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Get a Great Deal: Buying Cars from Craigslist Owners

/ 09:07 AM February 22, 2023

Craigslist is a website that offers local advertisements of products to potential customers. Access to Craigslist cars for sale by owner is free. You can also find anything, from apartments, jobs, used cars, stationery, etc.

Craigslist is a valuable platform for car sellers as it doesn’t cost anything to set up your car for sale, and with its broad coverage, it will get you the desired audience.

Understanding Craigslist Cars for Sale by Owner

Understanding Craigslist Cars for Sale by Owner

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

To be able to use any website, especially those for advertising and marketing, one has to understand what it entails. Here, the site hosts classified ads of items, which would be cars in this case.


Craigslist cars for sale by the owners is a classified ads service for customers looking to sell or buy cars.

Advantages of Buying a Car on Craigslist

  • Buying a car on Craigslist is less expensive with no extra charges.
  • It can help the buyer save money, time, and other resources.
  • The seller gets a preview of the vehicle before proceeding with any deal.

Navigating Craigslist’s Car Listings

Finding your way around can be easy. Like any site, you have to know what to look for. It helps you and makes it easier to get options for your search.

When a customer has a specific car in mind while on the site, it is best to search for the name and the model to filter off the rest.


Preparing for Your Craigslist Car Purchase

Preparing for Your Craigslist Car Purchase

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

When you want to purchase on Craigslist, there are specific steps you need to take.

Steps to Take Before Contacting the Seller

  1. Before contacting the seller, be sure that you have considered all your options. It is also advisable to shop around, so you are sure you are getting the best deal available.
  2. Ensure you are satisfied with the car and its condition.
  3. Be sure that the price offered by the seller fits your budget.
  4. Plus, ensure distance isn’t a barrier. It would be wise to inspect the vehicle before paying.

Questions to Ask the Seller

  • The first and most essential thing is to confirm you are buying from the car’s owner.
  • Ask why they are selling.
  • Ask for the seller to provide the necessary documents.
  • Confirm the location to meet up, so you can inspect the car.
  • Asking for maintenance records is also a good idea.

Negotiating the Price

If a car you’re interested in is a little above your budget, try to negotiate with the seller, and you both might agree. Remember to consider the car’s state and the documents provided by the seller.

Making the Sale

Making the Sale

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

The sale will likely go through if both parties finish the inspection and negotiations. Before the sale, you can also have a test drive.

This is necessary to confirm everything works well and identify any faults the seller failed to mention that might appear later.

Arranging a Test Drive

As stated earlier, arrange a test drive where you can observe or check for any underlying problems.

What to Look Out for During the Test Drive

  • Check the air conditioning if the car is to come with one. If the seller mentioned a working AC, make sure it works.
  • Make sure the gearbox works and the transmission is smooth.
  • Listen for weird sounds that might come when the car is at full speed.
  • Check the braking system and other vital parts of the vehicle.

Closing the Deal

After the test drive and the buyer is pleased, it is okay to close the deal. Make the necessary payments and collect all relevant documents.

After the Sale

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Once you’ve settled the sale, you can take the vehicle for a tune-up and other necessary registrations required by your locale.

Protecting Yourself After the Sale

As a buyer, it is excellent practice to change the ownership documentation. If the car gets stolen or damaged and the seller is still the legal owner, it would be challenging to state a claim even when it is recovered.

Resolving Issues with the Car

If you noticed any issues during the test drive that the buyer felt weren’t big enough to stop the deal, then repairing them would be a good idea.


Buying a car couldn’t be easier. Once a buyer is ready, all they need to do is access the wide range of options available on Craigslist till they find one that best suits them. Let’s do a recap of the main takeaways:

  • First, search Craigslist and browse for cars until you see one you’re interested in.
  • Check out the provided details.
  • Contact the seller.
  • Inspect the car properly and take a test drive.
  • Make payments.
  • Hand over the necessary documents.
  • Make changes to the documents.
  • Improve the car if need be.

Tips for Successful Car Buying

  1. Have the inspection in an open area or public place.
  2. Take a test drive to ascertain the condition of the vehicle.
  3. Make sure the payment system is secure.
  4. Ensure that the relevant papers are provided and authentic before making any payment.
  5. Don’t go through with the deal if anything doesn’t feel right.

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