The process of selling a car doesn’t have to be hard. It can be a fast, clean, and fun process if done right. Personally I have sold and purchased 8 vehicles on craigslist. For the most part they were great transactions, both buying and selling. These included motorcycles, hybrids, minivans, trucks and even a dump truck.
And Craigslist isn’t just for average cars. In 2016 a Ferrari F40 was listed on Craigslist for $1,599,995.
If you need to sell a car or your are just considering it, well you’re in luck. We have compiled a list of 7 helpful tips for selling a car on Craigslist.
Tip 1 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Pictures Are Extremely Important.
I developed somewhat of a method for selling cars on craigslist. I have a favorite place to take pictures for the posting. There is a small lake near my parents house and I always take the car out for a good wash and then straight to the lake for pictures. I try to take the pictures a little before sunset. The cleanly washed car with a nice backdrop makes the car stand out like a sore thumb among all the other listings. At the same time you don’t want a scenic backdrop to outshine the car. The car should be the focus of the pictures.
Put some effort into the picture process. I have found that better pictures produce a much better response rate for selling almost any car or motorcycle.
Craigslist also gives you the option to upload 24 photos when selling a car. Take advantage of all 24 photo frames. This will give potential buyers that much more info about the car. We suggest including pictures of the body panels, highlighting perfections and imperfections, tire treads, wheels, dash, seats, engine bay, trunk, any any accessories you might have for the vehicle.
These are some pictures I have used to successfully sell on Craigslist:
Tip 2 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Be Honest
If your car has some rust on it, say so. This tip for selling a car is pretty straight forward. If you fib just a little on the ad or listing, a purchaser (who has done their research) will see the flaw. There is a chance you could lie and sell a vehicle to an ignorant buyer, but still it could come back to bite you in the ass! We say it’s better to play it safe and be honest and truthful about your car listings.
While on the topic of honesty, we would also recommend listing the correct mileage and VIN number!
Tip 3 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Cash Is King
Having cash on the spot can oftentimes give you the advantage if you are purchasing a car. When you are selling a car we always suggest accepting cash. Checks can bounce, so play it safe.
If you know what you are doing with cryptocurrency and crypto assets, you can easily use an digital asset like Bitcoin for the transaction. This makes things very easy as you can see the balance immediately in your wallet. Craiglist makes it convenient for people with cryptocurrency as they have an option to filter listing by the category “Cryptocurrency OK” If interested, you can learn more about Bitcoin here
If the car sale is of a high value we advise doing the transaction at your bank or by using a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
Tip 4 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Be Very Descriptive With Your Listing
Begin with the title. Include the year, make, model, trim level, mileage, engine and transmission, and condition.
Bullet points are great for the details in the body section of your ad. You can include details about the engine model and owners. We also suggest elaborating on the vehicle’s condition and maintenance history. In this situation a stack of maintenance reports and receipts can be a very good thing.
Don’t write just to write. Make it count and show that you have taken care of the vehicle. It can also be nice to include a reason for selling your car, like “we just upgraded!” or “We have too many cars and we don’t drive it any more. These reasons can give the buyer a certain peace of mind, and it generally implies that the car is in good condition.
Tip 5 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Re-post Your Listing And Change Your Price
One thing I learned with selling less desirable cars or very common cars, is that you sometimes have to lower your price. If no one bites after a week, post something like “PRICE DROP!” and then list the new price.
Re-posting can also be helpful. When a user first clicks on the automotive category on craigslist, they are presented with the most recent listings. Re-posting your Craigslist ad can get a few more eyeballs on your post, one might even be the right buyer.
Tip 6 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Fix Any Broken Parts On The Vehicle.
Tires are super important, so we say start there. If they are bald or rotting, get a new set ASAP. After that make sure the car runs. You shouldn’t drop more than 5% on what you think you will get for the car and don’t drop a lot on parts the buyer won’t even see or know about.
There are some parts that can be replaced and help you get more for your car. Timing belts are one such part. They need to be replaced every 100k miles or so depending on the manufacturer, but doing so can greatly increase the price and speed of your transaction. As a buyer, If I see “Timing belt just replaced!” on a Craigslist ad I am much more interested (especially if the job was done by a reputable shop).
Tip 7 For Selling A Car On Craigslist: Be Safety Minded
Craigslist and many other selling platforms can be used anonymously. It’s smart to have a couple of rules when buying or selling items in person with people you don’t know.
Personally I have conducted many Craigslist sales from my home, but I am comfortable with where the buyer will be and I usually have somebody at the residence with me. Meeting at a public place can also be a great option, just decide what you are most comfortable with.
We found a couple rules you can follow to be safer while conducting a craigslist transaction:
When you sell a used car, your potential buyer might be a total stranger. Keep the meeting safe and friendly by taking a few easy steps:
- Remove any valuables from your car before the meeting.
- Meet on neutral turf. Rather than meeting at your house or the potential buyer’s home, find a well-lit, public meeting spot.
- Bring a buddy. Ask a friend or family member to tag along for the test drive. You’ll feel more secure knowing you aren’t alone.
- Give your friends and family a heads up. If you have to meet the potential buyer alone, be sure your loved ones know the details of your meeting plans.
Helpful Videos For Selling A Car On Craigslist:
I wrote this post for those selling a car on Craigslist, but the tips generally apply to most other selling sites like Letgo, Facebook Marketplace, and NextDoor.
Founder and writer for Motor Speed News. Current garage: 02 WRX, 05 Toyota Tundra, 86 Yamaha Virago XV1100