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Writing an effective advertisement on Craigslist Cars

Posting a vehicle on Craigslist cars can be done by anyone but few have mastered the skill of writing an advertisement that will grab the reader’s attention. Perhaps one of the best ways to sell your vehicle quickly is to write an effective ad. In order to do so, you will first need to know exactly what you were selling. More often than not people are unaware of the specifications of their vehicle. Begin by making a list of all the information that a car buyer may be interested in. A few items that car shoppers may want to know include:

Year, Make & Model: a surprising number of people do not know the year and model of their vehicle. This information can be found on your vehicle registration card or on the vehicle itself. To identify the year, make, and model take a look in the door hinge for this information. Often times you will find a manufacture month and date. Some people are surprised to know that the automobile that they are driving is a year newer or a year older than what they believed. Your vehicles make and model is often placed on the trunk of the vehicle. Depending on the type of automobile, there may be several editions so the model may be followed by letter such as XE, SSI, or IV depending on the particular manufacture. It is important to use this information with caution because the previous owner may have placed the wrong information in this area. The only surefire way to know exactly what you’re selling is to contact a car dealer with information about your vehicle.

Engine size: specify the engine displacement in liters and also indicate whether it is a three cylinder, four-cylinder, six cylinder, or eight cylinder. If you are unsure of the size of your engine, there are several ways that you can find this information. The first way is to write down the vehicle identification number which is typically located on the driver’s side dashboard and can be viewed by looking through the windshield on the driver side. Take this number and call a dealer in your local area that sells your particular vehicle and give them this VIN number. This number will give you information on everything from the engine size to all of the vehicles features and even information such as where the vehicle was manufactured and what month it was produced. When trying to figure out information on your car, this is perhaps the quickest and most effective method of doing so. The vehicle identification number can also be found on your vehicle title or registration card. Another way of identifying the engine size is by opening the hood and taking a look at the engine or the information sticker located in the engine compartment. Often times, the size of a vehicle’s engine is written directly on the engine itself. Other times, this information can be found on a sticker that is about 3″ x 2″ and is often located near the radiator grill or directly under the hood.

Gas mileage: With the price of gasoline soaring higher than ever, this is one area that many car buyers are closely examining. If you are selling a car that receives great gas mileage than this may be a great opportunity to highlight the fuel savings that your vehicle has to offer. If you are not sure how many miles per gallon your vehicle receives, there are a few ways to determine this. One of the easiest ways to do this is to visit fueleconomy.gov and see what the United States government rates your vehicle at. A more effective way to determine fuel mileage is to calculate it by measuring fuel consumption. In order to do this you will have to test your vehicle under two driving conditions which are highway use and city driving. The next time you are about to drive several hours on the highway, using the following method to calculate fuel consumption. Top off your gas tank before you enter the highway. Be sure to fill it with as much gasoline as possible. Next, set your trip odometer to zero. Drive your vehicle for several hours at highway speed and take an exit with a nearby fuel station. Top your gas tank off once again and take note of the number of gallons consumed. Divide the number of miles driven by the amount of fuel consumed. This will give you an approximation of how many miles per gallon you are receiving. Complete the cycle several times and take the average of all of the calculations that you have made. This should give you a fairly accurate mile per gallon rating for your particular vehicle. Calculating fuel economy for city driving can be accomplished using the same method. When testing your vehicles fuel economy under city driving conditions you will want to be sure that you are consistent with your driving patterns. This means that you should avoid sudden acceleration and excessive speeds. If you decide to calculate your own gas mileage, be sure to mention this in your advertisement.

Number of miles on the vehicle: this is one of the most commonly asked questions that a car buyer will ask. The number of miles on a vehicle is particularly important to many car buyers who were not interested in high mileage vehicles. By being upfront and honest about the number of miles on your vehicle, you can avoid many unnecessary e-mails and phone calls from car buyers who are looking for a lower mileage vehicle. This is also a great time to mention whether or not the vehicle’s engine or transmission has been rebuilt or replaced. If this is the case, be sure to mention the date that this replacement occurred and whether or not the warranty is transferable from one owner to another. If you are not sure whether or not your vehicles warranty is transferable then it may be a good idea to contact the person who completed the work. A transferable warranty on an engine or transmission is a great selling point, even if the vehicle has high mileage.

