Around Christmas, a buddy offered to sell me his SUV. Since he had a company car for many years, his personal vehicle had very low mileage. We have two kids, so I bought it. That left us with three family vehicles, my old one being a 2003 sedan with 109K miles.
Now, the sedan was worth less than $4K, so I know a dealer wouldn’t have much interest in it. It also needed some brake work, but otherwise was a fine vehicle. I was paying around $40 extra per month in insurance, plus maintenance, licence costs, etc.
Without any experience, I decided to run it on Craigslist and see if anyone might be interested. Tax season is upon us, and lots of folks are getting refund checks, looking for cars in this price range. I was shocked by the response. Within a few hours, I had 10+ calls and had sold the car within a day. It was really easy, I just had to sign over the title and a vehicle odometer/bill of sale form. The buyer paid cash, so no issues there. With the depreciation, insurance, and other expenses (plus the money I received from the sale), I calculate that we’ll save over $1,000 per year over the next three years. If you have an extra vehicle you aren’t using — get rid of it! Someone needs it and you’ll save money. Here’s how I did it.
1. First thing, go to Kelly Blue book and find out the value of the vehicle in a private party sale. Make sure to price your car right, and be honest with yourself about the condition. Be very honest if there are any issues — remember the golden rule here. You’ll never regret being an honest person.
2. Next, give the car a GREAT detailing. Clean it thoroughly – inside and out. The more detail you give it, the better.
3. Next, write out your craigslist listing. Make sure to include several photos. If there are any problems, disclose them. Make sure to tell the reason you are selling the vehicle. Include any great points, like the new battery you just put in, newer tires, vehicle upgrades, etc. Include the info from KBB – discount slightly from that price if you have any things to deduct (like the brake work I needed). Tell all the great things about your vehicle and be very descriptive. If you are the original owner, mention it, or say that you can document the vehicle history. Mention the types of buyers who might be a good fit — in my case new drivers, commuters, etc.
4. If I had a CarFax, this would be a good time to mention that. But since my car was under $4K, I didn’t go to the trouble to do that.
5. Make sure to list your phone number the way they mention — like 41two – 7eight4 etc. Explain you only take cashiers checks or cash. Tell them when you are available to take calls or respond back.
6. Ignore any responses from outside your area code, especially texts. If you are more comfortable, have them meet you at a gas station or restaurant parking lot to view the vehicle. You never know what kind of people may respond!
That’s it! It was very easy for me. I probably spent four hours on the process, including the car detailing. When you consider what I saved versus trading it into a dealer, it more than makes up for the time.
Craigslist is great for selling all kinds of things you probably don’t even think about. We sold a jogging stroller among other items, all without hassle and created quick cash. Remember, cars sitting around your driveway are constantly depreciating and creating expenses. Keep the minimum number you need!