7 min read Jun 12, 2022

How to Sell a House on Craigslist?

how to sell a house on craigslist

Craigslist is a free classified ads website, where one can advertise anything they want, from jobs and services to housing.

It’s quite easy to list your house for sale on Craigslist without having to pay anything, but it is important to note that Craigslist is nowhere near as effective as MLS, which is exclusively available for listing properties for sale.

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What Is Craigslist?

Craigslist started out as an email distribution list about local events in San Fransico Bay area founded by Craig Newmark. Later in 1996, Craigslist became a web-based service, adding various classified categories, including housing.

Although the website today appears quite primitive, it still draws traffic of almost 55 million monthly visitors worldwide.

Where Does Craigslist Operate?

Craigslist was incorporated in 1999 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. After incorporation, the services expanded to the whole of the USA as well as some parts of Canada.

    👉 Did You Know? Today, Craigslist serves in almost 570 cities in 70 countries around the world.

Real Estate On Craigslist

Craigslist has a separate section dedicated to all the housing and real estate listings. For instance, this section covers subletting, rentals, commercial spaces, real estate for sale, and more.

When you add the listing for your home, it appears under the ‘real estate for sale’ section under ‘housing’ in your local area.

Further, if you want to check out what buyers in your area are looking for, the ‘housing wanted’ section helps you out.

    ✍️ Pro Tip: In order to tailor your Craigslist real estate post as per buyers’ requirements, sellers should check out ‘housing wanted’ section before making a listing.

How to advertise real estate on Craigslist?

A step-by-step guide to listing your home on Craigslist

Sr. No.
Instructions
1.Enter ‘Craigslist’ in your search engine and enter the website. Select your location.
2.Click on ‘create a posting’ visible in the left hand side corner of the screen.
3.You may have to select the specific location of your home in the city in some cases. After doing that, select the ‘housing offered’ option.
4.The next step is selecting the type of advertisement you’ll be advertising. Select ‘real estate - by owner’ in this section.
5.Next, you’ll be directed to a page where you will have to fill in all the details like the title for your ad, the details about your home, zip code, apartment type, description, etc. as well as the offer price of the property. After you have filled in all the correct details, click on ‘continue’.
6.In the next step, Craigslist will locate your home on a map. Select the proper location. If you have not provided the exact location, the approximate area under the zip code will be selected. Click on ‘Continue’ to advance into the next step.
7.You’ll be directed to upload images of your listing. The first image you upload will be the featured image. The maximum limit for pictures on Craigslist is 24. After uploading sufficient images, continue to by clicking on ‘done with images’.
8.Lastly, you will be shown a draft of your advertisement. At this step, you can edit anything you want and rewrite things which appear unsatisfactory from a buyer’s perspective. Once you're content with your ad, click on ‘Publish’.
9.Be sure to verify the link sent via email for your real estate posting to upload on Craigslist.

Create An Attractive Craigslist Real Estate Advertisement

Title & Description

This is the first thing a buyer sees when you’re selling real estate on Craigslist. In order to attract their attention, you should ensure that your title is catchy by using ALL CAPS for important words and phrases. Also, don’t forget to mention the type of accommodation your listing provides, eg. a condo or an apartment. 

Lastly, make the description precise, brief, and to the point. Prioritize mentioning any special features which your house has, like HVAC system, kitchen cabinets, etc. Also, it is essential to mention how many rooms, balconies, yards, parking, or other attachments your house has.

    ✍️ Pro Tip: Using fancy adjectives like luxurious, exquisite, magnificent, etc., may grab the attention of a prospective buyer.

Uploading the right images

Just like listing on MLS, selling a home on Craigslist also requires good quality pictures to attract buyers. With this in mind, upload pictures that are high quality and have bright lighting, and highlight the best aspects of your home.

📝 Note: Craigslist has a limit of 24 pictures, so use them wisely.

Reposting your ad to keep it at the top

Ads on Craigslist normally last for 45 days. Further, as ads are presented in a chronological manner, your post for sale on Craigslist may fall down under search results after a few days.

In order to keep up your listing on the top, you can delete and repost your advertisement every few days.

Downsides Of Listing On Craigslist:

🚫 Not An Ideal Option For Genuine Home Sale

To begin with, if you are going for an FSBO sale through Craigslist, you lack the connections to reach qualified, interested and willing buyers. You will also have to deal personally with people who may not even be interested in the property or could be scammers. 

