How to Buy and Sell Cars on Craigslist for Profit

Junky carI love to find a good deal on a used car. Who doesn’t? But, it’s only a good deal when you actually sell it for a profit. If you are into buying and selling cars (like I am), or if you just want to know how to sell your car for a decent price, read on. I’ll tell you exactly what I do all the time. I’ve seen the results, and I will explain.

I got my start in 2000 on eBay. Back then, eBay was a great place to sell something. But now, they have cornered the market in a lot of areas, especially antiques. Antiques are not worth a tenth of what they were worth just ten years ago, thanks to eBay. It used to be when you put something on there, you had the only one, or one out of two. Nowadays, whenever you look on eBay for anything, there are 192 of them. How can a seller make any money?

It’s all about supply-and-demand.

If you are trying to sell cars on eBay, forget it. eBay is a buyers market- has been for years, and it’s only getting worse. That goes for almost everything, from antiques to cars and trucks. It’s a great place to buy- if you do your homework- but a terrible place to sell. So go ahead and go to eBay when you are looking to buy a money-maker. But make sure you go to see the car before the auction ends!

Craigslist is worse in some ways, but better in other ways. When you see that, you’ve got it.

Here’s the problem (or the benefit, depending on which side you are on); a lot of people can’t get on eBay, so they go to Craigslist. Now, this can work for you, but it can also work against you. It works for you when they really need the money. They don’t think they have any other alternative. It works against you when they think their car is worth more than it is, or if they just don’t need the money that bad.

A lot of people don’t think of selling their car in the newspaper any more. They think eBay. And when they can’t get on eBay because they got kicked off, or don’t have a bank account, or just don’t understand what to do, they turn to Craigslist. They slap up a bad picture (or worse, no picture), write a few misspelled sentences, and never get any calls. When I’m looking to buy a car, I look for those. But when I sell, I take nice pictures and explain everything I can think of- in decent English.

Selling a car is easy when you give a very detailed description, show very detailed pictures, and offer a few ways to contact you.

Some people just don’t call, they text- and some only call. But some people would rather use email. Make sure you have a phone number that can also receive texts, and an email address- and for Pete’s sake, put your city, town or neighborhood in the form when you fill out your ad- this will show up in the title, and save you as well as your customers time.

How to find a good deal on a used car worth selling for more.

As a buyer, when you look at used cars on Craigslist, you see everything from a $500 rust-bucket to an $80,000 Lamborghini.

It’s those old beaters that the gold is in, in my opinion, for several reasons.
1. People who sell them need the money. Many of them also can’t get on eBay.
2. People who buy them are smart shoppers and want a good running car.
3. It’s a lot less risky to gamble with $600 than it is for say, $6000. (But if you know what you’re doing, go for it.)
4. It’s faster and easier to sell a cheap beat-up car for $800 than it is to sell a nicer one for $2400.
5. Buyers expect problems.

Just make sure you check out the cars you buy very well.

OK, you know how to spot an unprofessional seller. Now, you need to ask a ton of questions because they didn’t tell you much. Even if they did, you’ll want to ask questions, and check everything when you get to see the car. Asking questions can help you understand not only about the car, but also about the sellers honesty. The answers to these questions can save you a trip:

How long have you owned it?
Why are you selling it?
What’s wrong with it?
Would you be afraid to drive it to California right now?
Are you a mechanic?
And my least favorite question of all: What’s the lowest you would take for it?

It’s my least favorite because I feel sorry for people. When you ask it, they cringe, think about their bills, the car, everything. Then, if they do give you their lowest price, they get sad. They had hoped to sell it for more.

Check under the hood, under the car for leaks, everything your mechanical ability can think of- or better yet, bring along your brother the mechanic.

When it’s time to sell, be very descriptive.

Take a lot of clear pictures that cover every side of the car- this is so important. Any damage MUST be clearly seen and explained. Tell them all the good and bad about the car. Explain how the car is really worth more, but you are willing to sell it for less because you just don’t need it since you bought your pick-up truck.

The bottom-line is, buy low and sell high. You may have to turn a few low offers down before you get what you want. And when buying you may have to look at ten cars before you find the one you know is really worth a little more money than their asking price.

Good luck out there. Feel free to comment. Here is another great article about buying and selling cars on Craigslist.

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