How to Sell Used Cars On Craigslist

Jill Vonier

Jill Vonier

6 min read

Dealers won't always give you the best offers for your used car. You may be able to make more by selling it locally yourself. Here is everything to consider.

Woman in front of a car holding car keys

Ready to sell your car? Craigslist is a great place to sell your car quickly and at a great price.

In this guide we will provide tips and advice on how to successfully sell vehicles on Craigslist. We will show you how to prepare your vehicle for sale, creating a listing, respond to potential buyers, negotiate prices, and complete a sale.

Let's get started!

1. Benefits to Selling Vehicles on Craigslist

There are a lot of benefits of selling your car on Craigslist. Recognizing these benefits can help you take advantage of them.

  • Large user base. Craigslist has a large user base, with millions of users visiting the platform every day. Your vehicle listing is likely to be seen by a large number of potential buyers which increases your chances of making a deal.

  • Low fees. Craigslist charges very low fees for posting vehicle listings so you don't have to spend a lot of money on advertising.

  • Convenience. Craigslist allows you to list your vehicle and communicate with potential buyers from the comfort of your own home so you don't have to waste time or money by traveling around.

2. Preparing Your Vehicle for Sale

Man washing his car

Before you create a listing for your vehicle on Craigslist, it's important to prepare your vehicle for sale. This means clean it really good, gather up all the important documents, and take high-quality photos to make it appealing.

  • Clean and detail your vehicle. A clean and well-maintained vehicle will be more attractive to buyers and will help you sell your car faster. Clean out any gunk, wipe down the interior, wash the exterior, and make any necessary repairs or touch-ups.

  • Gather important documents and information. Cars are a big purchase so provide potential buyers with important documents and as much information as possible. These documents include the title, registration, and service records.

  • Take high-quality photos of your vehicle. Photos play a big part since potential buyers will use them to determine if they are interested in your car. Take high-quality photos that accurately represent the vehicle, including the exterior, interior, and important features. Use natural lighting and a clean background, and avoid editing the photos too heavily.

3. Creating a Craigslist Listing

Now that your car is all ready for sale, it's time to create a listing on Craigslist. You will want to be as clear and concise as possible, providing as many details about your vehicle as possible.

Follow these tips to create an attention-grabbing listing for your vehicle on Craigslist to encourage potential buyers to buy:

  • Write a compelling title and description. The title and description of your car are the first things buyers will see so be sure to make a good impression. The title should be short, descriptive, and include important information about the vehicle, such as the make, model, and year. The description should provide more detailed information about the vehicle, including its condition, features, and any recent repairs or upgrades.

  • Set a fair and competitive price. When setting a price for your vehicle on Craigslist, it's important to be fair and competitive. Research similar vehicles on Craigslist and other platforms to get an idea of the going rate for your type of vehicle. As with most car sales, be prepared to negotiate with potential buyers.

  • Include all relevant information and photos. Include the make, model, year, and condition of the vehicle, as well as any important features or details. Be sure to include clear and high-quality photos of the exterior, interior, and any important features or details of the vehicle. By providing potential buyers with all the information they need, you can make it easier for them to decide if your vehicle is a good fit for them.

If you need additional help creating your listing, see our step-by-step instructions in Step-By-Step Instructions to Creating Your First Craigslist Listing.

4. Responding to Potential Buyers on Craigslist

Once you've published your listing, potential buyers will begin to contact you through Craigslist's messaging system. It's important to respond to potential buyers in a timely manner to keep the conversation moving and hopefully close the sale. Here are some tips for responding to potential buyers on Craigslist:

  • Communicate through Craigslist's messaging system. It's important to communicate with potential buyers through Craigslist's messaging system for a safe and secure way to exchange information and negotiate the sale of your vehicle. Avoid giving out personal information until you are comfortable with the potential buyer and ready to move forward with the sale.

  • Provide additional information and photos as needed. Be prepared to answer questions about the vehicle's condition, history, and features, and consider providing additional photos or information as needed. This will make it easier for potential buyers to decide whether your vehicle is a good fit for them.

  • Schedule test drives and meetings with potential buyers. Meet with potential buyers in person to give them a detailed look at your vehicle and move closer to completing the sale. Choose a safe and public location for the test drive or meeting, and bring someone along for added security.

5. Negotiating & Completing the Sale

Woman and man driving away in car

The next step is to negotiate and complete the sale. Negotiating can be a bit tricky since you are dealing with individual buyers rather than businesses.

If you are not comfortable negotiating prices with potential buyers, consider using a service like OfferTrackr. OfferTrackr can automatically track the availability of your items, negotiate prices, schedule pickups, and send out reminders on your behalf. See our blog post Using OfferTrackr to Make Selling Items Locally So Much Easier for more details.

Here are some tips for negotiating and completing the sale of your vehicle on Craigslist:

  • Reach an agreeable price. When negotiating with buyers on Craigslist, it's important to be fair and flexible. Start by stating your asking price, and then be prepared to negotiate and compromise in order to reach an acceptable price. Listen to offers and counteroffers and be ready to walk away if the buyer is not willing to meet your price. By negotiating in good faith, you can reach a fair and mutually acceptable price for your vehicle.

  • Complete the sale and transfer ownership of the vehicle. Complete the sale by providing and signing a bill of sale and means of payment. Transfer the ownership by giving the buyer the title, any other relevant documents, and the keys. Be sure to get a receipt for the sale and make a copy of any documents for your records.

In this guide, we have provided tips and advice on how to successfully sell vehicles on Craigslist. By taking the time to prepare your car, gather all important documents, take good photos, respond to all messages in a timely manner, and negotiate pricing, you can successfully sell your vehicle on Craigslist for a fair price.

Remember to be cautious and responsible when selling on Craigslist, and always trust your instincts if something doesn't feel right.

Happy selling!


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