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Using Craigslist To Sell Your Car Fast


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Craigslist has gained a reputation for its colorful variety of ads, from hot plates to hot dates.  The free and instant format makes it a popular choice for quick buying or selling, not the least of which are cars.  Check these guidelines for better odds of selling your car fast on the website.    

Include photos.  Posting to Craigslist is free whether or not you include photos.  Would-be buyers can and often do skip ads without photos altogether.  Throw in a few with the ad and be ready to offer more to interested parties.

Include the year, make, model, and mileage in the headline. Craigslist is a sea of links, and putting that critical information not only makes your ad look more complete, it's more readily searchable for buyers.

Describe the car.  Include the year, make and model in the text, too.  Run down the primary details like odometer reading, engine size, major options and transmission.  In the latter case, some buyers specifically want a manual or automatic gearbox and will ignore you unless this is indicated.  Finally, spell everything correctly.  If you advertise an “Infinity,” you will never get the attention of someone who types “Infiniti” in the search box.   

Skip the life story.  A person sells a car for a reason.  It doesn’t mean full disclosure of drama is necessary.  That kind of rambling keeps buyers from contacting sellers.  Use your words instead to summarize recent maintenance or repairs.  If the car needs or will need attention, say so.  It’s the right thing to do, plus Craigslist buyers tend to accept that most private party used cars are less than showroom pristine.

Include multiple contacts.  At minimum, you always have the built-in feature for anonymously receiving email responses to your ad.  That will be a moot point as soon as you reply to an email anyway.  Include multiple ways for buyers to contact you, by email, text and phone--sign up for a cloaking Google Voice number if you need. Check your spam folder often for legitimate parties’ messages that get misrouted.  Answer inquiries as they come, or at least reply as soon as possible.  Remember that buyers check out multiple ads.  Don’t let their dollars go elsewhere.

Include keywords.  When your car has a specific named feature, don’t skip it or give it a generic name.  Instead of just mentioning it’s an all-wheel-drive Mercedes, include “4MATIC.”  If that thing’s got a HEMI, say so.  These are the kinds of keywords that get your post noticed, especially when folks search those terms.  

Set a fair price.  Using Craigslist to sell your car fast comes with a tradeoff: you probably won’t get top dollar.  Such is the price of quick turnaround.  Just as we advise you do your homework selling your car by other means, consider an even more attractive price here.  Be sure to check prices of other cars like yours when setting the bar.

Be reasonable.  You’ve probably seen the Craigslist posts that resist negotiation or otherwise discourage contact before you even finish reading them.  Having a firm price and establishing guidelines for contact might mean you lose a few potential buyers, but it isn’t all bad.  You can’t be blamed for not wanting lowball offers phoned in after midnight.  Just say so in a way that doesn’t turn off reasonable people with cash in hand.

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