Craigslist Cars For Sale By Owner Bay Area – Sites like Bring-a-Trailer and eBay Motors are great reputable places to buy cars online. Barring any major mechanical problems not mentioned in the ad, you’ll probably get a good car for a good price. But you don’t always get the best deal because you can’t see the car in person before making a decision.
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Craigslist Cars For Sale By Owner Bay Area
That’s why I use Craigslist to buy cars. Other car-buying sites have come and gone, but the sales and community service classifieds web page has been around for over 20 years. Sure, it’s not popular enough to list a car for sale for $5 anymore, but Craigslist is still one of the best places to find a car at a bargain price and one of the most interesting places to shop. Here’s how to do it right.
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This may be an optional step for some people, but if you’re looking for something incredibly rare or special, Craigslist alerts can be very helpful. All you need to do is create an account on the site, search for something, and then click “Save Search” in the top right corner of the screen. After you set up an alert, Craigslist will notify you via email if there is anything in that area that matches your desired options.
It may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how little you know about cars until you really dive into the dark corners of the internet. Let’s take my 2008 six-speed V-10 BMW M5 as an example. For a car as popular as this one, there are many resources available to find out which mechanical parts will fail, how much those parts cost, and how much work it will take to fix them. All of these things will come in handy when it comes time to negotiate.
For example, Realoem.com is a haven for all BMW owners where they can see every single piece of metal, rubber, glass and plastic that was used to build their car. There are also diagrams, catalog numbers and approximate prices. Then there is the forum. Do-it-yourself master flows often sit at the top of how-to sections, providing owners with plenty of information on how to fix problems or perform scheduled maintenance. M5board is my choice.
The forums are also a good place to look for common or recurring car problems and things to look out for. If a specific part needs to be replaced or a weak spot needs to be repaired, this can help bring the price down when it’s time to buy.
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Don’t just browse these sites and think you’ve got the information. It is better to be intrusive, so even the little things will come out.
Now that you’re armed with all the knowledge you need to make an informed purchase, it’s time to take a look at the car. Bring a flashlight, two oil test pads, a notepad, a pen and, if the car is 1996 or newer, an OBDII reader. Also, grab a jack if you can. Tag as many of your car-obsessed friends as you can. The more eyes the better.
It is important to properly greet the host. It’s best not to sound overly interested or excited, as he or she may think you’re willing to pay absolutely anything to own a car. This may very well be the case depending on what kind of car you are looking for, but why pay full price if you don’t have to pay?
I like to inspect the car before I ask the owner questions, so if anything comes up while I’m digging around in the engine bay, I can discuss it later when I’m negotiating a price. Start with the basics before moving on (Are all the lights working? Is the engine idling evenly? Any lights on the dashboard? Are there any pending codes? Tire and brake pad life remaining? etc.) . If there is very less new in the cabin, be sure to note this. Damage to the driver’s seat? Pay attention to this. Small chip on the windshield? Pay attention to this. Oil filled engine bay? Pay attention to this. A bit vaguely passive? Pay attention to this. Each of these imperfections can be used as evidence to negotiate a lower price. Spend as much time as possible on every inch inside and out. Ask what you missed, then come back and do it again. You will find something, trust me, no car is perfect. If you find something is wrong, ask yourself, “Can I fix this myself, or do I need to take it to the store?”
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Take your time to inspect the car and pay attention to the details – most dealers will probably not let you test drive if you show up and kick tires for five minutes.
The same attitude should be taken when you get behind the wheel. Don’t ride your car all the time on your bike, but don’t overtake it as soon as you get into it. Let the owner know your intentions and what you plan to do. For example, say out loud when you are going to rev the engine to the red zone so you don’t catch anyone off guard. If the car you’re looking at has a manual transmission, be sure to put it in top gear at low speeds to see if the clutch is slipping. If so, this should be factored into your price negotiations. Any vibrations? Is it pulling to the right or to the left? Any extraneous sounds from the suspension? Check them all.
After that, check the service records and compare the work done against any weaknesses or necessary repairs mentioned earlier. If the owner does not have a work book, great! That’s more firepower when you’re trying to keep the price down.
This is where things get interesting. Take your notebook full of imperfections and read them one by one to the salesperson. Point out these shortcomings as you read them, and – this is important – be sure to tell the seller how much it will cost to fix each of these individual items. Then list any pending mechanical repairs or routine maintenance that needs to be done, including the cost of those. Emphasize that all these repairs will come from your pocket, which means that it should also come out of the purchase price.
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If you have the seller’s original ad on hand, that’s fine too. You can use it to compare a car’s online description with its actual condition, noting the differences to convince the seller that the original asking price does not reflect the car’s true condition.
I find it easiest to quickly hit the seller with an offer so as not to give him or her time to rebut any discretion you just listed. Depending on what’s wrong with the car, I like to start at 50-75 percent of the asking price and then work to find a sweet spot. Becoming a skilled negotiator takes practice, quick thinking, and a deep understanding of what really amounts to a fair price.
Always remember: you can leave. Whether the car has gone too far mechanically, or the seller won’t budge in price, there are plenty of good reasons to get out of the situation. Chances are there’s another similar car out there somewhere, so there’s no need to make a commitment that you don’t feel comfortable with. The buyer has the money, which means they have control.
If you are serious about buying a car, then surely you will get a better deal. There have been many times in the past when I panicked and looked for something on my phone at the last second because I didn’t do proper research before buying a car and I can tell you it’s not fun. By working ahead and putting in the effort when inspecting a car, you will always be ahead of the game, ready to make an informed purchase at a logical price.
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Most people who visit this website frequently have four Craigslist tabs open at any given time, which reflects checking local car listings about every few minutes during the business day. But car dealers will be in for a surprise on April 15 when Craigslist raises the listing fee from free to $5.
As Road & Track and Reddit noted today, a public announcement of the change can be seen by choosing to post a “For Sale By Owner” listing on Craigslist, which will take the user to a page to select a category.
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