Craigslist is an Internet phenomenon that brings millions of people to its local pages to peruse the latest deals. For the enterprising home seller, listing their home on Craigslist may mean that they get more potential buyers looking at the property. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but sellers beware, Craigslist isn’t a miracle working home selling device. Without the aid of a professional agent, your home may just join the rest of the discarded listings.
The problem with sites that claim that you can sell your home through Craigslist “without the help of an agent!” is that they don’t take into consideration the many details that are involved with real estate transactions. It may be easy to find a buyer for your property via Craigslist, but negotiating a home sale is a different situation. Many home buyers are not equipped to deal with the minutiae of a home sale while they’re trying to juggle a job, family and other commitments. Also, an agent has more contacts in the real estate world than the average mortal and can connect a seller with a buyer very quickly using them.
Will Craigslist supplant the MLS? It’s not likely. Craigslist has only a limited search capability – number of beds & baths and specific keyword searches. The keywords aren’t that useful for finding one’s dream home, either. Also, one has to wade through incorrectly classified ads and ads that are purposefully placed in the “real estate” category to get leads for buyers. Craigslist’s search parameters are not to be compared to the MLS’ more comprehensive searches and filters.
Craigslist is, admittedly, wildly popular and many people use it. Should you? As a part of a campaign that involves the MLS and other advertising, Craigslist can be very effective. Good photos, a comprehensive description and a link to the MLS or agent’s page are a must. The Craigslist post should contain words to the effect of “For more information, go to this link…” If there are fancy things like virtual walkthroughs on the agent’s page, those should be mentioned as well.
Craigslist is a great place for selling your old furniture and other belongings, but as the sole medium of advertising a home for sale, it falls short. It’s best used in conjunction with the services of a competent agent as an additional form of advertising instead of the only advertising. Good pictures and clear copy can help people searching for their perfect home narrow it down to yours.