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7.) Austin , Texas

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Austin’s Craigslist is flooded with everything from modern sports cars, proper American work trucks and my favorite, this Ford Ranchero sold by a fellow named “Dom”. Reader Lysol is the man also has some other reasons to back up these claims.

I think Austin, TX, for a number of reasons.

1. The weather is solid year round, so more access to used sports/sporty cars, whereas other parts of the country need 4x4s to function during the winter months.

2. Speaking of the weather, no road salt, not a ton of rain, so less water-related damage. Lots of cracked windshields, though.

3. Most parts of the metro area are easily accessible. Yeah, driving up to Round Rock or down to South Austin can be time consuming, but at least the Austin Craigslist doesn’t cover areas that are HOURS away…unlike a city like Seattle that covers Tacoma and Puyallup all the way up to Snoqualmie.

4. Terrible public transportation, so EVERYONE DRIVES. More drivers = more used car inventory.

I’m sure there are other reasons, but I loved Austin Craigslist.

Suggested By: Lysol is the Man, Photo Credit: Craigslist

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Clean, photograph and describe the vehicle

Doing these things could help you to sell your car faster and for more money.

Spic and span status. No one wants to get in your car and see your fast food trash from yesterday’s lunch. Clean out, wash, vacuum and wipe down your car. Maybe use an air freshener.

Lots of good photos. Take lots of photos during the day, in good light, with a good background. No one wants to see maybe three half-blurry photos taken at dusk near a trash dumpster. Take photos from the outside of the car — the front, sides, rear, under the hood and in the trunk or cargo area. Take photos of the inside of the car — back and front seats, dashboard and odometer.

Longer description. Don’t simply post “runs good.” Actually describe the car honestly. List the year, make model, trim, mileage and engine size. Talk about any add-ons the car may have, like a sun roof or leather seats. You could say you used it for only a short daily commute or that it has lasted well on longer trips.

Post and repost the vehicle ad. When you’re selling your car on Craigslist, the older posts get pushed down by newer posts. The older your post is, the less people will see it. You may need to repost your ad every few days to keep it near the top.

4.) Montana

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As evidenced by Oppositelock’s reoccurring ‘Found On Montana Craigslist’ themed posts, Montana’s Craigslist sites are some of the best platforms for cheap and unique project cars. Like this $250 all-wheel drive Turbo Subaru XT for example. So what if it needs a motor, that’s one of my dream cars right there! For $250!

Suggested By: For Sweden, Photo Credit: Craigslist

Final Word

Always keep your guard up when receiving emails from “prospective buyers.” Craigslist has plenty of potential buyers, but the marketplace is also full of scammers, especially when it comes to buying and selling cars (i.e. common Craigslist scams). If someone offers you more money than you asked for, that’s a tell-tale sign of a scammer. Also, never do any transactions through a money wire service and don’t deal with anyone claiming that they’re international. Remember, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true.” Keep that in mind and stay on guard, and you’ll be fine. Good luck!

Do you have any firsthand experience selling a car on Craigslist? What was the experience like?

Finalize the deal

Even after you and a buyer have agreed on a price, keep your guard up for just a bit longer. Most important: Make sure that you not only have the money, but that the money is real, before you sign over your car title to the buyer. There are several types of scams in which buyers use fake forms of payment to not only get away with a free car, but also cash in hand.

Do not give the buyer any money

A popular online scam is for a car buyer to “accidentally overpay” you with a cashier’s check, wire transfer, or some form of payment and ask you to pay them the difference. Of course, their method of paying you is fake and you just paid them to steal your car.

Even if the over payment sounds legitimate, such as money that is intended to cover shipping or other costs, sellers are often instructed to deposit the check and send the excess either back to the “buyer” or to a supposed shipping agent. In most instances, says the FBI, the money is sent to locations in West Africa. The buyer then cancels the sale and the seller is soon notified by their bank that the check was fraudulent. Fortunately, the buyer in Alabama we mentioned earlier suspected a rat from the get-go and didn’t follow up on the offer of a large check.

Do not give the pickup agent or transport company any money

This type of scam is a spinoff of the one above. In this instance, the supposed buyer is out of town and has an agent or transport company pick up the car. The buyer pays for the car and transport fee by cashier’s check or wire transfer and asks you to then directly pay the pickup agent or transport company. The scammer’s aim is to take your real money along with the car and leave you high and dry.

But what if it isn’t a scam?

If you come across these types of situations with a potential buyer and still want to continue, wait until the payment is confirmed by the issuing bank or the cash is in your hands. Fake cashier’s checks can show as a deposit in your account then be retracted days later when the bank that is supposed to provide the money says that account doesn’t exist. Make sure you have actual money before you “return” or pay any money.

