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How To Sell A Car On Craigslist

March 23, 2015

We recently addressed How To Buy a Used Vehicle on Craigslist so naturally the other side of the coin is this post on selling your used vehicle.

In the past few years, we’ve sold two vehicles using Craigslist and were very pleased with our experience.

Again, we solicited the help of my father in the process but it can be done without having a mechanic’s help.

In this post, we will discuss the tips and tricks on how to easily list, show, and sell a vehicle for the best price.

The Preparation:

  • Clean your car. Like really clean. This involves a full car wash, maybe a wax, vacuuming, and washing all inside/outside surfaces free of grime.
  • Take some good photos of the car. Make sure the lighting is good and that it’s parked in a nice area. Think about what’s in the background. You want people to get the impression from your photos that you are a normal person selling a well maintained vehicle. Make sure to get pics of any rust or dents so your buyers are well aware up front of any damage.
  • Look up your car’s value on Kelly Blue Book website. Ask for CASH only and for a few hundred dollars above KBB.com price. This gives you a buffer to accept lower offers and ensures you get as much for your car as you were hoping.
  • Create an organized and informative Craigslist posting with your awesome photographs. Provide a paragraph or two about how well you cared for the car, any issues it might have, and why you are selling it. Don’t be that guy who posts one dimly lit photo of the car and the only information you provide is: “Great car. Runs well. Call me.”
  • Have all receipts or records of all service done to the car ready for viewing.

The Sell:

  • Screen out the people who call/email you. Answer their questions but also feel them out. Are they simply going to give you a low-ball offer and waste your time? Don’t even meet with those people.
  • If there is lots of interest, use it to your advantage. We recently listed a vehicle worth about $1,000 on KBB.com but we received about a half-dozen phone calls about it within hours of listing it for $1,400. We told everyone there was LOTS of interest and that the first person to come see it with CASH with the best offer would be the proud owner. The first lady showed up and offered $800 but again, we have lots of interest so we turned it down. Next guy came and offered $1,200…which we gladly took since we knew it was over the car’s true value anyway. We might have been able to dig up someone to pay our full asking price but we built-in a buffer so we could accept lower. And hey…a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • If someone makes you an offer but says they can’t pick it up for a few days, ask for a deposit of a couple hundred bucks. They makes sure they don’t just walk off and never call you again, all the while you are turning down potential offers since you *think* the car’s been spoken for.
  • Know what your bottom line is. What amount of money you want to get out of this vehicle to be pleased? Don’t settle for a number lower than you like, and as soon as you get an offer at or above that number, take it.
  • CASH ONLY. Do not accept loans or checks. Ever.
  • If you’ve found your buyer, sign the title over and take your money! 🙂

There you go! Easy peasy.

Selling a car on Craigslist is so simple and even easier than purchasing one. It’s great to cut the middle man out and get the most money out of your car. Trading it in or having a dealer sell it for you will only mean you get LESS money from the vehicle than you could’ve gotten. Do yourself a favor and just sell it yourself.

Again, have any questions or comments, let us know! 🙂

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2 Comments

  • Reply jannelaine March 24, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Loved selling my car on Craigslist! Seller beware: do not give in to temptation to write down the selling price on the title as lower than you actually sell it for. This is dishonest and also called tax evasion and can get in you big trouble with people called the IRS.

    Also, as above, the importance of multiple beautiful, accurate photos of ANYTHING you are selling online cannot be over-stressed. It can make the difference between getting offers and not hearing a peep.

    And I agree: never, ever, ever accept anything other than CASH (or a cashier’s check, which is as good as cash, I drove my buyer to the bank to get it so I knew it was legit, and sometimes banks have limits on how much their customers can withdraw in straight cash per day).

    And yes, always encourage to tell those interested to put their money where their mouth is: show up, test drive it, and hand over the mulah, because it isn’t worth “holding it” and passing up other offers. Timing is key, the faster you sell (within a week or two), the better chances you have on getting a better price before you posting is seen as too old.

  • Reply Muhammad Abubakar March 25, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Best way is to see other people’s post first..if somebody is selling the same model of car in lower price and condition of car is better than your’s then make some teasers and use in your description that directly hit the key points of the other seller…this way people will start thinking about the good points as bad advertising..like if someone is selling a good condition car in $1500 but your car is not that good and you want to sell car in $2000 make people believe there is something wrong thats why other person is selling his car..this will always work 😀

    You can learn techniques to use craigslist for leads generation on my blog http://outsource2freelancers.com/blog/

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