Thinking about using Craigslist to sell your home? Learn the pros and cons and why you may want to consider other options for real estate ads or listings.
Many sellers try to avoid paying the standard 6% realtor commission by selling their homes without an agent. This is commonly known as listing for sale by owner, or FSBO for short.
Two of the most popular listing sites for FSBO sellers are Zillow and, of course, Craigslist.
It’s important to remember that although selling your home Craigslist is free, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
When you list FSBO, you’ll be responsible for every aspect of the home selling process (e.g., pricing, photos, communications, showings, negotiations, paperwork, and more).
You’ll also have to compete with thousands of other local sellers who are likely working with experienced agents and listing on hundreds of other high-visibility real estate sites.
Your best bet for getting a great offer is to work with an experienced, local realtor — and the truth is, when you work with a top agent, the impact they’re typically able to make on the sale price will more than cover the commission they charge.
That said, if commission fees are a concern, Clever negotiates low commission rates with top-rated, full-service agents nationwide to help you save thousands — up to 50% on home selling costs.
> Get in touch to learn more and interview top low-commission agents in your area.
If you’d still like to try your hand at a FSBO listing, go for it! Read on for a step-by-step overview of the process, as well as some key advantages and drawbacks of this particular approach.
How to Sell a House on Craigslist
Getting your house listed on Craigslist in the United States is almost as easy as buying something on Amazon.
The first step is to go to the website and click “create a posting.” After that, just follow the prompts and fill in the information. Just select “real estate — by owner” as the category. You’ll want to be thoughtful about the ad.
Keep reading for tips on how to create the best FSBO listing on Craigslist.
What Makes a Good Craigslist Listing?
There are some important things to include in a Craigslist ad so you have the best chance of selling your house.
First is to write a good description. Include details about your home that make it special and let potential buyers know about any improvements you have made to the property.
Make sure you include all the relevant details about the property in your Craigslist listing buyers want to know. This will save you from answering a ton of questions.
Tell people about the parking and laundry situation, and the yard. Use keywords you think people might search for when looking for a home.
Next, include at least four (or more) quality photos, taken in a good light, and showing different areas of the home.
These photos should be clear, bright, and in focus. Be sure to show both inside and outside areas of the property. The best time to take photos is midday when the sun is not super bright. You want to make sure things don’t look dark but also don’t have a glare.
Another important thing to include in your ad is a way for potential buyers to contact you! Unless you want your phone ringing constantly, the best advice is to include your email address (and not your phone number) in the ad.
This way, people can contact you whenever they want, but you won’t be bothered by midnight phone calls.
Once you create your ad, you will want to renew it as frequently as allowed so it always appears at the top of searches.
Pros of FSBO on Craigslist
One of the biggest reasons that sellers decide to sell their home on Craigslist rather than working with a real estate agent is to save on commission.
On a $300,000 house, the commission can be $15,000 or more. On a $1 million dollar house, the commission could be $50,000! However, it’s important to remember that you’ll only save on listing agent commission this way. Chances are you’ll still be on the hook for the buyer’s agent commission, which is approximately 3% of the final sale price.
Assuming your buyer has a realtor; as the seller, you must offer a buyer’s agent commission for the work the agent does. If the buyer has no agent, you can pay a real estate transaction coordinator to draw up the contracts, but this will still cost some money.
Selling your house on Craigslist also requires less of a commitment. Many realtors require sellers to sign an agreement committing to multiple months. With Craigslist, if you change your mind, you can just delete the ad!
Cons of FSBO on Craigslist
When you list your house for sale on Craigslist, you must do all the work an agent would normally do for you. You have to answer all inquiries, possibly give out your personal phone number, and schedule all showings and host open houses. This can take a lot of time and can be a major inconvenience.
You also won’t have the professional marketing and signage you would get when working with a real estate agent. Many agents can publish homes for sale in local papers, in property databases, on social media, and with their professional networks. Posting on Craigslist won’t get you this much exposure.
Without access to your local MLS, you’re less likely to get qualified home buyers and get into your new home quickly. If you decide to use Craigslist, also consider listing on sites like Zillow and Trulia, which are free, and can increase your exposure beyond the classified ads platform.
The Scam Problem
Craigslist has a scam problem, including fake listings, bogus rental properties, and lies about square footage for home. Whether you’re buying or selling on Craigslist, look out for red flags when you post to classifieds. As long as you’re careful and scope out every deal, you should be safe.
