Craigslist car flipping

Have you ever scrolled through the car section on Craigslist? You’ll find a lot of cars that aren’t worth going to see, but you’ll also find some cars that have good car flipping credentials.

If you search through other car related categories on Craigslist you’ll also find tons more car related stuff. It’s this wide range of cars and other automotive stuff that creates such a good opportunity for someone looking to flip cars. Let me give you an example of the kinds of steals you can find.

Last year, I found this Ford Ka for sale on Craigslist. The car was poorly photographed and the advert didn’t mentioned the mileage or year. But it was described as being in good condition and I liked the look of the price. So I called the seller and asked for more details. It turned out the car had low mileage and good history, so I arranged to view it. It was actually in really good shape, I got the owner down a bit on the asking price and decided to buy it.

The car just needed a good clean and I photographed it in proper light at a good location. I then waited a few days and reposted it. Within a couple hours I had some texts and a call asking to hold the car. The next day the car was sold, and after a little negotiation I made a tidy profit.

You don’t find deals like that every day. But there are good deals to be found if you spend the time and learn what to look for.

So here’s what you need to do to flip a car on Craigslist.

Which cars should you flip on Craigslist?

Firstly you need to find a car to flip. The best way to do this is to spend a little time scouring Craigslist every day until you have an idea of what you want to buy. You can flip any kind of car but we always advice sticking to small cars with low running costs and insurance, normally retailing between two and three thousand pounds or dollars. The kind of car that would appeal to a first time driver, senior driver or someone looking for good reliable transport. This type of car is usually easy to appraise, so if you do miss something you shouldn’t get any big scary bills. These cars also are generally fast sellers and you can make good profit.​ ​

Ideal your Craigslist flip should have:

  • ​​Low running and insurance costs – Buyers looking for car for town or city use are normally looking for car that aren’t going to cost a fortune to run or maintain so bigger engines are a big no.
  • An exterior colour in either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver – We would always advice sticking to traditional colours whether you are an experienced trader or not. With darker colours and silver being among the obvious choices.
  • In the appropriate trim level and interior colour – The same advice applies to the interior colour choice. Stick to dark colours and avoid cars with excessive ware and tear.
  • An automatic gearbox – Automatic gearboxes have never been so good and are ideally suited to urban environments. So most city drivers will be looking for an automatic at this price point. But be sure to make sure the gearbox is working correctly and walkaway if you aren’t 100% confident the box is issue free.
  • It should be Petrol powered – Generally petrol engines suit smaller cars and city driving better and are cheaper to fix and diagnose than a diesel engined car. It’s also worth considering potential environmental charges for city cars in your local area.
  • Low mileage – Mileage is always important and in most cases the lower the mileage the better. Lots of city cars are used sparingly, so you need to look for lower mileage cars as most buyer won’t except ”motorway mileage” cars.
  • Have full service history – Having a solid service history is important for any car. So make sure the car has a good history. If a car is low mileage make sure the last owner has had the and belt services done to schedule. In some cases owner skip cam belt and gearbox services due to low mileage. But you will find it harder to sell if the works not been carried out to schedule.
  • ​No major bodywork – Bodywork is expensive to rectify and any large panel damage should be avoided, it’s also time consuming and can add time to the flipping process. But city cars often come with bumper and alloy wheel scuffs which are normally easy and inexpensive to repair.
  • HPI clear – Always make sure a car is free of outstanding finance. NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!

Remember even if the item is a good deal there is aways a little room for movement on Craigslist. So you can probably get an even better deal. 

How to value a car you plan to sell on Craigslist

Once you’ve found a car that you think you can flip, Research the values of similar cars. You can search on Autotrader or use a car buyers guide to figure out a retail value. If the retail pice is much higher than the posted price, then you may have found your car. We cover how to value a car in great detail here – How to value a car you plan to sell (with tips).

The next step is always necessary and is to add value to your new car. This can be as simple as having giving it a professional valet or carrying out simple smart repairs, both can add huge value for very little outlay. We have written an article on how to add value to a car and you can find it here – 16 ways to increase your cars value.

As we’ve mentioned above good photographs can go really help increasing a cars worth. Find out photograph guide here – How to photograph a car with a smartphone.

When you flip is ready the only thing left to do is to post it on back on Craigslist.

When selling on Craigslist, you should always expect people to try to negotiate. So set you price on the high end of what you think it’s worth, so you car drop the price when negotiating. It’s best to have a minimum price in your head before you start negotiating. You may have to post a car a few times before it will sell, just remember to price it sensibly, it will eventually sell.

All that is left is left to do is the paperwork and we have covered everything you nee to know in a separate article you can find here – ​How to transfer ownership of a car.


Craigslist flipping can bring in a lot of money for not too much work, which makes in a great way of making extra money but you can also build a successful business this way. You can also used Craigslist to sell other services like car valeting or parts. You can also use this strategy to great effect on other classified sites and on Facebook.

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