Crappy Craigslist ads can piss any of us off. Deciphering someone’s ramblings about how awesome their crappy car is to how crappy it actually is takes knowledge and experience. Consider yourself lucky if the ad provides the transmission type, mileage, and a picture which actually shows the car. Such ad may give hope that the car is not owned by a complete idiot and that further details can be obtained via email or over the phone.
In an effort of the help the car buying and selling community, I have created this simple template of how to write a decent Craigslist ad. Following this format will result in less time wasted answering questions which should not have been asked. I realize that you hoons know this because you look at eBay and CL most of your day, but I am sure that you know someone who could use some help. Distribute this to others as reference, feel free to provide additional input.
- Title must state what the car is, specifically what model. If it is unclear from the name what type of car that is, as in this instance (all Lincoln names seem alike), explain it. If the vehicle is on its first owner, I like to state that in the subject to give the buyer that extra warm fuzzy feeling.
- Bullet points!! They make your ad easy to read.
- First set of bullet points states the most obvious information about the car. It’s amazing how many people don’t put this in.
- Second set of bullets should show the major features with which the car comes with. Skip on obvious stuff like power windows, door locks, power steering, unless there were models of your car that came without them – a Miata would be a good example.
- Third set of bullets – list all major options here. Again, skip the obvious and focus on the options or packages that make your car stand out from others.
- Write a sentence or two about the condition of the car. Write in a positive way but be honest. List anything that one would consider major; big dents, leaks, something not working. Don’t say how much it would cost to fix.
- Say WHY you’re selling the car. This will reassure the buyer that you’re not just dumping a lemon. If you are dumping a lemon, don’t say anything at all.
- Tell people how to contact you. If providing a phone number, tell them your name and what time to call.
- Price. This is very important. Make sure your vehicle is priced accordingly and give a hint of the fact that you are willing to negotiate.
- Don’t write stuff like “firm price”, “serious buyers only” or “no dreamers” – that only makes you look like an ass.
- Pictures. They don’t need to be great but they need to provide the basic image of the car. Craigslist allows up to four pictures; make sure that at least one is of the outside, and one is of the inside. Three-quarter pictures are two pictures in one, showing both the end and the side of the vehicle. Show any major defects, if any but skip on normal wear and tear stuff.
I helped a friend write the ad shown here. The owner simply did not like the vehicle and wanted something different, smaller. The decision was made to sell it on Craigslist and avoid a low-ball dealer trade-in offer. This Lincoln sold within four days for the asking price, which was quite surprising.