How to Sell on Craigslist > How to Buy and Sell Cars on Craigslist

How to Buy and Sell Cars on Craigslist

The 1st step in this process is to ensure that you can answer any questions a buyer might have. These are the most common questions people ask:

  • Are there any known issues that may need to be fixed?
  • Do you have maintenance records?
  • What is the mileage?
  • What is the overall condition of the interior? Exterior?

After you have these pieces of info, go to the Kelley Blue Book website and find the PRIVATE PARTY VALUE of your car or vehicle. It will ask different questions like the mileage, condition, accessories, etc. and give you different categories and prices for the car.

how to buy sell cars craigslist

Read closely the description to make sure you find out the correct pricing for your car.

What is the Car Worth?

After you know what your car is worth, consider the least amount you would sell your car.

When pricing your car, you will want to advertise a price significantly higher than this, because, keep in mind that the seller will most likely want to talk you down in price.

For example, if I sell a car on Craigslist and I want $2500 for it, I wouldn’t accept any less than $2000, I would price the car at slightly higher than the KBB value. So the advertising price for this car would be around $2700.

Try not to go too far above the Kelley Blue Book value because most people will search for your car on that site to get an idea of what they should pay for it.

If you ask for slightly more, it will make your car seem like a reasonable deal.

The worst thing you can do is create the idea that you are somehow trying to take advantage of the buyer.

Next, create a listing for the car or vehicle on a site like Craigslist.

Ever heard of the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”?

When selling a car or vehicle, it is EXTREMELY important to include at least one picture of the car or vehicle you are selling. Need help writing your ad? Check out my post about writing a Craigslist ad to sell a car.


Craigslist has an option to search for results that only include pictures. And, when buying a car or vehicle, a picture instantly tells a lot about a car.

Another thing to make sure to add is mileage, overall condition, and anything specific about the car like if it has an aftermarket sound system, rims, etc.
When they come to see the car, be open and honest. Avoid hiding anything from the seller.

If they trust that you are telling them the truth about the car or vehicle, they will be more comfortable with the purchase, and may be willing to spend more. Be available for them to test drive your car or vehicle.

Make them feel like they know your car.

And always act confident. Act like you have something that they want.

Don’t be cocky, but don’t focus on any flaws you may see with the car or vehicle.

And when it comes time to settle on a price, be firm. Don’t let them lowball you and get the car for less than you think it is worth.

Also keep in mind, if they make you an offer, they want the car. Stay relatively firm with your pricing, but at the same time, make them feel like they’re getting a good deal.

And when the deal is done, keep records of it.


Make a receipt for them and have both the buyer and seller sign it.

And it is very wise to include the words “as is” somewhere in the receipt which no longer makes you responsible for the car if something goes wrong after they have purchased it.

Private party sales in general are the best place to look for a used car. If you know the right things to look for, it is better to search local ads or websites like when looking for a used car.

If you are willing to do some traveling, consider searching for a used car in, which is a craigslist search over the entire state.

If you are looking for a specific car or vehicle, you may need to do some traveling until you find the right one.

I know what you’re thinking, that choosing and buying a car on Craigslist from a private seller will be a lot of work.

Save Money

It may be true that you will spend more time and effort looking for the right car, but that time and effort spent will translate into SAVINGS. most of the time, a savings of up to a few hundred dollars.

Would you search for a used car and do a little extra work if someone would pay you $500 to do it? Most people would definitely do a few extra hours of work for $500.

Well, if you’re purchasing a car, doing it yourself could save you $100, $500, maybe even thousands of dollars compared to the deals you will get from a used car dealer.

Do the extra work, you will not be disappointed.

Personally, I have NEVER paid full asking price for a car or vehicle. In fact, I was able to purchase a car or vehicle for 50% the asking price.

Another I bought for 31% less, and another car or vehicle I purchased, which was from a used car dealer, we settled on a 12% discount.

Notice I was able to get over twice the discount from a private seller than a dealer.

For private people selling on craigslist, there are many different reasons why they may be selling the car or vehicle. Maybe they don’t use it and they are tired of looking at it or don’t have room for it.

Gathering Cash for a New Car

Maybe they have a new car or vehicle in mind and are trying to get some money from their old car or vehicle to help with the new car or vehicle. Maybe they just don’t like the car or vehicle and want something different.

A lot of times, people sell perfectly good car or vehicles because it doesn’t serve the purpose they need it for. For example, selling a 2 seater sportscar when they really need a minivan or an SUV for their family. THESE are the deals you must look for to find a mechanically stable, dependable car or vehicle.

So here we are: Tips for getting a steal on a used car or vehicle

Always, in all circumstances look up the value on a car or vehicle on a site like Kelley Blue Book ( so you understand how much is too much to pay for a car or vehicle.

The main factors that diminish the value of a car are:

  • High mileage
  • Body issues, such as rust or dents, bad paint

Body work is one of the most expensive areas in car repair. Rust removal and a new paint job can cost even more than the car is worth.

Buy a car that is either worth fixing up, or one that you can live with. If you spend $3000 fixing up a car that is only worth $2000, you have thrown away three grand if it ever comes time to resell the car.

Never, ever act excited to buy a car or vehicle. Keep calm. If you are the type of person to get overly excited about things, maybe you should ask someone to accompany you while looking for a car or vehicle, someone who can keep your excitement in check.

Why do you not want to act excited?

The buyer will see this and know that you want the car or vehicle. And the more you want a car or vehicle, the more you will pay for it. The ideal attitude is to be very critical. Make sure the buyer knows about all the issues you have with the car.

Make him think you don’t want it. If he thinks the car or vehicle is worthless to you, he may think it is worthless to anyone else as well. Therefore, he may settle for a lower price.

Secondly, silence is your best friend. Start up the car. Take a look at the engine and listen to it. Stare at it for a few minutes, looking intrigued. If the seller doesn’t know what’s on your mind, he may think that you know more about his car than he does.

Then when it comes time to make an offer, he makes two conclusions: 1st of all, you have made his car seem undesirable to you, and possibly to many other potential buyers.

Secondly, if you act like you know what you’re doing, and show it by long pauses, like listening to the car run, or inspecting a questionable area of the car, he will assume that the offer you give is a fair offer, even if it is far below the suggested retail price.

Cash, Cash, Cash

One final word of advice, ALWAYS PAY WITH CASH. Cash is king. There are a few reasons for this. 1st of all, most people will not accept checks. Secondly, cash talks. If you’re standing there counting hundred dollar bills in front of him, even if it is less than he wants for the car, it hurts for him to see those hundreds go.

Most private sellers just want the car to be sold and will settle for less just to be done with it.

That, with added encouragement in seeing what he will get if he agrees to sell it to you, will make most people sell the car for less than they think it is worth.
Be smart, be critical, don’t get overly excited. Pay with cash, never settle on the asking price. Even if you offer $50 less, you get some extra savings for your effort.

1 thought on “How to Buy and Sell Cars on Craigslist”

  1. Katherine McFarlane

    Such great tips you have written to sell a used car on craigslist. This content will help me to sell my car at high resale value.

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