Ask The Beaverton Car Guy: Selling a Car on Craigslist

By Larry “The Car Guy“ Ferguson15 Car Guy Jag 1

Hello Beaverton Readers!

Thank you to everyone who wrote in recently. There were many subjects I could use for this month’s story but I decided to go with the situation local resident Paige Dumas. (not real name) experienced when trying to trade in her old car.

Paige emailed me explaining she had purchased a new vehicle at a local dealership. What she bought and where she bought it is not important. What is important was the trade in value they were offering for her 2007 Jaguar X Type. At $2500, she had a feeling this was not a fair amount. So, going with her gut, she declined to trade it in, saw my column in the Beaverton Resource Guide and decided to send me an email for advice. Did she do the right thing?

Trading in your car when you buy a new one is easy and painless but just understand that those who work for the dealership are professionals whose goal is to make as much money for the dealership as they can (and more for them means less for you). You pay for the convenience.

The alternative is to sell your old car yourself, either to someone you know or listing it somewhere… like Craigslist.

Now, back to the story. I emailed Paige right back and within a couple of hours I was standing next to her 2007 Jaguar sizing it up.

After referencing Kelley Blue Book, we discussed what I thought the vehicle was worth (about double what the dealership offered) and why.

The new problem was, despite knowing she could get more for it on Craigslist, Paige did not want to talk (let alone negotiate) with strangers. And having people coming over to her house to see the car did not make her feel comfortable and I completely understand. Selling a car to strangers is not easy and not for everyone and if you are one of these people, like Paige is, then taking the dealership offer could be the best choice for you.

Fortunately for Paige, buying and selling cars is what I do so I offered to help. She brought me the Title, dropped off the keys and that very day, I got to work. I took photos of the vehicle inside and out, making sure it look as attractive as possible. I then wrote up a great post on both craigslist as well as my two Facebook pages. Within 48 hours, I had an offer from some people from Central Oregon for exactly what I thought we could get for the car, about double what the dealership trade in offer was!

Selling a car on Craigslist is not for everyone but if you are looking to maximize what it’s worth, then do your homework and give it a try. If you are not comfortable going through the steps, then ask a friend who is. You can also ask me, the Beaverton Car Guy, and I’ll do my best to help a new friend. Yes, I’m now happy to call Paige friend!larry-fergusen-portrait

Beaverton Readers: if you have a question or need automotive advice please contact me because chances are good that I just may have the answer and if not, then I’ll help you find it.


About the Car Guy: Larry’s specialty is locating cars, even hard to find cars, for everyday folk. He has been in the automotive industry for over 35 years and has several degrees in automotive technology. Email him at or call 503-930-1493