Should you sell your house on Craigslist?

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Homeowners who want to sell their house without a realtor have few options for listing their home. They can try an open listing agreement, a flat fee MLS company, or list their home on an alternative site, like Craigslist.

Selling your house on Craigslist may be right for you if you want to avoid working with a Realtor and paying commission. However, this method has some caveats, so it’s best to understand those sacrifices before clicking publish.

Craigslist homes for sale — are they legit?

Craigslist is a popular venue for people to find roommates, renters, and even homes for sale. However, not all posts on Craigslist are created equal.

Compared to the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), a database created and maintained by licensed real estate professionals, Craigslist falls short. The MLS is subject to strict guidelines, and misusing or abusing it — like posting a fraudulent listing — can result in a formal warning, fee, or even termination of MLS privileges for real estate agents (Not to mention irreparable damage to their career). That means there is an incentive for agents to maintain the highest standards for their listings.

Craigslist cannot offer the same oversight because real estate professionals don’t run it. Therefore, buyers may observe your post with a healthy skepticism or even suspicion. As the seller, the burden will be on you to prove to buyers that your property listing is legitimate.

Cons of Craigslist homes for sale by owner (FSBO)

In addition to proving the listing is legitimate, sellers who choose to sell on Craigslist are up against the following barriers to making top-dollar on their home sale:

Limited buyer pool

The most popular listing sites pull homes for sale from the MLS. Because they aren’t a part of the MLS, Craigslist houses aren’t pulled onto these popular (and highly trafficked) sites. That can mean substantially fewer buyers, and fewer opportunities to incite bidding wars.

Vetting buyers

Most real estate agents vet house hunters before taking them on as clients to ensure they’re ready to buy a home and aren’t just window shopping. As the sole representative for your home, you’ll have to ensure that the buyers you invite in for showings are qualified, serious buyers.

Weeding out scammers

Unfortunately, Craigslist scams are not uncommon on the platform — be mindful that you don’t get caught in a scammer’s snare. Carefully vet each interaction and follow these tips from Craigslist to avoid scams.

Offers under asking price

Craigslist is an unconventional route for homebuying and selling and often attracts buyers and sellers looking to save money. As such, you can expect lowball offers from buyers hoping that they will be able to find a deal by avoiding a traditional real estate transaction.

Pros of Craigslist homes for sale by owner (FSBO)

With those caveats in mind, selling your home on Craigslist also comes with these notable advantages:

Total control

When you sell your home on Craigslist, you have complete control over your listing. If you want to tweak anything about it, you don’t need to go through your listing agent — you can do it yourself.

No listing agreement

When you list your home for sale with a traditional agent or brokerage, you typically sign a listing agreement. This agreement is a legally binding contract that stipulates the terms and conditions for the sale of your home. But when you sell your house on Craigslist, you don’t need to worry about a listing agreement dictating what you can or can’t do with your listing.

Save on real estate agent fees

Without an agent or a broker handling your home sale, you don’t need to pay a seller’s agent commission. That can mean big savings, and if you find a buyer who is unrepresented by an agent, you could end up saving on a buyer’s agent commission too.

Tips for selling your home on Craigslist

If you want to have complete control over your listing and avoid paying commission fees, posting your house for sale on Craigslist may be right for you. Should you choose this route, here are some tips to get ahead:

Price to sell

Finding the right listing price is always a challenge when selling your home, and it may be even more so when selling on Craigslist. You won’t have the expertise of an agent to assist you, but you can pull comparable properties from popular sites like Zillow to get an idea of what your house is worth. Keep in mind though that sites like Craigslist attract buyers who are looking to pay bottom dollar for homes, so pricing under the market standard may be the key to selling your home fast on Craigslist.

Write a compelling post

Don’t just say how many bedrooms and half bathrooms you have — highlight your home’s amenities. Be direct in your descriptions and include any neighborhood or regional identifiers (like your ZIP code) that can attract people looking to buy in your area.

Use pictures (lots of them)

Your photos can make or break your sale. If you can, hire a professional real estate photographer to help you capture all your home has to offer. Try to take photos in good weather and include images of the backyard, pool (if you have one), and any other enticing areas.

Delete and repost

Ads are listed chronologically on Craigslist. To ensure that your listing stays at the top of the search and gets the best results, delete and repost every few days.

Curious how much you could make on your home sale? Get started today with a free valuation — our estimates are 30% more accurate than the rest.

Alternatives to Craigslist homes

If avoiding traditional real estate is what attracted you to Craigslist in the first place, you might consider these alternate methods for selling your home.

FSBO websites

You may not be able to list on the MLS without an agent, but you can list with a flat fee MLS company. These companies will connect you with a licensed agent who will post your home on the MLS for a fee. These fees can range from $50 to $400 or more depending on the market and services the company provides — considerable savings to the traditional seller’s agent commission.

Discount brokers

These brokers connect sellers with agents willing to work for lower rates. Seller savings will vary depending on the pay structure of their chosen brokerage. Still, most discount brokers work for a flat fee or a lower listing commission than the standard 2.5% to 3% for the seller’s agent.

However, in exchange for these lower prices, discount brokers don’t offer the same level of service that a standard brokerage does. That means less personal attention and less help preparing your home for sale.

iBuyers

Also known as “instant buyers,” these companies use technology to buy and resell homes fast. Many iBuyers will give their customers a cash offer within 24 hours, allowing sellers to forgo the hassle of listing prep and home showings.

When you sell to an iBuyer, you typically sell your house as-is, below the market rate. That means you won’t have to complete any repairs, but you’re unlikely to get top dollar for your home.

Power buyers

Power buyers, like Orchard, are real estate companies focused on empowering homebuyers and sellers. Their services vary from company to company, but they typically guarantee your home sale and help you become a non-contingent cash buyer for your next home.

Homeowners looking to sell their home fast by posting on Craigslist might consider working with a power buyer instead. At Orchard, we simplify the home selling process and work with experienced real estate agents. We can even help if you’re selling and buying a house at the same time, so that you don’t have to move twice.

Orchard gives a guaranteed cash offer — and so much more

On top of a guaranteed sale, 95% of Orchard customers sell for more on the open market.

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On top of a guaranteed sale, 95% of Orchard customers sell for more on the open market.

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