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How to Safely Sell Your Car on Craigslist

Despite the fact that Craigslist has gotten some bad attention over the years, it’s still a very popular way to sell things that you don’t want. This is especially true when it comes to used vehicles, or with people who wonder “How to sell my car for cash”, Craigslist poses a great solution.

Craigslist also offers many other things for sale, some of which draw audiences that you don’t really want to be looking at your used car that you took pictures of at your house. When selling your car on Craigslist, you can’t underestimate safety measures. So follow these tips and be safe.

Here are some tips for how to safely sell your car on Craigslist!

Set Up a Phone Call

Although email can be easily done through the Craigslist relay—therefore never revealing your actual email address—it’s always best to set up a phone call with the potential buyer. If they don’t want to talk to you on the phone, this a red flag. They should actually want to talk to you about your vehicle so they can ask you questions about it and make sure you’re a real person.

You also want to make sure that they are a real person. Write down some questions before the call if you’re nervous, but just ask them what they’re looking for and what their needs are when it comes to the car. The person on the other end of the line should be genuinely interested in the car. If they don’t act interested in the vehicle or what you have to say, chances are they’re not really trying to buy your car from you and it could be a setup to be robbed or get your vehicle stolen.

If the caller also begins asking you about the price and trying to get your car for cheaper, this isn’t a good sign. This likely means that the person won’t be using the car themselves and just wants to sell it for a higher value. It also means that they’re not interested in the car and they’re just more interested in getting a cheap deal.

Meet in a Public Place and Set Stipulations

If the person passes your phone call test and you’re having a great conversation about the car, this might be a good time to set up an in-person meeting with them if you’re feeling good about it. Remember to always trust your gut—if something doesn’t feel right to you, don’t follow through. You can always hang up the phone and back out of the deal.

Ask the person to meet you in a very public place. This could be at a popular coffee shop on a Saturday morning or a shopping mall parking lot. Just be sure that there will be plenty of other people around. Also tell the potential buyer that you’d like to see their driver’s license before taking the car for a test drive. This should scare off anyone who is up to anything suspicious.

It’s also important to ask the person who will be coming along with them. While some people may come alone, most people are smart enough to bring a friend to this sort of thing. If the person is evasive about who they’re bringing, this is a red flag. You should be clear with the person that you’ll be bringing someone else with you. Try not to go to meet someone off Craigslist by yourself. Not only is this dangerous, but remember that people will be less likely to do you wrong when someone else is there.

Be Safe on the Test Drive

Most buyers won’t want to buy your car without driving it first. If you’ve gotten this far in the Craigslist transaction (talking with them on the phone, getting them to meet you in a public place with their driver’s license), chances are that everything will go fine. This doesn’t mean that you should let down your guard, however.

It’s a good idea to go with the potential buyer on the test drive. This is where it also helps to have a buddy with you—you both can go along and you’ll feel safer with someone else there. If for some reason you can’t take someone else with you, arrange a phone call with a family member or friend. This way they can call you while they know you’re with the person and check in to make sure everything is ok. You could also arrange a code word to use just in case things are going wrong and your friend will know to call the police. If you can’t bring someone with you, always let them know where you’re going to be.

When on the test drive, don’t take any valuables with you, but do take your cell phone. Choose an area that’s very familiar to you and let the drive be short. Go through areas that have plenty of people. Always return from the original area where you started—never let the potential buyer take you to a different location.

The Transaction

Let’s say everything goes fine. The phone call went great, you met them, took a test drive, and everyone is happy. The buyer wants to purchase the car. The buyer will likely try and negotiate with you about the price. This is normal, and accept whatever price you feel comfortable with.

This is where the buyer may try to ask you for favors—driving him or her to a bank, accepting a check, or dropping him or her off with the car at another location. Don’t agree to any of these things. If the buyer doesn’t have cash to complete the sale, let them know that they can contact you when they have the money and they’re ready to buy the car.

You shouldn’t meet the buyer at your home unless for some reason it can’t be avoided. You should never let the potential buyer into your home for any reason. Ensure to have a bill of sale ready but don’t sign anything until you’ve received the money. If the person is smart and has done Craigslist car sales before, they’ll know to come ready with cash.

Selling your car on Craigslist is oftentimes an easy task and can get you cash for your car quickly. However, there are people out there who scan Craigslist and take advantage of sellers on there who may have never sold their car on Craigslist before and don’t know what they’re doing. This is why you need to be prepared.

Remember to always talk to the buyer beforehand, as this will give you the best idea about if they’re serious and genuine or not. Make conversation with them about the car. Meet in a public place away from your home, and never accept anything less than cash for the car. After the car is sold, ensure you aren’t responsible for anything that may happen to it by letting MVA know that you sold the car. They may have you complete a release of liability document in which you won’t be help responsible should it be used for criminal activity.

Be safe when selling your car on Craigslist—follow these tips!

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