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Craigslist used cars for sale by owner autos online – Online car shopping from Craigs List offers cheap alternative to purchasing new

Spring 2012 update

The car buying season is in full swing and used car shoppers can’t get enough of Craigslist. We have summarized a few car buying tips that will assist you in your used car search. Buying a used car is an important financial decision and without the right knowledge, you may end up making a purchase that will be regretted. Don’t be that guy who pays too much for an inferior car. Here are some great tips for the 2012 year when it comes to buying a used car.

  1. Shop for local car deals. Depending on where you live, your next used car deal could be right in your back yard. There is really no need to search high and low for the car that you are interested in. It may be possible that the deal that you are looking for is right next door. Do not depend on just one source when it comes to buying that used car. Check around with other sources such as the local paper or even other websites.
  2. Wait until after the tax rush. Unless you absolutely must, wait a few months until the tax rush is over. In the spring, there is an abundance of used car buyers with fist fulls of cash. Let these people get the first cars of the year and then you can dive in and get in on a much better deal. With fewer car buyers out there, car sellers will be more willing to negotiate with you.
  3. Always have your car checked out. As mentioned several times before, you should always have a qualified person check out any car that you are interested in. This will end up saving you thousands of dollars and a lot of headache. Ask anyone out there that has purchased a lemon and they will tell you that they should have the car checked out. This includes having your mechanic look at it and performing a history report using the vehicle identification number.
  4. Don’t hesitate on a great deal. If you find a really great deal on a used car and are sure it is the right decision, don’t hesitate. Doing so may cost you the deal and prolong your search for a used car. Once you have decided to purchase a car, make the seller an offer and let them know that you are ready to buy their car.
  5. Never pay too much.  There are many techniques that you can use to determine how much you should pay for a car. All too often folks pay way too much for their used cars. Take a look around at others who are selling similar vehicles and see what they area asking. Remember that the asking price and the selling price are two different numbers.

Craigslist Cars save money in many ways

The summer months are still here and many end of summer car shoppers are out there looking for the best possible deal. Going from dealership to dealership, listening to all the sales pitches and reasons why you should buy from each is enough to give just about anyone a headache.

Skip the headache this time around and consider the purchase of a used for sale by owner vehicle. Getting a private party deal means that you will save even more on your next vehicle purchase. Since private sellers do not have the cost commonly associated with running a business, they can often sell their vehicle for significantly less than the car lot price. Craigslist cars for sale are a great alternative to purchasing brand new.

People who are looking to save a bit of money often turn to purchasing for sale by owner used cars. Purchasing a used car can really save a lot of cash. This is possible because of the rapid depreciation of most vehicles. Most vehicles lose up to half of their value within the first couple of years of ownership. This means that finding a great deal on a used car this summer can be as easy as purchasing used.

When purchasing a used vehicle, choosing a good one could make the difference between getting a great deal and purchasing a money pit. Studies have shown that nearly one third of used vehicles that are sold were sold because of underlying problems. While this does not mean that you should not buy used, it does mean that you should know and understand what you are purchasing before you spend your hard earned money. Getting a problematic used vehicle can really end up costing you big money in the end. Anyone who has ever purchased used and had to replace parts every month know this all too well.

When it comes to purchasing used, many people have the stereotypical image of a used vehicle – old, worn and broken. The truth is, the majority of used vehicles are still in excellent condition and can often be restored to like-new condition with a little elbow grease. Finding a vehicle that is in excellent condition both inside and out and is mechanically sounds is the key to purchasing a great used vehicle. Before you just start looking at cars, discover the style and even models of vehicles that you are interested in by doing a little research online. There is an abundance of information available online from discussion forms to statistics. Perform a Google search and discover a few vehicles that you are interested in.

After performing a little research, take a look at a few online car shopping for sale by owner websites such as Craigs List and see what is being sold in the local area. Craigslist is free to post in most cities and offers a much better selection of vehicles when compared to traditional newspaper advertising. Here, you can search the city that you are in or nearby cities. Remember that car dealerships also advertise here and are usually indicated to the right of the title. It will usually state “dealer: or “owner”. In some cases, you may want to see what a dealership has to offer.

Finding a vehicle that is not a lemon is an important part of purchasing a used vehicle. Sometimes, but not often, people sell their vehicle because it has a problem that requires a lot of money to repair or has several small or reoccurring problems. One thing that you should do is perform a vehicle history report to see if it has been in any accidents or has any other indications that a problem may be present such as a previous flood vehicle. By performing a simple history report, you could save thousands of dollars in the future.

In addition to performing a vehicle history report, one should also have the vehicle checked out by a certified mechanic who has several years experience in the auto repair industry. A good mechanic can spot problems that may cost you a small fortune in the near future. Although they can not always spot all problems, its always a good idea to have the vehicle inspected.

