Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Today I bought a car from someone on Craigslist.

First, new car! I bought my Jeep from my parents about three years ago (my first car), and it has been a love/hate relationship (love that it's cheap and reliable/hate that it gets terrible gas mileage). So, I started looking at used cars a couple months ago, mainly focusing on low-end, fuel-efficient cars. 

Second, Craigslist! From the start, I decided to buy from a private owner on Craigslist. I don't really know if this was a genius move or a really naive move. I think you can potentially get a better deal on Craigslist than through a dealership, but Craigslist! I mean, there are just so many unknowns when you're Craigslisting. I guess most of my anxiety comes from seeing The Craigslist Killer show up in my recommended movies on Netflix. You exchange a few emails, you meet them briefly, you drive the car for five minutes, and you take that information and make a decision about thousands of dollars. And at any point in the process they can end up being a crazy person who murders you. 

But all in all, my experience on Craigslist has renewed my faith in humanity (really). 

Everyone I met while car shopping was incredibly open and honest (I mean, as far as I know). Multiple people provided a detailed list of problems their car had, even including important information that wasn't part of the Carfax report. Everyone was trusting of me--handing over keys to let me drive the car myself, giving me their home address, etc. And everyone was non-creepy, kind, understanding, and reasonable. 

By far, my favorite Craigslist people were the people I bought my car from. 

First of all, they were really excited when they met me to find that I wasn't a crazy person (and I them). They gave me a thorough tour of the car, a test drive, and gave me detailed information about the car history and maintenance. This is all pretty standard so far, but when we started talking price they were actually interested in going as low as they could go. It was hardly a negotiation. They offered me an really great price, and kept on reiterating that they wanted me to have piece of mind with the sale, so they coordinated a used car inspection. They are moving to Saudi Arabia in a week, so they were motivated to sell.

This all sounds too good to be true, like they were actually just trying to schmooze or swindle me. I mean, who moves to Saudi Arabia? That sounds fake. Who just openly negotiates with themselves to drop the price? That sounds like a trick. But they were really genuine! And to prove that I wasn't actually hoodwinked Craigslist-style, the used car inspection was solid and came to me directly from the mechanic (a mechanic that I picked), the car is in great shape, and they sold it to me for well under Kelly Blue Book.

And to thoroughly seal their position as my Craigslist besties, when I met them to pay for the car and transfer the title today they left the car with a full tank of gas, and they offered to give me $20 because they didn't have time to scrape a sticker off the rear window. These are good people.

Major Craigslist success.

My new car: 2010 Nissan Versa


Ashely Redden said...

Wow, that's amazing. I can't believe you got a good deal buying a car from Craigslist. And based on your anecdotes, it seems like there is a community of people who are honest to tell you straightaway on what you're paying for. It does make sense since a car is a major purchase and people are careful with that kind of money required to buy one. I hope your new car lives more years with you.

Infiniti of Ann Arbor

Elisa said...

You are such a good bargain hunter. Also, great car!