Craigslist Cars: 7 Steps to Get there Before the Vultures!
I Sold my Car on Craigslist
A little over two years ago, I decided to start taking the bus to work. Not long after, I decided to post my car on Craigslist. I literally received multiple calls on the first day I posted it (including one from the eventual buyer). There is a huge demand for used cars on Craigslist. Craigslist is the go-to place for thrift-seekers looking to buy used vehicles.
Think about it:
- They aren’t going to go to a dealer to get ripped off.
- Car listings in newspaper classifieds are pretty much dead.
- And other online directories like AutoTrader.com and Cars.com are pretty much dominated by dealer listings.
So they turn to Craigslist. It’s a great place to sell your car.
Buying a Car on Craigslist
Craigslist is also a great place to buy a car, but you really need to get the jump on others in order to find a good deal and get to it first. If you have searched Craigslist for a used vehicle, you know that it’s tough to stay on top of all of the listings that come out for exactly what you are looking for. By the time you’ve seen the listing for the car that you’ve been waiting for, it’s already sold to someone else.
The following method is the only way that I know how to get the jump on those vultures and find a good deal on a Craigslist car. This method requires you to have a feed reader account, like Google Reader set up. It’s free.
Craigslist Car Buying – Get there Before the Vultures!
Step 1: Know exactly what cars you want. It could be multiple makes and models. But know what those makes and models are and make a short list of them.
Step 2: Go to your local Craiglist page and do a search for one of the vehicles that you are looking for.
Step 3: Click the little RSS feed in the very bottom right corner of the page and subscribe to that feed using your feed reader account.
Step 4: Repeat for every vehicle make and model you’re interested in.
Step 5: To improve your reach, repeat for every local region on Craigslist that you wouldn’t mind driving to. For me, this is a 60 mile radius.
Step 6: Watch as the new Craigslist listings get delivered into your RSS Feed. Check your feed daily (most of you probably already do this with other feeds). You’ll see an up-to-the-minute feed for each Craigslist car search query.
Note that you may have to click the listing in the feed to see pictures of the vehicle posted on Craigslist. If I see a vehicle that I want to follow up on, I ‘keep as unread’, so that the listing doesn’t disappear from my unread feeds. It’s a way to weed out the bad listings from the good.
Step 7: Act immediately. Offer to meet up with the seller ASAP that day. As a seller, I was willing to see whomever wanted to see the car ASAP, and was going to sell to whomever gave me the first reasonable offer. I wasn’t going to put it on hold or wait for anyone.
That’s it – it’s much simpler than it looks. This method isn’t a guarantee, but if you check your feed reader as much as I do, the odds are that you’ll get there pretty quickly, and you won’t have to go back to Craigslist multiple times daily to do searches for all of the cars on your list. It saves you the hassle.
All the standard Craigslist scam warnings apply: only sell to someone in person, don’t ship anything, cash, certified check, or money order only – you should know the deal by now.
Not Just for Cars!
Not only can you use this technique to find vehicles, but it’s a great frugal technique to keep in mind when you’re looking for something specifically to buy used and locally. Hmm… I think I’m in need of a used kegerator.
Craigslist Car Discussion
- Have you sold or bought a car on Craigslist? Tell us your story!
- What Craigslist ninja tips do you have?