Selling Your Car on Craigslist

by Don Elliott on June 24, 2012

Craigslist is one of the busiest sites on the Internet. It is a collection of random stuff, ideas, scams, wackiness, and occasionally a good deal on a used car or truck. For the most part, Craigslist is a free site that is an open format and pretty much unregulated. For that reason, selling your car on Craigslist can be challenging, but yield positive results.

Listing your car is very easy and free. Craigslist does not charge any fees. Your posting can say anything that you want about your car and can or cannot include pictures.

If it is your first time visiting Craigslist, I would recommend that you take a couple minutes to browse the website and get a feel of the services it provides. Keep in mind that it is an unregulated site. This means it is possible for people to misrepresent products and services in their posts. Craigslist does their best to alert visitors of fraudulent behavior by posting warning notices on various web pages. Take the notifications into consideration when using the website to sell your car.

It is not necessary, but I always suggest that you set up an account to track you Craigslist transactions. The “My Account” function simply makes it easier to see your postings, make changes, and take down a posting when you are done with it.

To get ideas on how you would like your listing to appear, click on the “cars+trucks” link under the “for sale” heading. You will see that the listings can be separated. “BY-DEALER ONLY” is where licensed car dealers list their vehicles. If your were searching for a car to buy, generally this is the safest area to shop, as a private seller, your posting would appear in “BY-OWNER ONLY”. Use the “Search For:” feature to find cars similar to yours for ideas on the best way to represent and price in your ad.

As mentioned earlier, your listing can contain whatever information you think will help sell your vehicle. It is okay to tell it like it is. Frankly, you don’t need people emailing, texting, calling and showing up in your driveway with expectations that exceed reality.

Craigslist allows you to communicate with the buyers in several ways. You can choose an anonymous listing, allowing Craigslist to assign an address for potential buyers to reply. Or, sellers can choose to include their phone number or email address. Many of the Craigslist sellers prefer text messages for quick and easy questions. Some posters include only their address or a location where the car can be seen, forcing buyers to come and take a look at your car. I personally prefer to screen potential buyer by text and phone before I invite strangers to my house.

Pictures are optional but very helpful when showing your used car value. Two or three shots are usually all that are necessary. Avoid your license plate and your house address to provide a bit of privacy protection. Good pictures will improve the success rate for selling your car.

Craigslist is only a posting site. They do not provide any links, guarantees, assistance or other information to secure the transaction. However, there are good used car values to be found on here with lots of buyers looking at the site every day. Craigslist is not for everybody, but it is a great tool for you to use if you are selling your car yourself.

While you are in the Craigslist website, check out Best of Craigslist on the home page for some postings that will help you to understand the diversity of Craigslist –and also why you have to visit this site with an open mind.

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