    🚩 Beware: Selling your home on Craigslist entails you’ll go through the entire sale process alone, without any guidance from a realtor. Making any mistakes in the already complex process will cost you later on.

⚠️ Unqualified Buyers and Bargain Hunters

Listing your home on Craigslist also invites unqualified buyers or bargain hunters, who make lowball offers for your home. In fact, dealing with this may become a headache if it happens too often.

☠️ Scammers and Pranksters

Craigslist is infamous for being a playground for scammers. It may be useful for selling your bicycle, but definitely not your house.

Many people who list their homes on Craigslist start to get unsolicited calls from scammers posing as buyers and even pranksters. So, selling your home on Craigslist comes with all of this nuisance, hindering your selling process.

Most Common Scams On Craigslist Real Estate

Here are some of the most common scams people have faced while trying to sell their house on Craigslist:

😈 Identity Theft & Selling Your Home

Evidently, sellers have experienced calls from people claiming that they have paid the deposit or earnest money for the property, expecting to buy it. For instance, uploading personal data like contact numbers and emails on Craigslist can backfire on the seller, as these details are seen by everyone.

Basically, sellers become susceptible to identity theft, or sometimes scammers pose themselves as owners or middlemen to accept earnest money from prospective buyers, unbeknownst to the seller. After they get the money, they disappear and the seller has to deal with the displeased buyers.

⚠️ Identity Theft & Renting Your Home

Sometimes, instead of proposing to sell your property, scammers rent out your property to unsuspecting buyers. Soon after getting a deposit and rent for one or two months, these fraud dealers disappear.

Surprisingly, there have been cases where people have arrived at the doorstep of the landlord, only to know that the property was never available for rent.

🙅 Illegitimate Escrow Company Scam

In order to assure the seller, many buyers use an escrow company to protect their funds.

Although this deal may appear harmless, several times, these escrow companies are not legitimate. Such websites neither protect any funds nor do they protect your data. Basically, any personal financial details you may add could be used to dupe you.

👮 Robbing The Owner During a Showing

Surprisingly, there have been cases where unsolicited buyers visiting for a showing have robbed or assaulted the seller.

The risk of attracting unqualified, criminal, or malicious buyers is high on Craigslist, compared to more credible websites. This can actually be more sinister in the event that a fraudulent buyer harms you or your property and doesn’t just steal some belongings.

💸 Overpaying a Deposit

In these cases, the buyer shows proof that they have sent you the earnest money deposit through the cashier’s check, but “accidentally” overpaid it.

Soon after, they ask you to transfer the overpaid amount back to them. You may feel convinced and send them their money back in good faith, but when you pay them, their check bounces, resulting in your loss.

☠️ Want To Avoid Getting Scammed?



Houzeo’s 4 step ID Verification process protects all home sellers from scammers and unqualified buyers.


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How Does Houzeo’s 4 Step ID Verification Protect Home Sellers?

All the buyers and buyer agents registering on the Houzeo app are required to go through a 4 step verification process:

  • Email ID verification
  • Phone number verification
  • Government-issued photograph ID verification (manual verification)
  • Selfie verification (manual verification)

Once a buyer has completed all these steps, their profile shows up as ‘ID Verified’ to the seller, guaranteeing their authenticity.

While the first 2 steps are mandatory, completing all 4 steps gives the buyers more credibility and a better chance of hearing back from the seller.

Here’s a visual representation of the ID verification process on the Houzeo App:

How To Sell A House On Craigslist Safely?

Protecting yourself from unwanted, uninterested, and unsolicited buyers is a big concern while selling your home on Craigslist.

🚩 There are several red flags one needs to look out for while going through offers from Craigslist users who:

  • refrain from giving any data about themselves, or giving unreliable information. 
  • offer cashier’s checks or money orders
  • ask for personal financial information, like bank accounts, PayPal details, etc.
  • spam you with emails from fishy-looking email addresses, or call you from unknown international numbers.
  • provide unnecessary links in their mails. Do not click on those links, as they could be phishing emails.
  • insist on hiring an online escrow company. Most online escrow sites are operated by scammers.

» More:  Identifying and avoiding scams on Craigslist

When Should You Consider Selling Your Home On Craigslist (Without A Realtor)?

All things considered, Craigslist is not the ideal website if one wishes to make a smooth and profitable sale. For the most part, people start to get calls from unwanted buyers and scammers after listing their homes on Craigslist. Hence, trying to sell your house on Craigslist becomes more of a hassle than it needs to be.

