So I posted on Monday about putting Girl Ninja’s car up for sale on Craigslist late Sunday night. Within a few hours I received a phone call from an interested party. We set up an appointment for them to view the vehicle yesterday. Today, I sold her car and signed the title over. It really was that easy. 

I’m convinced the process went as quick as it did for a few reasons.

1) I knew the trade-in-value of Girl Ninja’s car.

2) I knew the Blue Book private party value.

3) I knew what issues potential buyers would have with the car (rear window motor died, scratches, etc).

4) I wrote out details in bullet point form in a CL ad (as opposed to the lame/generic copy and pasting of the vehicles specs most do), including the strong selling points as well as the mechanical or cosmetic issues I was aware of.

5) I had documentation on all service/maintenance performed over the last five years.

6) I wasn’t flexible on price.

7) I was available.

Neither of us got great deals and neither of us got screwed. The car was priced fairly. The buyer asked if I was willing to negotiate price. I made it clear I wasn’t budging and that other people have been inquiring (even though I had no other serious inquiries). He obviously agreed the price was reasonable as he never brought it up again…even after pointing out a few more things that were wrong with the car that I didn’t know about (like the passenger side mirror’s electronic controls apparently don’t work).

So the dealership offered me $5,000 trade in value for Girl Ninja’s car, and less than 48 hours later, I sold it for $3,200 more than that, with virtually no headache involved. This doesn’t make me awesome at Craigslist (remember neither of us walked away with the upper hand), but just goes to show how important knowing the value of your vehicle is.

We are officially a single car family.

I’m kind of excited to be honest. If nothing else, this will prove to be an interesting social experiment on how in sync GN and I really are. We have to be much more intentional about who is going out when and making sure we don’t set up conflicting plans. If we lived in a major city with great public transportation this wouldn’t be too much of a concern, but out in the burbs a car is one’s only way to get around. 

So now it’s time to shift focus towards finding a suitable replacement. We are looking at 2004-2007  Toyota Highlanders, Honda Pilots, and Acura MDX’s between 60K to 80k miles and priced between $15,000 to $17,000. We’d love to buy our next car on Craigslist (after taking it in for an inspection by our mechanic), but unfortunately the inventory is pretty limited when you have very specific models, years, prices, and miles. We’ll keep looking for the next week or two, but chances are we will end up buying from a car broker or used car dealership simply because they have more options. Oh, and in case you are concerned…we will be paying cash regardless of who we buy it from.

p.s. It’s Girl Ninja’s 25th Birthday today, so WISH HER A HAPPY FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAY!

I love the bajeezus out of that girl!



  1. Whoop whoop! That is pretty much the best, most hassle free car selling story I have ever heard! Congrats and Go Cougs!

  2. Good job! Quite envious how that went down, I never thought it would be that easy. Even though you mention it might be difficult having one car, you do fail to mention your work car which makes it easier. Don’t you still have a motorcycle too? This makes me realize how lame we are to be so dependent on our vehicles and gas. Actually it’s a scary thought…

    • Yeah I too was surprised at just how painless it was. I didn’t mention the work car today, for two reasons. I mentioned it in my post on Monday so thought it was common knowledge. And the work car can ONLY be used for work. I have never (and will never) drive my government car for personal use, so for groceries, appointments, socializing, etc, we really are a one car family. (but you’re correct in that we can “afford” to be a one car family for a while since this wont impact our professional lives).

      And I sold the motorcylce a long, long, long time ago….to buy a ring…that Girl Ninja has worn on her finger for the last two years. Man I miss that thing.

      • It might be worth just owning one car to save up more money for a nicer house (investment I call it nowadays to justify buying a monsterous and luxurious house for my wife and I). If your insurance, registration (property tax?), and maintenence is kind of high on your Scion the savings might be worth it? Or is it worth having the luxury of your own car? Just some food for thought 🙂

  3. Great result! When I bought my car off gumtree, I considered getting it checked over by a mechanic, but given that it was a low value car (we bought it to last a year) and that the best deals go fast, we took the risk! Can’t wait to hear what the dealer says when you let them know 😉

  4. CONGRATS NINJA! Awesome job!

    And a BIG OL HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Girl Ninja. Make sure you take good care of her today!!!!

  5. Wow, Good for you! I have never had a transaction on CL go that smoothly, and usually I’m selling something far less complicated than a car!