Additional information: it is always good to mention features such as power windows, power locks, stereo system, and other accessories in your advertisement. If you have completed any aftermarket alterations such as aftermarket body parts, stereo equipment, or window tint then it is definitely worth a mention. There are several other questions that car buyers might have such as whether or not the vehicle has been involved in a collision, how often the vehicle has been serviced, the number of owners the automobile has had, the condition of the vehicles paint, and the reason why you are selling it. Whenever writing about additional information the sure to keep a positive swing on your writing. Don’t write phrases such as “this car is beat up and barely runs”. Instead, rephrase this in to “this car has some cosmetic damage and needs a little TLC”. Be as honest as possible when describing any problems that the vehicle may have. Be sure to highlight all of the good features and downplay any minor issues that the vehicle may have. Major issues should be mentioned to the car buyer before making the sale. Failure to do so may create additional problems down the road.

With all of this information available, it is time to write an effective advertisement on Craigslist cars. When writing an advertisement its important to inform the reader while staying focused. There is certainly no shortage of advertisements on Craigslist where the seller goes off on a tangent, giving everyone their personal life story. Here is an example of an effective advertisement that will grab the reader’s attention:

Click here for more images

1999 Honda Accord EX

2.0 Liter 4 cyl engine with automatic transmission

Gas saver! Receives 30 MPG highway

115,000 miles

This vehicle is loaded with all the power features including power windows, locks, seats, moon roof, premium stereo system, leather seats, and much much more!

The paint is in excellent condition; however, there is a small scratch on the right fender. The vehicle also needs brakes.

Asking $4500 OBO

Call 341-555-2134

Click here for more images

(4 images go here)

Notice that this advertisement reads “click here for more images” at the top and bottom of the advertisement. It is always a great idea to take as many pictures as possible and upload them to a free image hosting website such as Photobucket. Create a hyperlink that redirects your potential car buyers to more images of your vehicle. Also be sure to include four images on the Craigslist posting. Craigslist allows you to post four images directly into the advertisement. One disadvantage is that these pictures are small and are of low resolution but will give the reader an idea of what they are looking at. If they are interested in additional photos, they can click on your link within the advertisement. Also notice that the asking price is listed within the text and has the acronym OBO listed next to it. OBO simply means “or best offer” and lets the car buyer know that you were willing to negotiate on price. It is a good practice to choose a price that you would like to get for the vehicle and post it a few hundred dollars above what you are truly looking to get. From here, you can allow the buyer to negotiate the price downward. In addition to all other information, you will want to put a contact phone number and possibly e-mail address to allow the car buyer to contact you. Please be aware that placing your e-mail address on Craigslist may subject you to phishing scams where a link is sent to your e-mail address, asking for your Craigslist log in and password. While this website may look like Craigslist, it is actually another website that is designed to steal your password and login information. Be aware of this when posting your e-mail address on Craigslist.

Before giving your vehicle away at a ridiculously low price, do the research and know what your car is worth. A good indication that your vehicle is priced too low is if your phone is ringing nonstop and you are receiving dozens of e-mails about your vehicle. A reasonably priced car may only receive 4 to 5 phone calls per week and maybe 10 e-mails per week. In order to determine a fair asking price for your car you will want to start by looking around at similar cars in your area. Often times, people will post their vehicle using the book value found on websites such as NADA.com and expect to get the full retail value. In all honesty, your car is going to sell for at or below what similar vehicles are posted for on Craigslist. For instance, if you are attempting to get $4000 for a Toyota Corolla while there are three other Toyota Corollas that are the same year listed for $2,500, odds are, you will not get very many phone calls for your vehicle. While the condition of your car does play a significant role, it is not going to get you twice as much for your vehicle.

With a little bit of practice you can write the perfect advertisement that will catch your reader’s attention and sell your car quickly. If you are looking to get top dollar for your car then you should expect to wait a while in order to receive the exact amount that you would like to sell your vehicle for. If you wait around long enough, you will find someone who is willing to pay your asking price. This process may take several weeks, several months, or perhaps several years. If you are looking to sell your vehicle quickly, list it at a reasonable asking price and be willing to negotiate with the buyer.

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