Knowing how to list your home on Craigslist is a huge advantage for saving money. I’ve sold every property I’ve ever owned on Craigslist and ended up saving thousands of dollars in realtor commission fees by using a discounted realtor to write up the contract for me, each and every time.
The best part about it, I actually enjoy doing the marketing of the home to line up potential buyers, then showing them my property.
Overall, it’s pretty amazing how awesome Craigslist is and how great the results can be. Especially in cities or towns like the SF Bay Area where there is a decent amount of people living with a short supply of homes to buy.
That means there are lots of potential buyers!
If you make a good Craigslist ad with decent photos, you’ll usually get emails from people interested in viewing your home within 1 – 7 days of you posting the ad.
Before You Can Accept an Offer on Your Home, You Need To Decide Between The Following Two Options
First Option: For Sale By Owner (Usually a Nightmare)
If you decide to do a For Sale By Owner and do all the legal paperwork yourself, make sure you check out this article first: Nolo Press FSBO Sell Your Home Guide
In that article, you’ll find out the pros and cons of doing a full For Sale By Owner of your home, without the help of a realtor.
Overall, “For Sale By Owner” Real Estate Deals are a Nightmare For Most People and I Don’t Recommend It!
Second Option: Hire a Realtor For a Discounted Rate (My Recommendation)
I recommend hiring a real estate agent at a discounted rate.
Preferably one you know personally as a friend or family member, etc. You can also get a referral to a realtor who does not mind selling a home where the seller (homeowner) already has a buyer lined up.
My realtor was a family member and was able to help sell my home for a flat 2% commission fee, saving me 4% which equaled an average cash savings of over $20,000 dollars.
This is by far the best approach to saving money when selling your home!
Let’s get into how you can do the same!
First, You Need To Find a Realtor To Work With You At a Discounted Rate
As I mentioned earlier, first you need to contact a realtor you have good relations with, either through someone you know already or a referral.
When you contact the realtor say something like this “I’m planning on lining up a buyer for my home, can you draw up the sales contract for a reduced commission, for an easy sale?”
The magic number for the commission to pay the realtor is 2%, this will more than pay them for the time of putting the sales contract together for you. (Sometimes, a realtor will accept a flat fee as well.)
For your effort of finding a buyer, you save 4% of the 6% commission you’d normally have to pay for selling your home. For a $500k home sale, you could be saving as much as $20,000 dollars!
Next, You Need Good Photos For Your Craigslist Ad
Taking good photos is a requirement when posting an ad on Craigslist for selling your house. You don’t need a fancy camera or anything too high-end. An iPhone or Droid smartphone with a built-in camera will do.
Make sure there is plenty of daylight when you take your photos.
I recommend you take indoor photos at midday when the sun is fully out and can send a lot of light through the home’s windows. For outdoor photos, take them in the morning or late afternoon when there is shade present. Outdoor photos in the shade always come out with the best quality.
Post at least 12 photos of the home with your Craigslist ad (don’t be shy to do more if needed.)
If you need to post more photos than Craigslist supports, try sharing out a link from a photo-sharing site like Flickr or Dropbox instead.
Now, It’s Time To Create The Craigslist Ad
The secret to a good sales ad on Craigslist is to make it exciting and honest. You’d think writing a good Craigslist ad would be easy, but for most people, it’s actually kind of hard. Below we’ll go over an example to help make writing your ad easy.
Home For Sale Craigslist Ad Example
Note: This Craigslist ad is pretty generic because it’s an example. I’m leaving out specific names of schools, parks, neighborhoods, etc. Of course, you’ll want to add those details to your ad. Don’t copy this template word for word either, just use it as an example and make your own original ad for the best results.
[—– Beginning of Sample ad —–]
3 Bedroom 2 Full Bath Home For Sale! [An Open Floor Plan Beauty!]
1800 Sqft. beautiful home in Alamo, Ca. with 10,000 sqft. corner lot!
This dream home is priced to sell! It’s close to all the best elementary, middle, and high schools in the area. Your kids will be able to walk or easily take the bus for getting to school in this safe neighborhood.
Not to mention, this home is located in a very family-friendly community, with lots of outdoor activities frequently happening, especially in the summer. Last summer was full of outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets, and family nights in the nearby park.
This home was recently remodeled and has a whole new kitchen! The bathrooms were also remodeled. The entire house just got a fresh paint job inside and out. Brand new solid oak floors throughout!
The house has an open floor plan that flows. All the closets are spacious. The backyard has a new deck covering and a built-in brick BBQ. It’s a BBQers paradise for 4th of July parties or any family celebration.
All the bedrooms are on the backside of the house so you can have your windows opened safely and without traffic noise.
There are no window coverings or bright colors; this home is a blank canvas ready for you to decorate to your specific tastes.
See the pictures attached to this ad! Seeing is believing! E-Mail or call me at the number below for a private viewing or to be invited to the next upcoming open house this Sunday.
[—– end of sample ad —–]
Optional: Have an Open House To Show Off Your Home For Sale
When listing your home for sale, timing is everything. If you are lucky and list your home in a seller’s market, your ad will more than likely already generate a ton of interested buyers.
You can schedule a private viewing with each prospective buyer separately, or schedule an open house and show every prospective buyer the home during a 3 hour window with no appointment.
If you are selling your home in a buyer’s market, having an open house is pretty much mandatory so you can get the most exposure for showing prospective buyers your home.
In some extreme cases during a real estate market slow down, you might have to hold several open houses.
Hosting an Open House
To host an open house, make sure you update your existing Craigslist ad to provide a date, time, and address for the open house.
You will then want to renew that ad so it shows up high in Craigslist’s search results.
Put out some “Home Open” signs on your street corner as well. You can buy some signs at your local hardware store or on Amazon.
Lastly, make sure your home is clean inside and out, you’ll be having a lot of people walking through so make sure your home looks the best it can be.
When You Get An Offer, Escrow Begins
When you start to receive offers from prospective buyers, it’s time to let your realtor know and they will take care of the rest of the home buying process for you.
Normally during this time, it’s called Escrow.
While your real estate agent is taking care of the paperwork, you’ll still need to be available to meet with your buyer for home inspections and appraisals, etc.
After 30 days, everything should clear and your new buyer will have bought your home, it’s just that easy. And since you found the buyer, you’ll get more money back to you because you paid a discounted percentage in real estate commission fees!
What To Do If You Attract a Buyer With Their Own Real Estate Agent?
If you happen to attract a buyer who already has a realtor, be prepared to pay the buyer’s real estate agent a commission on top of the 2% you are already paying to your real estate agent, for doing the sales contract.
If you do not want to pay the buyer’s realtor fees, then don’t accept their offer and be willing to lose that buyer.
Normally, in a seller’s market, losing an offer from a buyer with a realtor won’t affect you from selling your house. But, in a buyer’s market, that might be the only offer you will get, so in that case, it’s best to pay an additional commission fee to the buyer’s agent.
If you are willing to put a little bit of time and effort into marketing your property yourself, you can usually find a prospective buyer and save some money selling your home.
If Craigslist is not generating a lot of buyers in your local area, you can also try social media sites like Facebook or NextDoor. The process I’ve described here will work just the same for social media.
I hope you got something out of this article about selling your home through Craigslist.
Remember, if you are not comfortable doing this yourself, or just not having any luck finding an interested buyer in your home, you might be better off just hiring a realtor to do the job for you. You’ll pay the full commission for selling your home, but you’ll also be off the hook for doing any of the marketing and other work, etc.