Selling a Home on Craigslist: Dos and Don’ts

home exterior with american flag hanging outside
Photo: iStock

With all the real estate sites out there, why list your home on Craigslist? Simple: You're casting a wider net to an audience that might not otherwise have seen your listing, and the more eyes you get on your place, the greater the odds that it will sell. The key is to stand out from the herd of Craigslist listings in every city with ALLCAPS MISSPELLDED SUPERHYPER! headlines. Follow these tips on getting the most out of this potentially powerful sales weapon:

Do: Emphasize your own role. With professional agents behind many Craigslist real estate ads, an owner selling alone attracts attention on a site that still relies on its grassroots appeal. So make sure to mention that it's 'for sale by owner' if it is. Toying with the idea? Get our tips on how to sell a home without a realtor.

Don't: Go over the top with hype-laden marketing speak (it reeks of desperation).
Good listing: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 1-car garage Victorian.
Bad listing: MUST SEE! PERFECT LOCATION! STUNNING! WON'T LAST!

Do: Keep your fonts and design clean and simple -- don't distract people with fancy ad formatting. The bottom line is, buyers are interested in property information, not the scrollwork around your home photos (in fact, they may get turned off by it).

Don't: Never use broker speak. Avoid words and phrases like "bijou," "location location location," "amenities," and made-up neighborhood names. Why? You'll come off as too slick, which makes potential listing viewers feel like they're not getting a deal. And hello, deals are the reason people come to Craigslist in the first place.

Do: Make sure your house looks its best. You want your listing to be informative, with no-BS, and include a bunch of eye-catching photos. Consider hiring a professional photographer to take snaps of your home during the day (it will photograph better than at night). It may sound like a splurge, but quality pics are the most important part of your listing and will totally pay off.

Nestpert Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster

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