First-time car seller looking for best way to sell a car in NYC
June 16, 2008 8:55 AM   Subscribe

First-time car seller looking for best way to sell a car in NYC?

I moved to Manhattan a few months ago, and I brought my car with me. I hardly ever use it now, and its costing me a lot of money and aggravation. I'm thinking that it might be time to get rid of it, however, I've never sold a car before.

What's the best method to get rid of my car and not get ripped off? Should I have the car inspected before listing it, or is that something the buyer would want to do themselves? I'd like to be safe, as I'm sure there are plenty of people on craigslist who might try to scam me out of my vehicle. The car is registered in NY, gets decent gas mileage, and I have the title to it.
posted by dcjd to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I did it via craigslist and didn't get nearly as much money as I wanted for the car. If I were to do it again, I would probably wait until the Fall semester was starting up and try to sell it at a nearby school like Princeton where cars are a little more necessary for getting around.
posted by onalark at 9:04 AM on June 16, 2008

Best answer: Craigslist and cash. I've always gotten what I wanted and swiftly - I think the key for being successful selling cars on craigslist is selling older but not vintage or desirable cars for modest sums of money. True antiques, collector's items, or newer expensive cars are best sold via specialty sites, ebay, or through a dealer, IMO. If on the other hand you have a 5-15 y/o car that is a decent runner that you want to sell for 1-6k, craigslist is the best way to go.

Accept only cash. If they want the car inspected, they can do it themselves.

Don't meet them at your home. Meet them in the middle of the day in a busy parking lot.
posted by arnicae at 11:54 AM on June 16, 2008

Best answer: costs a little money but tends to yield less sketchy potential buyers.
posted by ben242 at 2:14 PM on June 16, 2008

Just in case it isn't clear from my earlier post.

I live in New York City and I sold a car two summers ago and it was kind of a pain even meeting buyers. I wasn't selling a Honda or a Nissan, and I didn't pay much more than a thousand for the car to begin with, so I was already in trouble before I started. I don't remember getting any calls from anybody interested in buying the car after listing it on Craigslist for a week, and ended up calling one of the dealers advertising on the list asking him if he'd be interested in buying it for cash, then unloading it on him for maybe half the Bluebook value.

If you're selling a 'hot' car like a Civic or a Sentra you will probably find interested buyers, particularly if its in good running condition. I'm guessing that you're going to have a harder time if your situation is more similar to mine.
posted by onalark at 6:03 PM on June 16, 2008

Best answer: I sold a car on ebay in Chicago and got more than I was looking for- more than enough to cover the cost of the ad. A friend recently did the same on chicago.craigslist.

: clean the car and make it look like you'd want it to look if you were buying it.
: Take some nice pictures. Getting down at "eye level" with the grille of the car makes for some nice pictures. As well as turning the wheels all the way to one side and taking pictures from both angles.
: make the ad clear, but also information dense. Put EVERYTHING that is wrong with the thing in the ad. If the AC needs to be recharged every spring, if it needs new tires, if there's a golf ball dent in the roof (cough...), etc.
: put the answers to any questions buyers ask in the ad.
: never let a buyer convince you to do something you don't want to. No, sorry, I'm not driving up to Milwaukee (or Poughkeepsie as the case may be) so you can save gas and chat about cars.

This has multiple benefits: you won't attract lookie-lous. Buyers will know exactly what they are getting into and bid accordingly. You will feel good knowing that the buyer knew exactly what they were getting into and you didn't fleece anyone. I also think that if a buyer knows EVERY flaw in a product, they can look at it with more clarity. They're free from the burden of looking for the hidden flaws so they can look at the car and envision how it will fit into their lives, and focus on what they like about the thing.
posted by gjc at 7:57 PM on June 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by dcjd at 6:36 AM on June 17, 2008

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