I know a ton of you have probably already used Craigslist to sell random items you no longer use (if not, here are some tips for selling on Craigslist), but not as many people know how to sell a car on Craigslist.
My husband wanted a new car about two years ago and found his current Toyota Prius. We were going to trade in his Hyundai Sonata as part of the deal, but they would only offer $2000 for a car that was worth at least $4000. The idea of selling it myself was intimidating, but $2000 is one heck of a motivator. I quickly learned how to sell a car on Craigslist.
This is how to sell a car on Craigslist based on our own personal experience:
1. Look up the value of the vehicle.
I used Kelley Blue Book but many people prefer Edmunds. I saw that KBB thought the Sonata was worth $4300 in fair shape or $5500 in excellent condition, so I decided to aim for $4500 due to a few major dents and the fact that his car was in a major accident early in its life.
2. Find the title and gather the appropriate documentation.
We couldn’t easily sell a car on Craigslist without the title, so I made sure we had it in hand along with the other required documentation before we even listed the Sonata online. In Texas, we had to print out a Texas Certificate of Title (Form 130-U), a Bill of Sale, and found the Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification form online.
3. Clean the car.
The most important step of how to sell a car on Craigslist is pictures. You will need pretty pictures for the ad and you want prospective buyers to test drive the car in its best shape. Although having the car detailed for $50-$100 would definitely fit the bill, my husband simply took it through a very thorough car wash, vacuumed the inside as well as he could in 30 minutes, and then we wiped down all visible surfaces with pre-moistened wipes. Our total cost was about $15.
4. Take pictures for the ad.
As I said, the pictures are the most important part of selling a car online. We took a picture from the front, the back, the side view that had the dent, and one of the interior. Remember to always include the problem areas since full disclosure actually helps to sell a car on Craigslist. Also remember to take the digital pictures at low-medium resolution since Craigslist has a capacity limit.
5. Create the Craigslist post early Saturday morning or very late Friday night.
People do their major buying on the weekends and you are only supposed to list a new Craigslist post every 3 days, so Tuesdays and Fridays or Saturdays are the best days to target. Remember to include the year, make, model, and condition in the title of the ad. Also set the price at least 10% more than you are willing to take since everybody will want to haggle no matter what price you put.
Our post was titled “2003 Hyundai Sonata – Good Condition – One Non-Smoker Owner $5500″. We were willing to accept $4300, but past Craigslist experience had taught me to aim high and haggle to a fair price.
Our post included the year, make, and model again as well as the complete history of the car (including the accident) and the 4 pictures. I included my first name and cell phone number. I only gave the VIN to interested callers and emailers since I didn’t want absolutely everyone to be able to track our specific car to our address.
6. Make sure to schedule your prospective buyers.
We had 8 interested callers within 3 hours of posting the car for sale and scheduled the visits 1-2 hours apart.
7. Go on test drives.
Make sure to check for a driver’s license before letting someone test drive your car. Don’t get into the car if you have any bad feelings at all, but we only met really nice people. The second group actually bought the car, so we were able to call and cancel the other 6 appointments. We ended up getting $4800! I was so proud.
8. Sign over the title.
We signed over the title, filled out the Texas Title App together, and filled out the Bill of Sale. We used our scanner to copy everything and gave the originals to the buyers. I also reminded them that they only had 20 days to register the Sonata and we even kept the license plates (I found out later that we may not have needed to do that, but we wanted to be on the safe side). We filled out and submitted the Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification form online so we wouldn’t be held liable for any further problems.
9. Call your insurance company to cancel your policy on the sold car.
We called within 5 minutes of the sale and received a refund for the prorated amount we paid in advance for the Sonata’s coverage.
10. Deposit your cash.
That was the best part. :-)
I spent one Friday evening getting everything ready and one Saturday morning listing our car. Half a weekend of work for $4800 seemed really good to me! And now I know how to sell a car on Craigslist for the future as well!
Did you already know how to sell a car on Craigslist? How did it work out for you?