Is There a Better Option than Selling on Craigslist?
Although trying to sell your home on Craigslist will save you from paying listing commission, there is a better way which is almost as cost conscious. It allows you to work with an agent and get all the benefits, but costs far less.
Working with Clever gets you the same full-service experience you want, but with a flat listing fee of $3,000 or 1% for homes over $350,000. Clever Partner Agents are top agents in their local marketplaces and will list, market, and sell your home for the best possible price.
They are there to support you throughout the entire process and are professionally trained to answer all questions and provide the best advice. In many cases, a Partner Agent can sell your home for more than you could by selling FSBO, more than making up for their reduced commission.
If you’re thinking about selling your house on Craigslist but want something better, give Clever a call today to get a premium experience for less and without the hassle of going the FSBO route.
FAQs About Selling a House on Craigslist
1. How do I post a real estate listing on Craigslist?
Step 1. Navigate to your local Craigslist page.
Step 2. After you get there, choose the option, “Post to Classifieds.”
Step 3. Next click, “Housing Offered.”
Step 4. Choose which type of property you’re listing — “for sale by owner” if you’re going it alone, “Real Estate by Broker” if you’re working with an agent.
Step 5. Select the community closest to you.
Step 6. Craigslist will take you to the listing details page — note: all fields in green are required.
Step 7. Enter the required information, include a map, and add up to eight photos of your property.
Step 8. Confirm the ad once Craigslist emails you — and you’re listed!
How much does it cost to sell on Craigslist?
Listing a home on Craigslist is free, as are most Craigslist postings. The only relevant exception is brokered apartment rentals in the NYC area, which cost $10.
How do you successfully sell a home on Craigslist?
There’s no one right answer to successfully selling a home on Craigslist, but it starts with writing a good listing description, keeping your home clean, and having excellent photography. Even if you’re saving money by choosing Craigslist, that doesn’t mean your buyers won’t want an appealing home to walk through. It’s also important to price your home right. Use online tools to get a good estimate and perform your own comparative market analysis to get the best valuation.
One of the many websites that people turn to in terms of selling things is Craigslist. Believe it or not, baubles, bobs, and doo-dads aren’t the only things that can be peddled on the site. In fact, did you know it’s actually a pretty good platform for listing your home for sale? This is especially helpful if you are selling by owner (FSBO).
Why should you list your home on Craigslist? And also, why shouldn’t you? This website is a hub for many buyers, and putting your house on sale in it allows you to cast a wider net to capture potential buyers. The more people you reach, the quicker and easier it will be for you to find a willing buyer to sell your home to. However, this expanded audience could also be troublesome. You never know what kind of people are out there, especially on the Internet and especially on Craigslist. Luckily, we’ve compiled some tips for how you can sell your house quickly and painlessly: on Craigslist of all places!
How to Create a Listing
1. Create a Craigslist Account
This isn’t really necessary, as you can post a listing without an account, but doing so will allow you to edit your post if you have a log-in. To create an account, go to Craigslist.org and click on “my account” in the very top left corner. Then, you’ll want to type your email into the second box labeled “Create an Account”.
Craigslist will then send you an email to confirm your registration. Click the link in the email to create a password. Ta-da! You’re now ready to start posting. On your dashboard, you can view and manage active and inactive postings. You can also sort your posts by date, status, location, etc. It is also here that you can update, modify, and save post drafts.
2. Take great photos.
The photos you include in your listing are what is going to attract buyers most successfully. The pièce de résistance of your marketing game is going to be high resolution, high quality photos of the interior and exterior of your home, as well as descriptive and eye-catching ad copy. Your listing is going to be competing with hundreds of others on Craigslist and beyond, so you’ll want your posting to stand out amongst the rest. Photos will be most important, as those will draw people in, and your ad copy will be the “hook” that grabs them.
When preparing to take photos you can turn to magazines, Pinterest boards, Google image search, etc for inspiration. Make sure you clean your home from top to bottom and stage furniture and decor appropriately. If you really want to take it up a notch, you can hire a professional photographer and/or stager to do this for you, but it’s easy enough to do yourself if you have a phone with a decent quality camera. And if you want to go even above and beyond that, you could take a walkthrough video of your house, so that buyers can get a little tour without actually being physically on-location.