Except there are some cases, where Craigslist might serve your needs for free, rather than spending any money on commission.

Here’s where Craigslist might be useful:
Distressed homesIf you are selling a home on Craigslist which needs some serious repairs or expensive renovations, there are several investors on Craigslist who hunt such properties. If grabbing their attention is your motive, then Craigslist just might be the best place to do it!

E.g. A house that is infested by pests comes under this list. One may want to get their hands off such property, as pest control can cost almost $3000! 
Selling your house as isSelling a house ‘as is’ means that the buyer gets the house in its existing condition. Occasionally, making renovations or repairs can take a lot of time and money. If one needs to make a speedy sale, then renovations and repairs might become a hindrance.

When selling a house as is on Craigslist, specify the condition your home is in with whatever repairs it needs. For instance, several cash companies and house flippers scour websites like Craigslist looking For Sale By Owner homes. To attract their attention, Craigslist serves as a free and quick means to an end.

» More: Selling A House As Is: A Step-By-Step Guide for Home Sellers
Making a quick sale without profitMost people looking for properties on Craigslist are there to make a cheap bargain. Also, Craigslist also has a pool of investors who help you take your home off the market quickly.

By comparison, they pay you well under the market rate, excluding the costs that would go into repairs. So, if profit is not what you’re going after, Craigslist is a good option for selling your home on Craigslist quickly.
You’re an experienced sellerIf you already have a few home selling experiences under your belt and are familiar with all the know-how of transferring real estate, then Craigslist serves as a wide platform for advertising your home. 

» More: Creative Ways To Market Your House
Marketing your home to a larger audienceCraigslist also serves as a great platform for marketing your house to more potential buyers after you have already listed your home on MLS.

In fact, there are several buyer agents who search for properties on Craigslist. Also, many buyers who are looking for houses without a realtor also turn to Craigslist in search of homes. 

Best Alternative To Selling Home On Craigslist

To conclude, if you do not fall under any of the above categories and wish to make a hassle-free, genuine and profitable sale of your home, there are several alternatives. Not only do they help take a lot of burden off your shoulders, but also make you profits in the process. 

Here is the pocket-friendly alternative for you to consider instead of selling your home on Craigslist:

🔥 BEST FLAT FEE MLS LISTING SERVICE

Houzeo.com

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  • Listing Fee: $249 to $399
  • Available nationwide
  • Listings featured on Houzeo App

Houzeo is America’s #1 Flat Fee MLS listing service.

💰 Save Thousands on Commission: Houzeo’s plans are typically a small flat fee. This will save you thousands. If your buyer is unrepresented, you save the buyer agent commission as well.

📣 Maximum Exposure: Listings get syndicated to the MLS, Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, Trulia, and hundreds of other websites. Houzeo also has nifty social media sharing tools. No other platform gives you this much exposure.

Fast Listing & Changes: Houzeo is 100% online. Listing is easy and changes are fast. So you can focus on what is most important – your sale.

⭐ 5-Star Customer Support: Home sellers across America have rated Houzeo 4.9 out of 5 stars on major review sites like Google and Trustpilot. There is comfort in the fact that when you call, there is a live person picking up the phone on the other line.

📱 Cutting-edge Technology: Houzeo is the most powerful real estate website. Its advanced features include:

  • IntelliList Listing Management System: Lets you manage your listing 100% online.
  • Houzeo Showings: Manage showing appointments online.
  • Houzeo Offers: All offers are summarized online. You can view and compare offers, or counter an offer. In a multiple-offer situation, you can also call for highest and best offers.
  • Buyer Search: Buyers can contact you directly on Houzeo.com instead of going through a real estate agent.
  • Houzeo Settlement Agent Platform: Guides you to your closing.

No other low cost real estate listing website comes close to offering such features.

👉 Our Take: Houzeo.com is our top pick because it delivers an unbeatable combination of savings, tech features, and service of any flat fee MLS listing service website we’ve reviewed.

»SAVE: Start your free listing on Houzeo.com today!

  • Nationwide coverage
  • Listings get syndicated to Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Redfin, and 100s of other sites
  • Quick listing (within a day with concierge)
  • Savings on commissions
  • 100% online – easy listing, fast changes, online showings, and online offers
  • Mobile app availability

Houzeo has a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Google & Trustpilot.

