How to List and Sell your House on Craigslist and Save a ton of Money!
How to sell your home on Craigslist
It's easy to save a ton of money in real estate commissions by selling your own home using Craigslist. This can be done from 3,000 miles away and without a real estate license and I will show you how you can do it. A lot of people will try to get you to list your home with them or on their website. I think that is a total waste of time. Craigslist gets over 40 million hits per month! That is huge! And it's completely free, so why waste your time with some obscure website that no one knows about. I sold my house on Craigslist within 2 months of listing it...and at full price without ever being in the state where the house was!!!! You can do it too, you just have to follow these steps.
The first thing you have to do is to emotionally distance yourself from your home. You absolutely must get a realistic assessment of your home. It's not difficult. Call a half a dozen real estate agents and tell them you are thinking of selling your home and ask them what they would list it at. They will give you their estimation based on comparable sales in the neighborhood as well as homes that your home will be competing with. After you have looked at these comparable sales and listings take a drive (if you are in the vicinity) and see if there are any extenuating circumstances. For example is one of the comparables located on a busy street while yours is nestled in the woods? Maybe one of the homes has an unfinished basement and yours doesn't. You must look at these comparables with the eyes of a buyer. If you have any doubt as to your own objectivity then have you friends look at the comparables with you. If there is a home that is very similar to yours and it is located right next door and it is listed for $225,000 you should list your home for $195,000. In this market you MUST be competitive.
Then, once you have come to a conclusion as to what the listed price should be take a weekend and completely spruce up the home. Take all of the family photo's down and paint the walls they were on. You don't have to paint the entire house (unless of course it really needs it) but if you paint a few key areas it will make a big difference. Don't forget that you only have one chance to make a good first impression. If buyers come through your home and see a bunch of garbage and clutter they will assume that the home has not been taken care of. So spruce the place up! Make sure the lawn is mowed, the flowers are blooming, all pink pelicans are removed, all pictures and clutter are removed and the beds are made at all times. Also, do a sniff test, the only smells potential buyers should be smelling is the aroma of fresh baked bread or chocolate cookies just coming out of the oven.
OK, now you are read to advertise your property. Take a few digital pictures and put them on Craigslist. Make sure your pictures are nice, and that you have lots of them. Don't even think of putting an ad up on Craigslist without some wonderful pictures. If you don't have a camera borrow someones and have them take the pictures. I was 3,000 miles away so I had a friend do this for me and email them to me. Now put your ad on Craigslist and make sure to put in the heading the most important feature about the home in the title. Is there a pool? Is there a mother-in-law suite? Whatever it is that sold you on the home put as the header. Update the ad every other day or as much as possible so that it doesn't get lost in a pile of old Craigslist ads. People tend to look at the newer ads first.
Now wait, within a matter of minutes you will begin to get inquiries. Many of them will be with agents. When you get an request by an agent to list your home tell them that you will be glad to give them a 2.5% commission (or whatever is fair in your area) if they bring a qualified buyer and sell them home. You will still be saving 2.5% to 3% off of the sales price by listing the home yourself and if you have never sold a home in your life the buyer's agent will do all the work for you (remember they want that commission too) Do the math, 3% off of a $200,000 dollar home is still $6,000 that you just saved yourself.
When people come to look at your home make sure to get the telephone number of the agent so that you can ask for feedback later. If the home is priced well it should sell rather quickly. If it lingers, find out why. If the home is located in a poor location there is nothing you can do but lower the price, if you need to do more sprucing up you can either lower the price or spruce it up yourself. Keep putting ads on Craigslist as the ads must be updated in order to attract lazy buyers who don't have the time nor the inclination to look through all of the ads.
Finally, remember that everything is negotiable. Once an offer comes in you can negotiate everything from the closing date to the repairs and make sure that you keep advertising the home in Craigslist until the time comes that the money is in your hands and the home belongs to someone else, a little competition never hurt!
Good luck and happy selling.
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