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How To Sell A Car On Craigslist — 7 Things You Should Know

How To Sell A Car On Craigslist — 7 Things You Should Know

Craigslist has become the go-to site for people needing to sell anything from furniture to sporting goods. People also use the site to sell their used cars, so you will find hundreds of them listed there. So, how do you stand out from the crowd and make sure that your car sells before the others listed there? There are several steps you can take to help your car sell and also protect you from scams when dealing with potential buyers. Some should be fairly obvious while others may not be as well known. Follow the tips laid out below to help you get rid of your old car quickly.

How To Sell A Car On Craigslist

At first thought, it might sound super simple. Just log into Craigslist and create an ad then the calls will start flooding in, right? Not so fast! There is much more that goes into selling a car on Craigslist than simply creating an ad and throwing it online. You must research the value of your car, get your car ready to sell, locate all the appropriate paperwork, and be willing to negotiate a good deal. Some people even choose to part out a car using Craigslist, so make sure you know your end goal. Having done all your homework up front makes the process of selling the car much quicker and easier.

In addition, you must be aware that Craigslist is home to lots of scam artists and people looking to take advantage of others. This is an unfortunate truth that you need to know before dealing with people through the site. You must be ready to protect yourself financially and keep yourself safe from harm before you start responding to people who say they want to buy your car. With a little caution and attention to detail, you can successfully sell your car through Craigslist and get a good price for it. So, let’s dive into the steps you should take to get your car sold!

1. Get An Estimate Of Your Car’s Market Value

The process starts with you doing a little research to determine exactly how much your car is worth. A sales price that is too high will scare away potential buyers because they think that you’re not serious about making a good deal. A price that is too low can also have negative effects as well. An extremely low price might signal to some buyers that the car has problems or a rebuilt title, so you are trying to unload it as quickly as possible. Plus, when the price is too low, you’re missing out on the chance to get extra cash in your pocket!

Head over to Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds and do some research on the value of your specific vehicle. In addition, check out sites like AutoTrader and others so that you can see how much similar vehicles are listed for. Now you can set the asking price and move on to the next steps.

2. Collect All The Necessary Paperwork & Documentation

The sale of a car requires a lot of paperwork, and a private party sale is no different. You’ll need to locate all the documents required to sell your vehicle. The laws vary by state, but most states will require a car title and registration at a minimum. If you cannot locate your vehicle’s title, then you should contact your local DMV to get a replacement title as selling a car without a title can be difficult. You’ll also need to draft a bill of sale to show proof of the transaction so that the new owner can transfer the title after the sale.

Not only should you go ahead and locate all the legally required documents, but it can also be helpful to locate documents specific to your vehicle like service records. Being able to present buyers with the full maintenance records for your car builds a lot of trust and shows them that your car has been taken care of. This will warrant a higher price and possibly a quicker sale.

3. Wash/Detail Your Car

If you want to sell your car for the highest possible price, then it needs to be as clean as possible. Nobody wants to buy a dirty car, so get that thing cleaned up! Give it a good wash and wax so that it looks as shiny and new as possible. You don’t just need to clean the outside either – go ahead and give the interior a full detail too. Clean all the interior surfaces and vacuum the carpet. If possible, shampoo the carpet and deep clean the seats and upholstery as well.

If you don’t have the time to properly detail your car, then consider hiring a professional. It may well be worth paying for this service. For a couple hundred bucks, a professional detailer can have your car looking and smelling like new again. The return that you get in increased asking price could easily pay for the cost of the cleaning service.

4. Take Amazing Photos

Taking photos for your ad should entail more than just snapping a few shots with your cell phone camera. Taking photos with your phone is perfectly fine as most cell phone cameras today produce high quality images. However, you should consider some additional factors as you get ready to take good photos. First, consider the background. Don’t take pictures of your vehicle in an old junkyard unless you’re selling a scrap car. (you’d be surprised what you see on Craigslist!) Head to an empty parking lot or similar place to get a good background for your photos.

