We all have been there; browsing the classifieds on Craigslist. You see a car that sounds pretty good so you click it. And then, it all goes downhill. No pictures. A specs sheet copied and pasted from Edmunds. A one sentence blurb saying “Call so and so for a showing at 555-555-5555.” The ones that speak no english. What do you do? Hit the back button. Here are some tips to prevent that back button from being clicked.
1: Post Pictures
Please, please please, take a few pictures of your car. You don’t need to be a professional with a $3000 DSLR to take some pics. I know of very few phones that lack a camera nowadays. How hard is it to point and click at the exterior and interior of your car? Pictures mean that you actually have the car in your possession. Also, if the car has some damage, don’t be afraid to show it in the pictures. That dent in your rear bumper? I’d rather see the dent now then have to drive a half hour out of the way only to realize that it is quite bad. Also, show the odometer. Anyone can say the car has only 20,000 miles on it, so back this claim up. Post a picture of it! Lastly, actually take pictures of the interior. I can't stand these ads showing all four exterior angles but not one of the inside. Some don’t even open a door. It makes me think you are standing in the parking lot taking pictures of some stranger's car.
2. Clean Your Car
There is almost nothing worse than a dirty car. Pick up the trash from the inside. Wash the outside. It doesn't have to be professional, but it shouldn't be a mess. If I can see soda bottles and fast food wrappers on your floor, there is something wrong.
3: Honesty Is The Best Policy.
Please be honest. Does the car have some dings? Tell us now! Was the car keyed? Explain the damage in the description. I don't think that Craigslist has a word limit, and even if it does, it takes a lot of words to reach it. Explain any issues. Tell me the transmission is rough when shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Tell me that it has a bit of an oil leak. Tell me the tires are lacking some tread. Realize that the more you post in the ad, the less questions people will have when contacting you. It'll also allow you to weed out any scams that send a generic e-mail to every listing asking questions that have answers in the ad.
4: Post The Mileage!
There is almost nothing worse than an ad saying how good the car is and how the price is right but not showing the mileage. Most likely, it contains no more than 6 digits (seven including the comma). Is that so hard? It makes it more possible to obtain a value of the car (thanks Kelley Blue Book!) and see right there if you are worth my time.
5: Words Are Good!
As I said in tip 3, there is no word limit on Craigslist. Don't be afraid to go into detail about your car. You can explain all the work you did on it. You can explain how long you've had the car. You can explain how to contact you and when it'd be best to do so. Please put more than one sentence into your ad. It shows you took time into making it.
6: Know The Product You Have!
Please know what you have and what you are selling. Know how to spell your make and model of the car. Heck, know the make and model! The car should have two badges on the trunk, one saying the make and one saying the model. Just take the time to show you know what you are talking about.
7: Spelling Counts!
Adding onto tip 6, know how to spell. Proofread. Copy and paste your text into Microsoft Word and have it run a spell check. Google free spell checkers. Even use your e-mail spell checker. Spelling mistakes mean you are lazy and don't care about the product you are selling. Please try to use English. If you can't, put it in the ad. Say you are bilingual or don't speak perfect english. Prove to me you are a real person.
8: Be Willing To Answer Any Questions.
Once your ad is out in the world, people will write you about the car. Please be willing to answer questions. If they ask for the VIN, give it out so they can run a Carfax. You should have nothing to hide. If you know it was in a wreck, tell the person before they run the carfax. Those reports are not free (unless you use this site). It isn't right to waste their money. If they want another pic or two, send it to them. Make them want the car. Sure, there will be tire kickers, but they will leave when they learn you are the real deal. Maybe, you can even turn them from tire kckers into purchasers.
9: Be Willing To Show The Car.
Don't post your car and then go on vacation or work every day. Make yourself available sometime to show the car. If you don't waste people’s time, they won't waste yours.
10: Be Reasonable!
Have your car listed at a reasonable price. Don't be asking $5000 over KBB, because this one “is the nicest around” or because you expect someone to offer you the right price. Be reasonable so when someone offers you right around KBB, you will know it isn't a ridiculous offer. Also, don't be too low. This also makes you look like a scam.
11: Post The Transmission! (Recommended by: StreetsldeStld)
This can also relate to the first tip, because without pictures of the interior, you may not be able to tell. It also goes back to number 5 because how hard is it to say if the car is an automatic or manual?
12: Don't Copy Spec Sheets! (added by: JQJ213 (that's me))
When you are describing your car, don't copy the specs sheet from Edmunds or Cars.com. It only looks cheap and shows you put no time into the ad. It is so clear to see when it is copied too. You see the spacing becomes off. You see bullet points out of line. Please take the time to type out the specs properly.
So next time you post a Craigslist ad listing your car, please follow some of these tips. Anyone looking at it will greatly appreciate it.
These tips are all from my experience of reading hundreds if not thousands of Craigslist ads over the last few weeks. This is my idea of a perfect ad. If you have anything you'd like to add, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!