Can Craigslist Sell Your Home?

by Joe Marhamati

The internet continues to play an increasing role in the home buying and selling process, with growing opportunities for online property searching, mortgage shopping, and other resources for the web savvy. But despite these new tools, some home sellers are still using a free and well-known portal to get the word out about their property: Craigslist.

The real estate section on Craigslist allows sellers to post their homes for free with up to four photos, as well as a description of the property in the same way landlords present properties to prospective renters. A map link and in some cases specialized borders and custom graphics can be inserted into the posting.

With Craigslist growing in popularity among the do-it-yourself real estate crowd as well as tech-savvy agents and commercial property owners, the art of the transaction may be moving more toward its aboriginal past than its Web 3.0 future. In order to find out if the community bulletin board is a sufficient tool by itself to sell a home, UrbanTurf talked to a two sellers that used it, and it alone.

David Slenk is using Craigslist to advertise his 800 square-foot townhouse that is close to RFK Stadium in Northeast. It has been advertised for about a month, and so far he’s received several phone calls and emails from interested parties. Slenk has also used Owners.com and Facebook Marketplace, but has gotten the best results from Craigslist.

Slenk says that the advantage of Craigslist is its “ubiquitous nature” in that, like Google and Facebook, the site is well known and is still the place on the internet for online classifieds. Though he’s optimistic, he is hoping for more interest and ultimately an offer, proof that Craigslist is reaching a wide enough audience for him to sell his home.

“It’s a payoff – a free, easy listing that will be seen by a decent number of people, in my book, is better than paying an exorbitant fee to someone who may or may not really influence the sale of the house,” Slenk told UrbanTurf.

Can Craigslist Sell Your Home?: Figure 1
Craigslist advertisement for DC home for sale

Scott Kelman had a similar motive in using Craigslist. He listed his renovated West End condo on Craigslist for about $500,000, and received interest from a few prospective buyers and agents. He considered some services that post MLS listings for FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sellers, but the $1,000+ prices were too expensive for him, and he had difficulty determining which site was reliable. His skepticism that non-MLS listings would generate the level of buzz needed to sell his home was compounded by the fact that some agents are refusing to show their clients properties that are FSBO.

In the end, Kelman ended up finding a tenant for his place through Craigslist rather than a buyer, but he has hope for Craigslist as a way for sellers to advertise homes, even if the technological options to display a property aren’t as advanced as the popular online listing services.

“I am hoping that MLS services develop in the coming years so that they become an alternative to the high costs of hiring an agent and the moderate exposure of Craigslist.”

Based on these two experiences, it doesn’t sound like Craigslist is the perfect marketing tool for home sellers looking to do it on their own. However, while sellers are likely to find that Craigslist may not drive the kind of traffic and interest to their home that traditional marketing methods do, if they’re not in a hurry to sell and want to use one of the internet’s premier local bulletin boards, there’s surely nothing to lose.

See other articles related to: selling your home, for sale by owner, craigslist

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/can_craigslist_sell_your_home/2353

1 Comment

  1. ocie gibson said at 3:57 pm on Sunday October 14, 2012:
    I understand exactly how you guys feel I buy houses for cash in Maryland dc and virgina and I had my 1st Craigslist Success Story. After answering ads on Craigslist to find out some were fake. Read my full story don't give up hope i guess Craigslist does work. http://housebuyingnetwork.info/cash/cash-home-buyers/craigslist-we-buy-houses-ads-a-cragislist-success-story/

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