You’ll also need more than just a picture or two. Take as many shots as possible. Take exterior shots from each corner of the vehicle and interior photos showing the entire cabin. Capture the instrument panel with the car running so that people can see there are no check engine lights or other problems with the car while it’s running. Generally speaking, the more pictures the better!

5. Create A Detailed Craigslist Ad

Creating the perfect ad requires more than simply listing the year, make, and model of your vehicle. Think about everything that you would like to see in an ad if you were buying a car. At a minimum, you will want to include the year, make, model, trim level, engine size, and odometer reading of the vehicle plus state whether or not the car is still covered by a warranty. Make sure that you list any specific features on the car like a GPS or rear entertainment system.

You can always check out other ads on sites like eBay motors to get an idea of what people are including in their ads. Dealerships also sell cars on these sites, and their ads are often very well written with very good photos. This will give you an idea of what your competition looks like so that you can model your ad copy after the good ones you see.

6. Meet Your Potential Buyers At A Safe Location

Here is where you really must think about keeping yourself safe when dealing with strangers from the Internet. Sadly, there are people out there who wish to do harm to others. When setting up a meeting, make sure that you avoid isolated locations or even your home. Meet prospective buyers in a public place like a busy parking lot where plenty of other people are around. Some local police stations even have designated areas for people to meet and complete online deals.

If the person does not want to meet in a place described above, then this should be a red flag. Anyone who is on the up and up should have no problem meeting in one of the places mentioned above. In addition to meeting in a safe place, you should never go alone to the meeting. You can never be too careful!

7. Prepare To Negotiate On The Final Price

Most people are going to want you to negotiate on the sale price, so you need to be prepared to handle the final negotiations. You should already be armed with your data from KBB, Carfax, and others so that you know how much your car is worth. If someone makes you a lowball offer, you can give them the data that proves the value of your car. If they’re unwilling to raise their offer to something reasonable, then be prepared to walk away from the deal. You may even tell them upfront that you are willing to entertain reasonable offers, but that you will not accept a lowball offer that is not close to the fair value range.

Once you agree on a price, be ready to close the deal quickly. You’ll want to take cash or a cashier’s check only – no personal checks or wire transfers! Scammers are notorious for using these payment methods, so it’s best to avoid them totally. If someone writes you a check and it bounces, then you will have lost your car and your money. If the buyer requires a car loan, then you can typically close the deal at the lender’s office. This helps protect both you and the buyer.

Is There A Safer Alternative To Selling Your Car On Craigslist?

Yes, there is! Thankfully, you can sell your car quickly and easily using Auto Wranglers. Our process is completely hassle-free, and you’ll get the best pricing in town. We can often offer more than you would get for a trade-in, and you can use your extra cash to get a new car. If you still owe money on your vehicle, selling your car to us can help you quickly get out of that expensive car loan.

We’ll buy your vehicle regardless of its condition. Whether your car won’t start or it’s almost brand new, we’ll make you an instant cash offer to buy it right away. We buy Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, and many more! We have a large service area that spans the entire country, so we’ll come to you wherever you are located. We always provide free towing and pickup, so you never have to worry about any hidden fees like you might see at some car dealers.

If you need to sell a car quickly and for top dollar, then call Auto Wranglers today. While selling a car on Craigslist is doable, it requires a lot of time and effort – especially if you need to sell a junk car. With Auto Wranglers, you get an effortless process that is completed within a day or two. You’ll have cash in your hand to spend however you’d like!


If you’re thinking of listing your car on Craigslist, there are several steps that you need to take to make sure your car sells for the highest possible price. Make sure that you protect yourself at all times throughout the transaction, and be prepared to walk away from lowball offers. If you’re looking for a better way to sell your vehicle, then you should contact Auto Wranglers. Our process is fast and easy, and you’ll never have to worry about scammers when you deal with us. Give us a call today to get started!