Prior to having the vehicle inspected, there are a few things that you can take a look at to see if the vehicle may potentially have problems. The first thing to check is the oil. It should be light brown and fairly clean. Watch out for milky colored oil because this may be an indication a blown head gasket, other gasket problems or possibly a cracked engine block. Also, check for old leaks, especially ones coming from the rear of the engine block. A rear main seal requires that the transmission is pulled and can cost several hundreds of dollars. Something else to watch out for is the smoke that exits the tailpipe. It should be virtually clear, not blue or white. When cold outside, you may see what appears to be smoke, but its usually just condensation.

There are several areas that a qualified inspector will check so do not rely on your own interpretation when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. By paying a little extra for the vehicle history report and having the car inspected, you can literally save thousands of dollars in the future. Skipping this important step can save you money, however, you are running the risk of inheriting someone else’s problem. The extra money is often worth the peace of mind.

Once a car has been selected, the remainder of the process is relatively simple. Before beginning a shopping journey, ensure that you are able to obtain financing. Shop around for the lowest interest car loan that you can find. Transferring the title means involves coordination between your bank, the car owners bank, you and the seller. Make sure all documents are notarized by a public notary that is licensed.

Tips for purchasing Craigslist cars

Take your time when shopping around for a used vehicle.

  • The worst thing that you can do is be in a position where you need a vehicle immediately. If you can borrow a friend or family members vehicle do so and take your time making a decision. A rushed decision usually leads to making a bad decision. It takes time to make an informed decision and your should always perform your research. Even renting a vehicle for a week to allow you time to shop around can end up saving you hundreds of dollars.

Examine each vehicle closely.

  • Inspect each vehicle component for signs of wear or damage. Take note of anything that looks out of the ordinary. Something as simple as uneven wear on the tires could signify a serious problem with the suspension. If you are not mechanically inclined, take along a friend who knows about vehicles. A vehicle is a very complicated piece of machinery and should be inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to making a purchase. A well versed mechanic that has been around for many years can give you insight into the condition of a particular vehicle. Pay a little bit now for and inspection or pay a lot later when you start to have issues.

Research the price of the vehicle that you are interested in.

  • There are several resources available such as the Kelly Blue Book, NADA, Autotrader, Usedcars.com, and even Craigslist that will give you and idea of what a particular vehicle is worth. The book value is not always the best determent of what a vehicle is worth. By examining the current market conditions in your area, you can get a good idea of what you should be paying. In addition, also take into consideration the condition of the vehicles that you are interested in and compare it to the vehicle you would like to purchase. Compare the vehicle list price to the vehicle that you are looking at purchasing. Once you have established a base price, you can negotiate a final price with the seller.

Brush up on your negotiation skills.

  • Sharpening your negotiation skills can save you hundreds of dollars on your vehicle purchase. Negotiating a great deal on a used vehicle can be simple if you follow the basic rules of negotiation. The first thing to remember is that you should never be the first one to name a price. After carefully examining the market rate for the vehicle that you are interested in, determine how much you would like to pay the vehicle that you are interested in. With a price in mind, allow the seller to name his or her price. The seller will naturally hesitate to name a price but you must insist on them throwing out the first offer. Whenever they give you a number, sigh in disbelief and talk them down. Remember to keep your offers reasonable and try to make the other party feel as if the negotiation is a win-win situation.

Perform a vehicle history report.

  • Perform a vehicle history report by visiting Carfax.com or a similar website. The vehicle history report is relatively inexpensive and can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of headache. A vehicle history report will reveal any known damages such as prior collisions, flooding history, salvage rebuilds, inspections, reported odometer readings, among other things. Occasionally, you will find a seller who has the vehicle history report in hand which will save you the expense of purchasing one. In order to perform a vehicle history report one must have the 16 digit vin number. The vehicle identification number is located on the driver side of the vehicle on the dashboard. You should be able to view the the vehicle identification number by standing on the driver-side windshield and looking down in the lower right-hand corner. Write down this number and perform a vehicle history report online. While a vehicle history report is always a good idea, the owner should always disclose any history of salvage or flood that is known. This is required by law.

Ask lots of questions.

  • Ask the seller questions. When considering a vehicle, never be afraid to ask the seller questions or concerns that you may have. When it comes to purchasing a used vehicle, there is no such thing as a inappropriate question. Asking questions such as if the vehicle has ever been involved in a collision or if it has ever been flooded are all fair. You may also want to ask the seller how many owners the vehicle has had. While inspecting the vehicle, ask the owner about anything that may seem suspicious. By asking a few simple questions you may end up saving yourself thousands of dollars by not purchasing a problematic vehicle.

