When buying a car on Craigslist, decide whether you want to buy from a private seller or a dealer, and customize your search accordingly. You can also set search criteria for the price and the exact vehicle name if you know what you want. Carefully evaluate all the offers you encounter based on real stated details and not just buzz words.
Call the seller before going to inspect the car. Find out as many details about the car as possible, ask for more pictures, determine how cooperative and engaged the seller is and how serious he is about selling the car. Try to arrange the meeting in a well-lit place with a lot of witnesses, such as in a parking lot of a store. Before buying the car, make sure to get it inspected by a professional who can objectively evaluate its mechanical condition and its price-quality ratio. If inspecting the car isn't possible, at least take it for a ride yourself. If the seller is against an inspection, it may be a serious warning sign.
Always negotiate the price. Offer the dealer a price that is about 15 to 20 percent lower than the asking price, and you may be able to get a price reduction of about 10 percent. Make sure to negotiate in person.