Stop Listing Your Used Car for $1,234 Online

You’re wasting everyone’s time—especially those searching Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for legit bargains.

byLewin Day|
Stop Listing Your Used Car for $1,234 Online

It's lunchtime. You sit down with a sandwich, fire up your browser, and settle in to browse for your next cheap project car. You're in a great mood, only for your compulsive car scrolling to be ruined by ad after ad listed at the same stupid price: $1,234.

It's a common tactic by sellers who think they know what they have, but really, really don't. The idea behind it is simple. They want a big fat payday for their rusty junk, and they don't want to mug themselves by setting the asking price too low. The only problem is that this strategy doesn't work.

For a start, when people look for cars online, price is the number one thing they look for. It's because they only have so much money in their pocket! It doesn't matter whether you favor Craigslist, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace, they all have the same tools to filter by price. This means your ad priced at $1,234 ends up solely in front of people looking for the cheapest cars on the market. People looking for sub-$2000 cars aren't going to make you a big offer. Meanwhile, the people with cash to pay more aren't looking at the sub-$2000 ads.

People listing their car for $1,234 actually want some other, much larger figure, for their vehicle. The problem is that nobody viewing their ad has any idea what secret magic number they're actually dreaming of. Make no mistake, people advertising these cars know what price they really want. But for some misguided reason, they think that obscuring that number will somehow get them much larger offers.

In reality, if you don't advertise the price you want, people are left to guess. At best, you get a bunch of offers well below what you're seeking, This will make you frustrated and angry. More likely, people will just ignore your ad altogether. Why? They have no idea if they can afford your car or not.

Putting up an ad for $1,234 just makes you look like you don't know what you're doing. Nobody wants to buy a car from someone that's going to give them the runaround. People want to do a straightforward deal. They don't want to play guessing games over text messages.

Plus, the price of a used vehicle is dependent on condition. Haggling over a price is thus usually done once the buyer has seen the car in person. Who is going to drag themselves halfway across town to check out a car if they don't have a ballpark price first? Nobody!

If you genuinely want some huge sum for your precious car, just put that price on the damn listing. If someone's willing to pay that, they'll reach out. If not, you can just drop the price later or take the ad down.

"Now wait!" you exclaim. "I'm wrecking a vehicle for parts! I can't list a whole price because I'm selling it piece by piece!" That's fine in my book! Go ahead and throw your ad up in the appropriate "wrecking/for parts" category. Failing that, list it for $1 instead. That gives you your suitable wildcard price while letting busy hooptie-hunters easily filter out your ad from the bottom of the results

If you're listing your car for $1,234, it comes down to two things. You're either not serious about selling, or you're wasting everybody's time. Including yours. Put up a real price or don't bother. Meanwhile, if you're running Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, or whatever? Just start deleting these ads en masse. Thank you kindly.

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