Things to avoid when shopping for a used vehicle


Watch out for spammy listing

There is a chance that you will encounter a spammer or even worse, a scammer while searching for a car. The best way to avoid running into this is to exercise a bit of common sense. Don’t go for vehicles that are listed several thousand below what they are truly worth and do not send anyone money for any reason whatsoever. One thing is for sure and that is there is no shortage of people out there that are looking to get a hold of your hard earned cash. Protect yourself with a bit of common sense. Generally speaking, if you have a bad feeling about a particular car, it is best to avoid purchasing it. Trust your natural instincts and you should be okay.

Avoid Shady Sellers on Craigslist Cars

Sometimes the best method to use when purchasing a used car on Craigslist Cars is to judge the car sellers character. Pay close attention to the seller and you will quickly figure out what type of person they are. Look at the condition of their other vehicles, their home, personal hygiene, apparel, and anything else you can imagine. These clues can give you insight when it comes to determining if you are purchasing a solid vehicle. For example, a questionable character with multiple tattoos and an unprofessional attitude may not be the best person to deal with. Ask yourself if you would want to deal with this person, should something go wrong with the vehicle as soon as you dive it away. There is one thing that you do not want to deal with and that is a seller who intentionally sells you a bad car, knowing that there is something wrong with it. While judging one on their appearance may not be the best practice in most situations, it can really save you a lot of time, money and headache with it comes to purchasing a used car. Buying a used car with a gut feeling can often be risky but is one of the best ways to purchase a for sale by owner car. There are so many things that can go wrong when you purchase used so it is a great idea to go with someone who is trustworthy and will give you an honest, straightforward deal. When I look for a used car, I take a look at what the owner owns. If they have a nice home, 3 kids, 6 nice vehicles and give the appearance that they have money, I feel a lot more comfortable then purchasing from someone who appears to have no money and could potentially be looking for a way to make a few quick bucks.

Look Out For Discrepancies from Sellers

When I purchase a used car, the first thing that I do is ask the seller specific questions on the phone, prior to taking a look at their vehicle. For instance, one question that I always ask is why they are selling their car. The most common response is that they purchased a new car and would like to sell their old one. I try to get them to tell me what type of car they purchased and then compare this information to what I see when I take a look at their vehicle. You may want to ask several other questions such as how long they have owned the vehicle, if it has ever been involved in a collision, and if the vehicle has a clean title. Write down the answers that the owner gives you. When you go to look at their vehicle, randomly ask them these questions once again. Compare the answers that you received on the phone to those that you receive in person. Any discrepancies in their answers should raise a red flag and be further investigated.

Cars That Were Recently Purchased by Seller

One question that you should always ask a seller is how long they have owned the vehicle that they are selling. If the seller has only owned the car for a short period of time, this should immediately throw up a red flag. Ask them if you can take a look at the title in order to verify the original title transfer date.

There are certain cases where it is okay to buy a car that has only been owned for a short period of time. For instance, I use to buy used cars from the local DWI auction and then turn around and sell them on Craigslist Cars. Car buyers would often ask how long I owned the car and I always told them that I purchased them from a car auction and resell them. Some buyers get defensive and tell me that they can go to the auction and do the same thing and avoid the markup. I then tell them exactly where I purchase my cars from and invite them to find a great deal. I also make them aware that buying a car at an auction is a skill that not everyone has. You must know what you are purchasing because your are likely not able to test drive this car before making a purchase. Many of these car buyers ends up purchasing a car from me because they do not feel comfortable buying a car that they can not drive before making a purchase.

While buying a car that was recently acquired may be a good idea in some cases, other times it is not such a great idea. For instance, if a seller says that they are looking to sell their car after only owning it a month and the reason is because they “didn’t like it” there has to be a reason why. Ask them what they did not like about the vehicle. Most likely, they found a major mechanical problem with the vehicle and they are unwilling to disclose. They would rather make it another person’s problem than to face the issue their self.

High Priced Cars with “New Engine” or “Transmission”

One thing that many shady car sellers try to do is sell their car, claiming that it has a new engine or transmission. While this may be true in some cases, it is always best to ask for documentation prior to making this purchase. Ask to see a sales receipt from the mechanic that installed it in the vehicle. You may also want to ask yourself why this person is interested in selling their car if it does have a new engine. Wouldn’t they want to drive this car because they know it has many more years of life left in it? There are all great things to think about when buying a car from an owner that claims to have put in a new major component.


Frequently Asked Questions While Buying Craigslist Cars


The car seller wants me to send money to have the car shipped. Should I do this?

