I know exactly the moment that we decided to buy a car. Even though we live in a car-centric city, Ron and I were holding off on taking the big plunge in hopes of saving enough money for a significant down payment. We’d have frustrating times when we’d need to get something done and it wasn’t possible without wheels but we’d say to ourselves, “let’s wait just a little longer.”
Untillllllllll June started to get really hot, hotter and more humid than we’d ever experienced before and we would wait until 10 pm to walk to get our groceries. If we didn’t, everything would be warm and melted by the time we got home, not to mention the sweat that starts the second we step outside. It was a swampy, hard to breathe outside night. We were locked out of our apartment complex because we didn’t realize the entrance was only accessible to drivers after a certain, constantly changing hour. It was that moment of choosing to hop the gate with our bags or walk on the dark parkway for a kilometer to get in on the other side (maybe) that finally triggered our change of heart. Three days later we were on the road to Nashville – to buy our new car from Carvana’s ridiculous and cool car vending machine.
We filmed the trip and reviewed our Carvana experience, skip down to the bottom for our vlog if you want to go straight to our video.
Some fact-y info about Carvana and why we chose to buy our car from there:
- It’s relatively new and flashy, it opened in 2013
- They have about ten locations across the U.S.
- But only Atlanta and Nashville house their trademark car vending machine (for now)
- Their stock is listed online with a ton of cars going up all the time. They have a 3D overview of each car with all of the details you’d need to know like the mileage, rating, shots of the interior, etc.
- Our favourite was the big, novelty coin you get to put in the slot to retrieve your car from the machine. Watch our video to see if we got to keep it or not!
- You basically buy your car online, they ship it to you for free if you live in a certain radius of the nearest city – I think it’s 100 miles. We live about 200 miles from their Nashville location and were quoted $600 for delivery. Unsure if we were even going to keep it, we rented a car and drove there to pick it up ourselves, costing us only $100!
- They are able to charge less than their competitors because they have a smaller overhead with online sales
- They have in-house financing (more on this below)
- You get to drive your car for a seven day test period and you can change your mind at any time up to that point and get a different car or cancel your purchase
Being Canadians in the U.S., there were a few extra hoops and shitty things we had to go through in order to get this car. It took a bit more time and effort on our part to make sure all of our ducks were in a row before we could finally go all in.
First off, Ron needed to get a Tennessee driver’s license. By law, that needed to happen within thirty days of our moving here regardless of us buying a car or not. The process can vary by state but he had to show up at the DMV with all of his id, including his Ontario Driver’s License, of course. He also had to bring a printout of his three year abstract (this is his Ontario driving record) which you can order online and it’s emailed to you right away. It cost $12 and if you find yourself in a similar situation, you can get yours here. We initially thought that Ron was going to have to re-take all of the tests to be licensed but with the abstract in-hand he only had to take a new photo and the cost of his state license was just $28.
Next, we were reminded of the harsh reality that our Canadian credit rating does not matter here. Even in opening an American bank account we could only get a credit card with a $1000 maximum at first. We’re not big on shopping sprees, but we were expecting a bit more so we’d have an emergency buffer. So it goes. The same went for our financing, which Carvana will give you an online quote for your interest rate if you choose to finance through them. Despite having a decent annual income and pay stubs to back it up, we were still quoted at a 14% interest rate which, after looking around, seemed pretty standard (and stressful.)
The race is on for us to further master the art of budgeting (having a hybrid car helps in that department too) and pay off our tangerine beauty as fast as we possibly can. We are sacrificing taking a holiday this year and will do a few day drives instead. Everything in Tennessee is new to us, and we have a car now, so there is nothing to complain about.
Please enjoy our road trip vlog and Carvana review below, and as always let us know if you have any questions about purchasing a used car, being a Canadian in the U.S., or anything at all.
We’ll be back in two weeks with a report on our Alabama road trip and the Tiny House Roadshow!
Thanks for watching,