1.Take Stunning Pictures
Having good-looking pictures of your car in an online listing provides the highest return on investment of your time and money. Craigslist car listings with professional-like photos on average sold 25% faster, generate 40% more test drive requests and have 50% more likelihood of being sold above KBB price in the private market. Think about online dating, it is somehow similar.
- Wash and vacuum the car, shine the tires
Nothing is worse than trying to sell a messy car. Tire gloss products are cheap and easy to apply and complement a detailed car… speaking of which…
- Consider having your car detailed
Detailed (for both picture taking and test drives) cars on average sold for 2-3% more than the average price in the local market, as they are perceived as being in better condition. Putting some cash in detailing may be a good investment if you don’t have time to do it on your own
- Choose the right background and weather to shoot photos
If you live in a “gritty” or “up and coming” area, go to a more photogenic neighborhood or park to take pictures. If you’re selling a premium vehicle, put it in front of a landmark or higher-end area; let the setting be a part of the story that potential buyers create in their mind.
- Turn the front wheels to one side; choose good angles
Google your car make and model and take a look at the pictures that used to be the faces of ad campaigns when it was released. Replicate those shots as much as possible.
- Only high-resolution!
Similar cars with high-resolution pictures on Craigslist have 30% higher chance to be sold above KBB price for the region.
- Take at least 20 pictures
Make sure all angles, interior elements and minor imperfections are visible to potential buyers
2. Learn about your car’s features
It will be necessary to price your car correctly and quickly respond to potential buyers’ questions.
3. Make low-cost fixes
When it comes to negotiation, that small oil spill or broken button will go heavily against you. Consider making minor repairs on your own using low-cost parts from eBay or Craigslist. If you’re not the handy type, ask a friend!
4. Create an informative listing
Now it’s time to share the stunning pictures you took and all the information about the car. Craigslist dramatically reduces any picture size so consider linking to external sources. Be honest about the vehicle’s repair history. According to our research, those who misrepresent their car’s condition have on average a significantly longer sales period and ultimately need to lower their price when traces of major repairs, lack of maintenance, or prior paint jobs are found during the test drive.
- Provide buyers with a Carfax report (if it is clean)
This small investment pays off well, ask dealers about it
- Let people know that you are a private seller
5. Price above KBB and allow for enough time during the sales process
While somewhat predictable, there is also a lot of randomness in market demand for specific makes and models., If you are not in rush, test the market first. Yes, the higher the price, the longer the sales cycle, so allow some time to pass before reducing the price. We advise buyers to allot at least a month to sell a vehicle on Craigslist. Rushing into the first offer may significantly impact your bottom price.
6. Master safe test-drives
Providing potential customers with test drives is not the easiest thing to do, given the sheer number of shady people and potential scammers in the used car market.
- Check with your insurance company
On how your coverage works if potential buyers get into an accident
- Say no if you are not sure
More than 80% of sellers on Craigslist experience at least one risky test-drive experience. Only 5% of responders reported people whom they consider shady making an offer they accepted. So, if you don’t have a good feeling about the person who just showed up at your doorstep, just say no. It’s your car.
- Batch test-drivers together.
You control the process, so make a decision on the time you want people to come by. It’s certainly not a bad thing when potential buyers see each other and line up for test drives. In fact, it proves that there’s heavy market demand for your vehicle, and could effectively create a seller’s market.
- If you have concerns, go with friends and meet in public places
If you, as majority (60%) of private sellers, don’t feel comfortable providing test drives, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or schedule a meeting in a public place. A local gas station would be a good fit. In some locales, police departments also set aside a few parking spots for internet sales and meetups. Check with your local precinct.
7. Know your bottom price
This is key- don’t let your emotions take over when you meet potential buyers! If you have a bottom price, stick to it.
8. Avoid scams
Say no to strangers who do not buy for themselves, but do make exceptions for car concierge services, as they represent buyers who have demand for these specific vehicle. Say no to dealers until you price your car at your bottom price and interest from private parties wane. Say no to online dealers unless their ‘guaranteed’ price is above your bottom price.
9. Consider online certification
There are a few companies on the market who can, sometimes for free, certify your car and protect potential buyers with a buyback guarantee. This typically involves 30-60 minutes with a professional inspector who checks hundreds of items in your car. Most online dealers do it as part of their selling services. One of them, Cartified.com, offers it as a separate service.
10. Consider selling online
If you do all of the above and don’t see any interest in your vehicle, connect with companies like Beepi.com, Shift.com or Cartified.com. Since they sell in multiple states, you can capture existing demand outside of your immediate area as well as deal with experts in the car market.
Based on research by Cartified.com, New York and Washington DC metropolitan areas