Buying a Car on Craigslist: What to Look For

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

Buying a Car on Craigslist For those looking to get a great deal on a new car, Craigslist can be an indispensable tool for finding the right bargain. Though fraught with half-truths and embellished ads, true deals abound for those who are willing to put in the time. Our Denver car repair experts are here to provide you with a quick guide for what to consider when buying a car on Craigslist. Read our related article on Tips for Selling a Car on Craigslist.

Buying a Car on Craigslist Search Tips

Craigslist breaks down their vehicle sales into two categories: dealerships and private sellers. If you are looking for a vehicle which comes with a warranty or certified pre-owned status, a dealership is the way to go. But for those willing to spend the time and effort, Craigslist has some incredible deals to be found.

When it comes to buying a car on Craigslist, if you already have an idea of what you are looking for, Craigslist provides you the option to enter make, model, and price parameters to keep your search to a manageable size. If you are really trying to cast a wide net, you can use one of several websites which allow you to browse Craigslist nationwide.

Establishing Craigslist Contact

When you’ve found an ad that looks good, always call first, no exceptions. Don’t waste your time rushing to check out a car which you know nothing about; call the seller and try and learn as much as you can about the vehicle ahead of time. This also a great time to size up the seller, see what type of person they are, and gauge their level of interest in the sale. This will help you immensely when it comes time to negotiate.

Sealing the Deal

When setting up a meet up location, be sure to pick a well-lit public area, preferably near to an auto shop if you have any desire to have the vehicle inspected presale.

Remember that everything on Craigslist is negotiable. Every price listed was considered to have a bit of wiggle room on the part of the seller. Try asking what the seller’s bottom line is before suggesting a slightly lower price to see what kind of deal you can get. As always, negotiation should be done with tact and respect, as being rude or excessively low balling is bound to ruin the sale.

When it comes time for the actual exchange, be sure that the car has a clean title. A missing title is a huge hassle to take care of, and unless the seller is willing to take care of it for you, it’s often not worth getting the vehicle. Going to the bank to exchange money and do the paperwork is an excellent idea as most banks have a notary public on staff that can witness signatures and certify bills of sale.

A Final Warning When Buying on Craigslist: Keep Your Guard Up

When buying a car on Craigslist, if it looks too good to be true, there’s a high chance that it is. Consider the ad, the seller, and the vehicle closely before making a decision. Be sure to take it for a test drive and work the brakes, acceleration, shifting, and clutch if applicable. If you are spending a lot of money on the sale, a vehicle inspection is a great idea, and any seller with nothing to hide should be more than agreeable to let you do that.

How to use this information

At Accurate Auto Body, we can help you get your prospective vehicle inspected to determine whether it’s worth buying. Be sure to give Accurate Auto Body a call at 303-344-2122 or contact us through our website for more information and we will be happy help!

Have you had better luck buying from a dealership or a private seller on Craigslist?

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