Browsing Tag

craigslist

Uncategorized

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! 🙂

Money

How To Buy A Used Vehicle on Craigslist

March 18, 2015

When people hear that we purchased two new-to-us vehicles on Craigslist they think we are crazy.

I get it.

People assume that Craigslist vehicles are posted by scammers, craz-o’s, or bad owners who didn’t maintain it well.

This is often true.

But not always.

And that exceptional situation is the one we want to help you find so you can get some serious deals on your future used vehicle purchases.

To aid in this post, I have solicited the input and advice from a well trusted auto-mechanic…Mr. Joseph Nissen.

AKA my dad.

Not only does he have mechanical expertise, the man is a deal hound.

Come to think of it, I’ve learned all my best wheeling and dealing strategies from him so to say I trust him is an understatement.

Below are a few nuggets of wisdom from him about sniffing out the deals on Craigslist:

The Preparation:

  • Scope out the photos for context clues…What does the neighborhood look like? What items are in the background?
  • Your best deals will be with individual sellers, not dealers.
  • Call about vehicles that interest you and ask lots of initial questions to get a feel for the owner. Are they shady or do they seem normal? Interview them about the vehicle…why are they selling it? Do they seem trustworthy? How do they claim to have maintained the vehicle?
  • Find a trusted mechanic who can answer questions for you and provide an inspection of the vehicle prior to any offer/purchase.

The Hunt:

  • Meet people in public places, such as grocery store parking lots if you can. Don’t wander into dangerous areas alone. Use common sense.
  • You are inspecting the seller just as much as you are the car…how do they carry themselves? Do they appear like a meticulous owner who maintains themselves and their vehicles well? Do they have any maintenance receipts and records?
  • Turn the key to on position and make sure the “check engine light illuminates” as well as “air bag”  light if so equipped. This is worthy of checking to make sure they actually light up..if they don’t, the bulb is burnt out OR the person removed the bulb to hide a defect.
  • Take the car for a test drive and check the transmission fluid afterwards. What color is it? If the fluid is brownish and when you wipe the dip stick off and there are signs of blackish remains that may indicate a transmission that hasn’t been serviced properly…not one I would purchase.
  • Check the oil level…also check the oil filler cap to see if there is a white-ish type sludge under the cap…if so the oil may not have been changed with any regularity.
  • Check tires to see if they are all the same type and make…if people care about the car they usually replace all 4 with they same type.
  • Have that trusted mechanic available to inspect the car, perhaps on your test drive.

The Offer:

  • If things are checking out and your trustworthy mechanic has given the thumbs up, it may be time to make an offer. First things first…what’s the car worth? Check out Kelly Blue Book’s website and enter all the necessary data.
  • In order to snag a good deal, offer a few hundred dollars under asking price.
  • That offer….it better be CASH!!!!!!!!
  • But don’t actually have the cash on you, unless in a very public area…that is a good way to get robbed. If they accept your offer, then you can drop by the bank.

Batta-bing, batta-boom. You my friend, have a new-to-you vehicle! 🙂

Like I said, we recently purchased a 2004 Jeep Liberty and 2007 Crystler Town & Country using Craigslist. We got each vehicle for at least $1K under Kelly Blue Book value. On one of them, we even had the owner split the cost of new tires. The other, the owner threw in an awesome car top carrier for FREE! Way to go dad! 🙂

My handy-dandy father served as our trusty mechanic and did the actual inspecting, offering, and purchasing for us and we simply paid him back. I know, you can’t get much more of an ideal situation than that but we wanted to at least offer SOMETHING for y’all out there who want a good deal on a newer vehicle.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Happy car hunting!

Money

How To Furnish A Home For One-Fifth The Cost

August 1, 2014

Folks, here it is.

The post many of you have wondered, prayed, and dreamed for.

Today I will share with you our thrifty tricks on how we managed to furnish our first home for one-fifth of the cost!

All the Dave Ramsey “nerds” out there are waiting on pins and needles…I saw you salivating as you read the word thrifty 🙂

I want to address a couple misconceptions first:

  1. Second hand does NOT always equal to dirty, nasty, or ugly. I hear people say things like, “Well we just haaaad to buy a brand new couch, since you know, all those used ones have lice or something.” That’s bologne. You can find some of THE BEST deals on lightly used items that are cute, trendy, clean, and easy on the wallet.
  2. Buying things used is NOT simply for “poor people”. Plenty of poor people only buy new things and plenty of billionaires buy things used. Buying things used and in good condition is SMART because you can take the savings and spend or invest it elsewhere.
  3. Buying and selling things used doesn’t take that much time. Yup, there is a learning curve to learning the art of wheeling and dealing but once you have a few transactions you will be amazed at how easy it can be.
  4. Buying things new is NOT a bad thing. I don’t want anyone to think I refuse to buy new things or am morally opposed to it. I definitely buy some things new, particularly if I can’t find a used item that is similar to what I was looking and hoping for. I simply prefer to minimize expenses on “stuff” so we can give, save, and spend doing things that have more value to us, such as experiences and adventures…oh and that thing called adoption 🙂

So, now that we have that covered, shall we dive right into the deets?

