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I've been involved in buying several vehicles off craigslist in the last three or four years.

A few tips.

Know what the market is. You can send an email to sellers with cars in your price range a week or so after they are listed. If the cars are still for sale, you'll probably get a quick reply. If they are not, you'll either not hear back at all or get a response that the car is gone. Fairly priced cars sell quickly. Once you have an idea what sort of car your budget will buy, you will be a better informed consumer.

Be prepared to act quickly. If you want an inspection, have a place lined up. Have your money readily available. I helped my stepson buy a used Altima three years or so ago. It was listed mid-afternoon, we looked at it late afternoon, and paid for it the next day. The seller, who seemed to be a pretty credible guy, claimed to have gotten several phone calls that evening. I bought a Honda Civic about two and a half years ago. We closed the deal about 24 hours after the car was listed. The seller, again a credible seeming guy, said plainly that he he had received multiple inquiries that day and that he wasn't interested in negotiation.

Finally, recognize your role in this. I helped raise two stepsons, and it took me a while to figure out what was worth getting wound up for. Some things are just losers. If your soon to be husband wants to buy his kid a sports car, it might just be best to go for a pedicure or whatever you do when it rains on parade.
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