3. Write amazing ad copy.
When considering your ad copy, make sure to focus on trendy features that will catch a buyer’s eye. Things like stainless steel appliances, white kitchen cabinets, a kitchen island, fireplaces, walk-in closets, among many, are some of the most desirable features for the modern homebuyer. Don’t get too caught up in the internal features and ignore external factors either. The amenities of the neighborhood and surrounding area will play a big role in what buyers are looking for. Is your home close to a city but far enough away to avoid the traffic and noise? Is it located in a good school district? Does it have all the basic modern conveniences within reasonable driving distances? These are just a few things to include, if they apply.
4. Create that listing!
Now that you’ve got all of the fixings for a stellar listing, it’s finally time to post it to the site! You’ll want to log in to Craigslist and select the option to post a new ad under the category housing offered. If you have a real estate agent, you’ll want to select the subcategory real estate – by broker. However, if you are doing a for sale by owner (FSBO), you’ll select the one that says real estate – by owner. Even if you are the one posting the listing, potential buyers have to be made aware of the fact that you are working with an agent.
5. Include reliable contact information.
Choose one or two extremely reliable methods of contact for prospective buyers to reach out to you, and ensure that you pay extra close attention to communications coming in following the ad going live. If you are hard to reach, buyers may just give up as it is not worth their time to play phone tag. And only include methods of communication that are most convenient for you. For example, if you only check your email once a week, but always have your phone at your side, don’t include your email address but do include your phone number.
6. Update the ad from time to time.
If you add new details or change anything, this is good because every time you update your listing, it refreshes it to the top of the page. Plus, it’s just good practice to ensure that all of the information you have in the listing is still accurate and up-to-date.
Dos and Don’ts
Here are some general Dos and Dont’s of Craigslist home-selling:
- Selling on your own can be tricky and there are a lot of professional agents selling on Craigslist too. It may sound odd, but emphasize your role as the owner. An owner who sells alone can be attractive to some people on the site, because it’s more of a “grassroots” type of sale in their eyes. So always let your potential buyers know that you are selling your home on your own in your listing by including the phrase “For Sale By Owner”.
- You should keep your fonts and designs clean. No need to distract people with fancy fonts and elaborate formatting. Your focus should be on presenting the information about your property.
- Be straightforward and honest in your description section, and include high definition photos for people to see. Most prospective buyers can sense when someone is being untruthful or shady. Building a repertoire with potential buyers can really do wonders for closing the deal.
- Don’t talk like a real estate broker. Using layman’s term is always a good way to go. This way your potential buyers can easily understand what you mean or have written in your description. Why avoid talking like a broker? Your post will come off as stuffy, impersonal, and perhaps too good to be true. Instead, try to speak as you do in casual everyday conversations.
- Don’t go over the top when it comes to your marketing speech. Avoid using caps locks or hype-laden marketing descriptions. You may risk coming off as scammy and unprofessional.
Pros and Cons of Posting on Craigslist: Is it Worth it?
- One of the main reasons why people post on this website is to save on commissions. Usually if they are going the FSBO route, they won’t have a realtor to market for them, so a great way to get their listing seen is to post on websites like Craigslist. You can also save on commissions if you choose to sell your house this way, but only if you know what you’re doing! (Otherwise, you risk losing money!)
- Real estate agents require sellers to sign an agreement to commit to selling their home. On the other hand, if you sell on Craigslist on your own, you can always delete your listing or ad if ever you change your mind on selling it. No commitments, no hassle.
- The only thing that you need to consider when you post your listing on Craigslist is that you will take all the roles that a real estate agent would have. This means you have to answer all inquiries, calls, and even schedule a house tour or host open houses. It can take a lot of time and may be annoying in the long run especially if you just want to sell the house and get things done.
- You will have to do your own advertising for your property.
- You may get lower quality potential home buyers since you have limited connections and exposure.
- There are also a huge number of scammers on Craigslist. This may include fake listings, bogus rental properties, or simply people who have nothing better to do than to prank others and waste their time. So if you ever decide to post your home in Craigslist, make sure to watch out for red flags and always be on alert when you entertain interested buyers.
Posting your house for sale on Craigslist could be a wonderful way to expand your pool of potential buyers. However, watch out for people who don’t have the best intentions. If you are in doubt about posting there, then work with a good and trusted real estate agent so you can get things done the right (and best) way.