First let’s take a peek at our SOLD list and then we will tell you how we did it. I am a firm believer in turning unused items into cash so you can buy items you want/need. Look what we found laying around the house being unused:

BR Dress $76.00
Lucky Peach $99.99
Nike Shoes $36.49
Charm Bracelet $24.99
Women’s Clothing $17.25
Men’s Clothing $15.99
Pasta Machine $20.00
Leather Couch $50.00
Pub Table $150.00
books on amazon $46.97
Sage Couch $50.00
Vera Bradley Bag $52.99
Swimsuit $9.19
Kenneth Cole Bag $29.99
Skin Care Products $124.99
down comforter $25.00
Coach Bag $19.99
Sperry’s $24.99
green swimsuit top $19.99
Grey puffy vest $9.99
Gym Bag $34.99
Lunch Sack $15.99

Total: $955.78

Boo-ya!

Where did we sell these items???

ebay

Ahhh, my friend ebay.

For more than half of the items we sold, we used ebay since it has a wider network of individuals shopping.

For example – how many people in one city are looking for a Banana Republic dress in a particular size?

Maybe a few.

But on ebay I knew there would be several people probably looking for that type of dress…several people I could entice into a bidding war on my item to drive up the value. 🙂 So any item that would be relatively easy to ship and needed a wide audience got listed on ebay.

There are two types of ways to list an item – auction style or receiving a best offer with a “buy it now” price. We typically did the week long auction on common items, to drive up bidding wars.

On more specific items, like old patterns of Vera Bradley only a small handful of people want, I did the 30 day listing with “buy it now” or “best offer” options. With those items I always set my price at or slightly above competitors with similar items but was absolutely willing to take lesser offers to get the items sold. I always counter-offered to get as much as possible from the sale, aiming for at least 80% of asking price.

And for goodness sake people, the photos matter!!! I can’t tell you how many people take junky photos of a quality item and it makes the item seem lame or less valuable. Below is a collage of a few items we sold on ebay.

ebay.jpg

Craigslist

My other dear friend, Craigslist.

After spending some time on Craigslist, you realize it’s best for heavier, bigger items that no one would ever think about shipping or items that have common local interest. If you list something on Craigslist and it doesn’t get any hits within one week, try relisting for one more week. If no bites, try ebay to widen the audience,

When listing items on Craigslist, always ask above what you’d be wiling to take, since negotiations are key in this type of sale. By asking higher, you will likely be able to end up getting what you wanted out of a particular item. I always do this, assuming the buyer will try to offer lower. Sometimes they do, and I typically take the offer to get the item sold. Bird in the hand…

Sometimes they don’t offer lower and I feel a little bad…but hey, I was willing to go lower, they just didn’t ask. Not my fault! 🙂

Other tips of the trade – don’t arrange buying or selling when you are alone. Have a second person with you OR if you have to be alone, meet somewhere public. 99.9% of people are amazing and I have not once had issues with Craigslist weirdos but it always pays off to be smart and prepared. Below are a few photos of items we sold on Craigslist.

CL.jpg

We didn’t ONLY score deals by turning unused items into cash. We also bought things for the house at a FRACTION of the cost.

Here’s our BUY list:

Couch, Chaise, Lamp $350.00 $760.00
Table + Chairs $300.00 $773.94
Ceiling Fan $64.95 $118.37
Bathroom Rug $5.95 $20.00
Euro Pillows $17.90 $40.00
Kitchen Lights $30.00 $43.03
Bathroom Shelf $0.00 $25.00
Vizio 5.1 $230.00 $290.00
Sectional Couch $340.00 $750.00
lamps, drapes, etc. $250.00 $400.00
mattress + box $100.00 $700.00
coffee table $0.00 $119.00

Total: $1,688.80

The price on the LEFT is what we paid for the item. The price on the RIGHT is what we should have paid, had we paid retail.

Where did we do all this bargain buying?

You guessed it…our friends ebay and Craigslist. For good measure we threw in a local thrift store and even snagged some deals with manufacturer’s rebates at Costco.

On the buying side, the tips I have for you are to always offer fair but under asking price. Don’t be that guy who low balls everything. Do your research on what the competitors are offering and then try just a bit under that. Use this tactic on Craigslist and ebay “best offer” items. In general, I try to snag snag 40%  off the asking price, which is already low since item is used.

For the ebay auction items? Click “watch item” and DO NOT BID until the last MINUTE it’s up for auction. This way, the bidding isn’t being driven upwards all week long. The person “winning” the item feels comfortable…like they are the only ones who want the item so will they be at the computer during that last minute? No. You will likely walk away with the item and the best possible price by waiting to bid until the end.

Below are some of the items we purchased second hand:

usedfurniture.jpg

Every item was brand name but just happened to be second hand. We bought the dinning room/living room matching Ikea sets from a girl moving to Seattle. The lights were all Hampton Bay. The lamps were from World Market.

All classy and clean, my friends, but very easy on the wallet! 🙂

For all you math nerds out there wondering how we came up with saying we paid only one-fifth of the price to furnish the home?

We took the amount we paid ($1,688.80) and subtracted what we sold ($955.78) for a net total of: $733.02

Then we took our net total ($733.02) and divided it by what retail price would have been ($4,039.34) for a total of 18% which is approximately one-fifth of retail cost.

If anyone has questions or stories about deals you’ve snagged – fire away in the comments section. I want to hear from you!

Have a great weekend! 🙂