Cash is king

When accepting payment for your car, the surest method of payment is cash. And if you’re worried about counterfeit bills, you could get a marker with color-changing ink that will let you know if the bill is fake. On Amazon, you could get a pack of these types of markers for under $8. You could perform the transaction at a bank and either have the buyer receive cash from the teller in front of you or have the bank confirm the cash is real before signing over the title.

If a potential buyer for your car needs an auto loan, they could fill out an online form at LendingTree where they may be matched with up to five different loan offers from lenders based on their creditworthiness. They could also read more about private party loans and how to find one.

If the buyer refuses or is somehow unable to pay in cash, here are some things you can do to make sure the payment is legit:

Cashier’s check or personal check. Call the issuing bank. Don’t know the number? A quick internet search should help. A banker should be able to confirm that the account exists (the account number will be on the cashier’s check) under the appropriate name (which should be the buyer’s legal name) with enough money in the account to cover the check. Because you are the one providing the information, the bank should be able to confirm. Due to privacy laws, the bank will not tell you about any other people on the account or the total amount in the account, only simply whether the account exists under that name with sufficient funds to cover the check.

Wire transfer or PayPal. Make sure that the money is actually in your account. Do not believe any email you may get saying you received money. To check your account, you could use your bank’s app or call the bank to make sure it went through. PayPal does not protect any transaction done in person.

Step 6: Publish and Be Available

So the time has come, your ad is live on Craigslist and you’re ready to field some calls/texts/emails.

Be Prepared for a lot of Calls/Emails: Make yourself available before publishing your listing. You may be surprised, but if you’ve followed the steps above, you’re going to be getting a lot of interest in the vehicle. So if you’re going out of town the coming weekend, please do yourself a favor and wait to publish until next week. You’re going to want to be available to meet someone that day if they want to meet.

Make the buyer think there’s competition: ​Play hard to get. The way I played it the first week, I didn’t let anyone negotiate on their price. If they tried to haggle off the bat, I told them I had other buyers interested, which was actually the truth.  If it comes down to it and you’re having trouble selling after a week’s time, then yes, it might be time to negotiate more.  But until then, seriously, don’t be the guy that comes down $500 to meet the buyer at their “price”. It’s your car and your money. Get as much as you can for it!

Meet in a Safe Place: I met my buyer at my house. Would I do this again? Probably not. You hear crazy stories these days and you always want to make the process as safe as possible. While meeting at your residence is probably fine most of the time, I’d recommend you meet in a public place, like a grocery store parking lot​. Be cautious, that’s all.

Do what your comfortable with when it comes to the test drive: ​When it comes to inevitably letting your prospective buyer test drive the vehicle, you can either be in the vehicle, or you don’t have to be. I liked to be in the vehicle because I can give them selling points as they’re driving. However, I know many people are probably uncomfortable getting into a car with stranger not knowing if they’re safe drivers or not. In this case, it’s perfectly fine to hand them the keys and let them take it for a spin. Just remember that as long as you comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle, you’ll be covered if it never comes back 🙂  Do what you’re most comfortable with.

In the end my buyer tried to negotiate down a bit.​ But after telling them of competition, they reluctantly came back up. I did say I’d drop it from $2,200 to $2,100 for them if they “Bought it Today”. This did the trick and I was good to go.

Step 2: Clean it, Fix it, and Make it Presentable

I recommend this step as a MUST DO for everyone. Why do you think all the dealerships clean and polish up every car on the lot? Because it makes them SELL QUICKER.  You have to do it whether you like it or not.  No, you don’t have to get it detailed, although that wouldn’t be the worst thing, but at least vaccuum, wash, and fix.

Car Prep Checklist:​

  • Vacuum all carpet and seats
  • Wipe down console, dashboard, steering wheel and all other surfaces that may have dust/dirt/grime
  • Open the front hood, clean off engine and any other surfaces to make pictures inside look presentable
  • Clean trunk out
  • Fix any items that need fixing: loose screws, easy interior fixes, lightbulbs, etc.
  • Wash and wax outside of vehicle if possible to get that extra shine / Clean wheel rims of dirt/grime

You’ll thank yourself in the long run after

You’ll thank yourself in the long run after realizing how quickly your vehicle sells because of doing these few simple things beforehand.

How we help you find the best car

At CARFAX, we collect events from the lives of millions of used cars from 20 European countries, as well as the USA and Canada. We can then create a vehicle history for every car in our database and make it available to you. The information helps you to check sales data, avoid expensive follow-up costs and negotiate a fair purchase price.

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