Craigslist is the go-to website for selling old furniture, finding a new roommate or giving away kittens. What many people don't realize is that Craigslist can also serve as an excellent marketing tool for your home. More than one billion people have posted real estate ads on the site since its inception in 1995 and, with roughly 50 million visitors per month, a Craigslist ad is all but guaranteed to stir up some interest in your property. Not only are Craigslist ads free, you don't need high-tech computer skills to set up an ad and sell your home.
Visit Craigslist.com and select your state and region. This ensures that local buyers see your ad. Choose the option to set up a new account if you don't already have one. Fill in your email address and the verification word. Craigslist will then send you a verification email. Once you verify your email address, you can begin posting ads.
Take a few flattering photographs of your house. Make sure that each area you photograph is clean and well-lit. If the home you are photographing is empty, consider bringing in a piece of furniture to give potential buyers a sense of scale. Take photos of each room and the front and back of the house, if possible. Craigslist does not limit the number of photos you can use within your ad, and the more of your house a potential buyer sees, the better.
Log in to Craigslist. Select the option to post a new ad. Choose the category “housing offered.” If you are selling your home yourself, select the subcategory “real estate - by owner.” If you are working with a real estate agent, select the subcategory “real estate - by broker.” Although your real estate agent isn't the one posting the ad, potential buyers must be aware that you are working with a broker. If you categorize your ad incorrectly it may get flagged and subsequently removed.
Title your post. Your title is important because it determines whether or not a potential buyer opens your ad. Include pertinent information about your house, such as its location, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has and the price. This targets the people who are actually in the market for a home in the same location and within the same price range. Keep your post title short, as Craigslist limits your title to 68 characters.
Type up your ad. Make sure to include all the basic information that potential buyers want to know, such as the home's square footage, location and price. Include as many additional positive features as you wish. For example, if your home has walk-in closets, new appliances or is zoned into the city's best school district, note these facts in your ad. Don't forget to include your or your agent's contact information so that prospective buyers can schedule a viewing.
Upload your photos to your computer. Review your photos and dispose of any images that are blurry, show glare or are simply unflattering. Upload the remaining photos to a website that offers free photo hosting. You can post your photos on Craigslist, but Craigslist won't host them. Most popular photo hosting sites provide you with an html code that lets you post your images elsewhere. This makes including them in your ad as simple as copying and pasting the host site's image code for each photo into your Craigslist post.
Select the option to preview your ad. Previewing your ad lets you review the ad's content and layout before it goes public. If you are unsatisfied with your ad's appearance, select the “edit” option and make the necessary changes. Once you are satisfied with your ad, select “post” to post your ad to Craigslist.
When taking outdoor photos, make sure the sun is behind you to prevent the sun's glare from marring your images.
Don't worry if you notice problems with your ad after you post it. You can go back and edit your ad at any time.
Craigslist ads expire after a certain amount of time, depending on where you live. You can opt to renew your ad before it expires to keep it near the top of the search results and increase its visibility.
Although Craiglist provides you with an excellent way to find local buyers for your home, it can also leave you vulnerable to criminal activity. Schedule viewings for a time when a friend or family member will be present to reduce your odds of becoming a crime victim.
- AOL Real Estate: Selling Your Home on Craigslist – Trickier Than You Think
- My Craigslist Advisor: Setting Up an Account
- MSN Real Estate: The Best Shot – A Photography Lesson for Home Sellers
- CharlotteObserver.com: 10 Easy Tips for Writing an Effective Real Estate Ad
- Charlotte Website Development: How to Post a Picture or Image on Craigslist
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images