    Hope you guys are able to find a new to you car soon. At least you know pretty much exactly what you are looking for.

    And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to GN! I’m sure you’ve got something special planned for her! 😉

  6. “And this is what $8,200 looks like in my refrigerator.”

    Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “cold cash.”

  7. You should do a post about the logistics of the transaction. How did transferring the title work? Who did you have to notify/what paper work was there? How would it have gone if he wanted a mechanic to look at it? Etc… I know there is a lot more to it than just taking the cash and tossing some guy the keys.

  8. Congratulations, man!! And seriousy dude, awesome photos at the top. You might consider seeing what $8200 looks like as your roll around in it and laugh like an evil villan! Haha!

  9. That’s awesome that it was so easy!!

    We’re thinking of selling Jordan’s truck right now too.

  10. Glad everything went smooooth for the sale… LOVE the pics! LOL!

    Hubby and I were a one-car family for about 7 years, but our commutes to work are only about 2 1/2 miles from home, and we were always mindful to run plans by the other person when the car was needed… it hurt more in the winter, that’s for sure!

    HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY GIRL NINJA!! Hope you get a chance to post on Ninja’s page soon!!

    • Yes, yes. The bill of sale is attached to the title and tears off for my keeping. But I also provided an additional contract/bill of sale, documenting the vehicles vin, year, make, model, odometer reading, and a statement indicating the vehicle is being sold “as is” and that the seller shall not be held responsible for any future maintenance or service after the date of transfer.

  11. First, Happy Birthday to Girl Ninja!!!

    Second, I would like to know the “logistics” of a car sale via Craigslist, too. It sounds scary to me for some reason, but I know people have had success with it.

    Third, congrats on the sale at the price you wanted. I would half tempted to email the pics of all that money to the car dealer would told you you wouldn’t get that for it 😉

    • The logisitcs were quite simple. So simple they aren’t worthy of a blog post. Here’s how it went down.

      1) Guys calls me to ask questions about car. Then sets up appointment to view.

      2) He comes and looks at car, inspects it, I take him for a drive in it (not letting him drive since he doesn’t own it).

      3) He decides he likes the car and wants to buy it.

      4) I have the title in hand since we own the car outright (if the vehicle is financed or you don’t have title not exactly sure how you go about this step). On the title there are places for me (the seller) to fill out some information like sale price, odometer reading, etc.

      5) I give buyer the title, while keeping a bill of sale for myself (documenting the sale).

      6) I go on Washington State’s DMV website and report the sale of the vehicle (within 5 days) so I am no longer liable for it. If you don’t do this step, and he drives the car and kills someone, I could technically be held partially liable if I don’t transfer ownership of the vehicle by reporting the sale.

      7) I take his money and put it in my refrigerator.

      The only paperwork needed is a bill of sale contract and the Title. It’s really freaking easy.

  12. As a private seller, you should check your state DOT / DMV for a “Vehicle Transfer Notification” that you can file documenting the sale of the car. The form you submit will be registered against your VIN# / License Plate #. That way if the new buyer never properly registers the car, the seller is no longer liable for tolls, tickets, bank robberies, or whatever else the new unregistered owner does with the car.

    • Doh, it looks like you explained that you filed the form at the same time I was recommending it. Anyways, it’s an important thing for any private seller to remember.

  13. I’m hoping you hopped online and filed the report of sale. Just in case the car gets impounded now that it’s out of your control.

  14. Happy Birthday , Girl Ninja!
    I have to say, I never thought I will laugh out loud looking at your pictures, but these were really funny:-)

  15. Happy Birthday, Girl Ninja!

    Hopefully you get a really nice car for you bday!

  16. A belated Happy Birthday to Girl Ninja!

    And NICE work on the car sale! I’ve only had one private car-selling experience and it was almost too easy. When we had to move out of the country for my husband’s job, we had to pay off one car & sell another (the financing companies didn’t want us taking “their” cars out of the country, which I can understand). My boss must have felt sorry for us – we were having a tough time getting interested buyers via the ads we posted – because he just handed me a check and bought our Wrangler. I think it was his way of giving me a parting bonus! We’ve since moved back to the US and are again looking to sell a Wrangler (what can I say, we’re a Jeep family), but there’s no boss to buy the car this time…this round of car selling may be a little more difficult than the last!

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