A few years ago, my wife was in the market for a new vehicle. Her 1997 Chevy Silvarado was in great shape, but with the recent addition of our daughter to our family, a pickup truck didn’t quite meet our changing transportation needs. When we took the vehicle to the dealer, we got a low-ball offer on a trade-in. We had paid off the truck the previous year, so any cash would work to bring down the note in the new car, but the dealer wasn’t offering half of what we felt the car was worth.
After researching the estimated value of the vehicle on Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds, we gave it good detailing, took dozens of photos, and posted our Chevy on Craigslist. We considered posting on eBay, but back then I wasn’t as avid a user as I am now, and I didn’t feel comfortable with their auction format or commissions. I avoided the auto classifieds altogether because of the upfront listing costs.
The most important thing about Craigslist is to know your geographical market. While many of the good folk up in Elmira, NY (where we lived at the time) drove pickups, four wheel drive was a necessity due to the long, snowy winters. Our pretty two wheel drive Silverado just didn’t meet the needs of the local drivers (another reason we were looking to sell).
Ultimately, selling high dollar items like cars and motorcycles comes down to trust. We ended up selling the truck to my brother in Tennessee for a fair price, a little above Blue Book value, and a lot more than the dealer trade-in.
Today, I probably would ave given eBay more of a chance and taken full advantage of the nation-wide market that comes with posting there.