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How to Create A Listing That Results In Success On Craigslist Cars

by craigscars

There are many articles on how to buy cars on the Craigslist, however; many people have asked me about how to sell their used cars using this website. I know that for many people this is a no-brainer, but I realize that there are many people (like my mom) who still do not know how to sell their cars online. This post will will provide a step-by-step guide on how to sell your car on Craigslist. I will also provide pictures for those who are visual learners (like myself).

For those who do not know, Craigslist Cars is an optimal choice for those wishing to sell a used vehicle. The website attracts millions of people searching for something each day and a large portion are searching for transportation. Listings are also cost free, with the exception of a few categories, which makes selling used cars on Craigslist an even more favorable selection. The online classifieds website sees more visitors and traffic each day than eBay and Without doubt, the likelihood of a successful sale is encouraging, but without knowing how to sell cars on Craigslist, how to make your listing attractive, and how to make sure that your listing stands out among the millions of others, you stand a chance of being unsuccessful. It is important to gain knowledge of the best way to list so that the probability of selling your car is improved.

Preparations Before Listing on Craigslist Cars

Evaluate and Research the Cars Value

There are websites where the value of a car can be determined, and being the most popular two. When entering your vehicle information, be truthful about the mileage and condition in order to get true value estimation. Once that is known, visit a few classified sites to see what vehicles similar to yours are actually selling for. Using these factors, determine what would be a good starting price to list at, leaving wiggle room for potential buyers to offer less.

Make Sure the Vehicle is Clean

You will want to make sure that the car is in the best shape possible. Any door dings should be touched up, the trunk cleaned and vacuumed, the inside detailed, and make sure any creases and crevices are cleaned. The exterior should be cleaned and waxed if needed to maximize chances of a sale and to keep the sale price as high as possible.

Take Photos of the Vehicle

Now that the car is detailed, you should take pictures for the ad. Craigslist only allows up to four photos per ad, but taking more is optimal so that you have them to send potential buyers via email if they request such. Clear, detailed pictures can be a huge advantage in a classified ad, so take time with them. For the four photos that Craigslist allows, you will want to take a picture of the exterior, slightly angled and from a frontal viewpoint, a rear angled viewpoint, a wide angle of the interior, and then a picture of anything you think will assist in the sale of the vehicle. For example, if the car has a DVD entertainment system, a third row seat, or a truck that has a spray on bed liner, you can take pictures of those items as the last picture. A close up of the interior dash or motor would also suffice.

Gather all Documents for Vehicle

You will need to check with local laws to see if you are required to provide any certain documentation when selling a car, but in general, you should have the title and a bill of sale printed and handy before listing to minimize hassle later.

Getting Started A Guide to Listing a Car on Craigslist

First, you will want to establish the correct Craigslist domain to post your ad to by going to the web address Once there, you will see a list of countries, states, and cities. Select the city nearest you. If there are several, choose the most populated city. You will then be brought to a screen that lists hundreds of categories. At the top left side of the screen, you will see and click a link that says, Post to Classifieds. On that page, you will select Items for Sale, and then following, you will be given a list of subcategories. Here, you would select Cars & Trucks by Owner. At this point, you will begin listing the vehicle specifications.

Click to enlarge image

Main Screen


Choose “for sale” and category



Choose “Cars”



Choose the nearest location where you plan to sell the car




The title is an important aspect of your listing, as it is what will draw searchers to open up and view your listing. Important factors to include in the title are year model, make, and any brief selling points, such as low miles or optional features. An optimal title will contain proper capitalization and read well. An example of a good title would be- 2008 Toyota Camry LE *One Owner with Low Mileage*. Keep the title under ten words for easy readability and do not use excessive capitalization.



You should include the price in the space provided, as this will assist searchers in locating your vehicle if using the available search parameters for vehicles within a specific price range. Remember, after you researched the value and determined your starting price, that there should be enough room to adjust the price lower. You can estimate that a 5% increase on your bottom dollar should leave enough room for negotiation. If the least you can accept is $10,000, you could start the price at $10,500 and have plenty of room to negotiate without inflating the asking price so high that your listing is ignored.


Make sure to enter the exact location of the city and state the vehicle is located in. This is so that searchers can ensure they are not wasting time by looking at a vehicle that is located too far from them.

Contact/Reply to Email Address

Here, you should enter an email that is checked frequently, as this is a major method of communication for shoppers on Craigslist. You will need to confirm the address in the second line, then, you can choose to ‘anonymize’ the address or hide any email communication abilities from onlookers. It is advised that you choose to make the address anonymous, as this means lookers will be able to email you without being given your actual email address.

Posting Description

This is an important part of creating a successful listing, henceforth, a successful sale. Short, brief sentences should be used that detail every feature of the car. Year, color, make, model, engine size, condition, mileage, important details like damage or engine issues, maintenance, best way to contact and reason for selling are all things that should be detailed in a clear and concise way in your listing. Use spaces between sentences to improve readability.  Make sure to add any additional accessories that you have personally added to the car.  Also, list all the perks of driving your car.  Does your car have excellent gas mileage?  If so, then make sure to add this as a potential benefit to the buyer.

Add Images

This is another important factor in selling your vehicle on Craigslist Cars. Below the Posting Description box, click the link to Add/Edit images. Use the tips provided above for taking good sales photos, and upload them one by one. After done, click Continue, where you will be taken to the review page.

When everything is said and done, it should look like this

Review and Finalize

One you have reviewed your posting and edited as needed, press the Continue button. If you do not have a Craigslist account, you will get a notice that says, IMPORTANT – FURTHER ACTION IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE YOUR REQUEST. You will have to verify the email address used in the posting to have your listing successfully submitted. Simply go to the email and open up the verification email from Craigslist. You will be taken to the CL Terms of Use, which you will need to review and accept. Then, you may have to enter a Captcha. At that point, your posting will go live. You will be taken to the screen where you can edit or delete the listing. If everything looks right, no further action is needed. You will need to save the verification email, as this provides the link for you to make changes or delete the post.

Additional steps screen

E-mail confirmation link

Accept terms and conditions


With these tips and the step-by-step tutorial for listing and selling used cars on Craigslist, you will be able to create a post that will be noticed and receive action. If the listing is superb, concise, and the listing price is right, considering the make and condition of your vehicle, selling on Craigslist Cars is sure to be a success.  If you have any questions or are confused about anything, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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