If you are planning to sell your car to a private party, that can be a wise decision. Likely, you will make more on the deal than on a trade-in, perhaps hundreds of dollars more. The pitfall here is that you will be vetting potential buyers and that means making sure that you deal only with serious customers.
One of the best websites for listing your car is Craigslist. This site is free, is used by millions and therefore can expose your vehicle to the most people. With any website, however, there are certain things you need to know before offering up a listing. With Craigslist, there are three things for you to keep in mind:
Write a detailed ad — With Craigslist, the more details you share about your car, the better. That means listing the make, model and the year of your car, its edition, and offering details any car buyer would want. Those details include the condition of the body, included equipment, current mileage, warranty information if applicable and more. Be specific — if your car comes equipped with zoned climate control, that reads better than simply writing “air conditioning.” Write brief paragraphs, make use of bullets and include your contact information. Do not share your address — you can give that information out over the phone.
Post pictures — Craigslist allows you to put up photos with your listing, so don’t spare anything here. Show detailed shots of the exterior, the interior, under the hood and inside the trunk or storage compartment. If you have special wheels, get a close up. If there is a dent or scratch, show that too — buyers need to know what they’re getting and your honesty will be appreciated. Add captions or notes with your photos to explain what you’re showing — a buyer might appreciate that you paid for new Michelin tires instead of settling for a no-name or discount brand.
Update frequently — You can run the best ad, but that ad can quickly fade away after a day or two. Yes, it will still be visible online, but it may soon get buried by newer ads. With Craigslist, you are better served if you are able to make regular updates, each of which will bump your ad to the top of the pile. This means making once-daily updates until your car has been sold.
Besides listing your ad, there are some considerations to keep in mind when selling your vehicle. That means treating people with respect who contact you, setting up appointments and being ready to make a deal. Keep the following in mind as you make a deal:
Be ready to sell — Your initial callers will be the most motivated and interested in striking a deal. Plan on selling your car to the first serious buyer, giving a little on the price, but not much. If a person wants to test drive your vehicle, go along for a ride. Explain to the buyer that the car is being sold “as is” and no warranty is offered. However, if a manufacturer’s warranty is still active and can be transferred, you can help out with that paperwork.
Money is best — Accept only cash or go to the bank with the buyer to accept a cashier’s check. These checks can be forged, therefore you want to see it issued in front of your face.
Complete the deal — Once your deal has been completed, take off the license plates, remove the registration and notify your insurance company and the DMV of your sale. Cancel your Craigslist ad. You’re now done and you should come away from the deal the richer for it.