a signed sales contract.

When am I paid? If you choose direct deposit into your bank account, CarGurus CarOffer says it will deposit the cash into your account within one to two hours of handing over your keys. If you choose not to link your bank account to the CarGuru portal, the driver will hand you a check when they pick up the car. You’ll have to wait for check activation ahead of cashing it (you’ll receive an email confirmation), and it may take several days to be cleared by your bank. You will not be charged fees for either option.

Will I be charged fees? No, CarGurus CarOffer does not charge fees to sell your car and have it picked up.

Can the price change after I’ve handed over the car? It can if you have not disclosed damage.

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