Houzeo is available nationwide.

Other Alternatives:

FSBO WebsitesSeveral For Sale By Owner websites e.g. Zillow, Fizber, FSBO.com, etc. let you list and advertise your home in exchange for some listing fee. Their plans usually vary with additional services.

More: 11 Best FSBO Websites
We Buy Houses CompaniesThe best option to sell a home that is in a state of disrepair or distressed is We Buy Houses Companies, which pay for your homes in cash.
Although these companies pay much less than the ongoing market value, they are a good option for a quick sale of a distressed home.

More: We Buy Houses Reviews
Discount BrokersFull-service Discount Brokers charge comparatively lower than an average listing agent, about 0.5-2% of the total sale price of the house. 

More: Top Discount Real Estate Brokers & Companies
iBuyersAlso known as instant buyers, these companies buy your home for cash.
Although selling to iBuyers is a quick transaction, there are several criteria that these companies check before they buy your home. If you fail to pass those, they won’t buy your home.

More: iBuyers Reviews

Why Should You Consider Selling Your Home On Craigslist?

Free of cost: It’s free! Most of the FSBO sellers who opt to advertise on Craigslist do it to save up on the agent’s commission. Further, a post for sale on Craigslist does not cost you any money, unlike with an agent or a broker. 

Zero Commitment: You upload a Craigslist real estate ad within minutes and amend or take down the listing any time you feel like it. With agents, this commitment becomes complex as you have to sign a listing agreement, making you liable to the broker for a few months. Also, you get charged for making any changes to your listing.

Good for homes in bad condition: Dilapidated, distressed, or houses that are in a state of disrepair need a buyer who is open to buying such a place. Nevertheless, Craigslist is a great platform for these houses, as several cash buyers, investors, and house flipper companies keep a track of such posts for sale on Craigslist. 

Huge Traffic: According to Similarweb, Craigslist is the most visited classified website in the USA. Having your listing live on Craigslist may not help you sell your house, but it will definitely help you reach a wider audience.

Is Craigslist Effective?

To summarize, for certain types of homes Craigslist might serve as an easy, quick, and cheap way to sell your house. 

But for homes that are perfectly habitable with various amenities, Craigslist is not the ideal site to bring in interested buyers or a good bargain.

Most times, serious home buyers do not go on Craigslist to look for properties. Rather they opt for agents or FSBO websites where there’s more credibility and lesser scammers. 

Selling your property in the US can cost you up to 6% commission from the selling price, which goes into agents’ pockets. In reality, it is quite easy to sell your property yourself, using the high-tech tools provided by Houzeo. These tools help you with your real estate process, organizing everything from listing to legal paperwork and showings. Plus, you get to keep the listing agent’s commission all to yourself!

🏡 You Don’t Need A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your House



You know your house better than anyone else! Houzeo is here to make your job quick, easy and hassle free by bringing you the best of real estate technology.


START YOUR MLS LISTING NOW

Houzeo is a Flat-Fee MLS platform for people who are looking to sell their property, including homes and land. For a one-time charge, you get to list your property on the MLS and give it maximum exposure.

The comprehensive paperwork that comes with listing a property has been intuitively digitized, and you can finish all listing formalities in under 60 minutes. If you feel lost or need additional assistance during the process, you can check in with our 5-Star Customer Support team. Plus, your listing reaches more credible and qualified buyers.

Eager to Know How Houzeo Works?

We’ve got you covered. Check out the following video to understand how Houzeo works and why it is the best FSBO and Flat Fee MLS platform in the United States.

What is Houzeo?

An overview of what the platform is all about

Start Your MLS Listing NOW!

» NEED MORE CLARITY? Read these exclusive Houzeo reviews and learn why the platform is the best in America’s competitive housing market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I advertise on Craigslist?

After opening the Craigslist website, click on 'create a posting' in the top left corner and follow the steps.

Does it cost money to advertise on Craigslist?

Advertising on Craigslist is free of cost, but there are a few exceptions like job listings in certain areas where you'll have to pay $25 to list.

How long do Craigslist ads stay up?

In most places, Craigslist ads stay up for 45 days. Paid ads stay up for 30 days. Ads for certain events stay up until the date of the event.

How effective is Craigslist for real estate?

The sale of real estate in the USA goes through several complicated procedures, which need expertise. Hence, Craigslist is not a reliable platform when it comes to the sale of real estate.

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