The short answer to this question is “No”. There is a 99.99% chance that the seller is trying to take your money, leaving you no vehicle and an empty wallet. This scam has been around for ages, yet is still gets folks everyday. The supposed seller asks for you to send then $1,000 via Western Union in order for them to ship the vehicle to you. It is not uncommon for the seller to request that the cash is sent to another country, such as South America. South America is a haven for scammers who get away with stealing millions of dollars each year due to their relaxed laws on internet crimes. Often time, government officials are unable to capture these guys because of their countries unwillingness to work with the United States and other countries. Once you money has been transferred to the scammer, it is picked up and you will never hear from this person ever again. This story is played out time after time and the Craigslist website even warns potential car buyers of this scam. While it is well documented and widely known, it still occurs to innocent people who did not do their research before buying. The easiest way to avoid this type of situation is to deal with locals in your area. Do not even consider a vehicle that you can not physically examine. Doing so is very risky and can really end up costing you in the end. When in doubt, check it out. Have the seller prove to you that they are the owner of the vehicle before giving them any cash. The best way to go about doing this is to have the title notarized by a public notary, allowing the seller to present their identification to the notary. Remember that you should not give any money to the seller until you are ready to close the deal in front of a public notary.

How do I choose a good car on Craigslist?

There is no simple answer to this question. While a vehicle my have a great physical appearance, it may have several underlying mechanical issues that you are unaware of. When I use to flip used cars, there is one thing that I always did and that is a detailed cleaning. The vehicle that I was selling may have leaked fluid, blew smoke, or hadn’t seen an oil change in 40,000 miles, but if it looked great, it sold. Throughout the years I learned that many people shop for a vehicle based solely on its appearance. Their philosophy is that if the car looks great then it does not have any problems. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the appearance of a vehicle may be an indication of how well a car was maintained, it should not be the sole determining factor. If you must ask the question “How do I choose a good car on Craigslist cars” then you likely have limited mechanical abilities. This is okay, especially if you know a good mechanic. You should not have to know how a vehicle functions and the way that all components work together. This is the job of a qualified mechanic. There are plenty of mechanics that will gladly inspect your vehicle for obvious signs of repair or damage. This should cost you no more than $100 and is a smart choice for anyone who is interested in purchasing a car. Some mechanics will come to the vehicle while others will require that you drive the vehicle to them. The seller of the vehicle should gladly allow you to drive the vehicle to your mechanics shop to have it checked out. If they avoid this then it may be time to start looking around for another vehicle. Choosing a good car on Craigslist requires that you have the ability to carefully inspect every component on a car and determine what repairs may be necessary. If you have your doubts when it comes to choosing a car, have someone take a look at it. The amount that you will spend is well worth it and can save you from purchasing a real headache that will turn into a money pit.

Where do I find cheap cars on Craigslist Cars?

Bargain shoppers are always looking for a deal on everything from clothing to their vehicles. If you are looking to get a great deal on a used car, you are not alone. In fact, there are several bargain shoppers on Craigslist who are looking for vehicles for less than $2000. What this means is that you are up against a lot of competition when it comes to getting cheap vehicles. Ultimately, this equates to being able to recognize a great deal and acting before it disappears. Since several individuals will be looking for the same thing that you are, time is of the essence. Start by deciding what type of vehicle that you are interested in, whether it be a mini van, truck, car, SUV or crossover. Once you have decided on this, search Craigslist several times per day for new listings. If you find a vehicle that you are interested in and it is priced significantly below the average selling price in your area or book value, the time to act is now. I like to use the 20% below retail value when shopping around for a used car. This amount can vary depending on the area in which you live and local economic conditions. For instance, an area that has a poor economy will likely have less buyers which will ultimately drive down the price of vehicles in the area. Once you have your future vehicle in site, personally inspect if for any issues. It may be a good idea to leave this up to a professional if you are not very mechanically inclined. Have them check out everything and give you a detailed report. Bring this report back to the seller and use it as a negotiation tool. If the seller lets you know that they are aware of all problems and priced the vehicle accordingly, it may be time to move on. If the seller is willing to negotiate even further, you may have a deal on your hands. Play the negotiation game until you and the seller can agree upon a price. Remember to start low and work your way up. It is much easier to pull your offer up rather than trying to retreat. Instead of making the seller an offer by saying “I will give you ___” Say “will you take ____”, This opens up for car negation and will almost always give you a better price. Also, always ask the seller if that is the best that they can do. Only use this line when you know that you are getting close to their lowest breaking point. Brush up on you negotiation skills in order to get the best deal possible on a cheap car.


Jan 2012 Craigslist Cars Update:

It has been quite some time since the creation of this article. Since then, a few things have changed when it comes to buying used cars for sale by owner. For starters, competition is starting to get fierce due to the upcoming tax season. There is a surplus of money floating around and the price of vehicles are artificially increased. The best thing to do in this type of situation is to wait out the storm and purchase at a later date. A better time to to purchase is after the month of April when the tax money dries up.

The number of scams has also greatly reduced. This is likely the result of the media shining a spotlight on scams and an increase in law enforcement. The front page is no longer littered with advertisements from fake car sellers looking to  cash in at the expense of someone else. While the number of scams have certainly on the decrease, you should always keep your guard up.


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