Craigslist for Heroes, Rogues, and Middle Management" Spoiler Alert: By the end of this article, I'm going to give you the book for FREE, so don't worry, this isn't a sales pitch.
"Craigslist for Heroes, Rogues, and Middle Management," is actually a guide to marketing and selling anything online, on any website, written for the layman. I researched and wrote it because I've written on the topic before and frankly, the entire market benefits when Consumers and Sellers hold equal power of information. With equal economic footing, products can be sold for their intrinsic value based upon their merits and the effects of Supply and Demand don't get too crazy. ...but I digress, that's a topic for the book. Let's get into it:
Should I Sell My Home on Craigslist?
The real question is, should you sell your home without a Realtor? You can, but here's some things you'll need to do:
- Research your home and price it appropriately.
- Pay a lawyer to help draw up your contract and take care of the sales process (anything else is dangerous).
- Not only research how and where to to market your home, but also pay for that marketing up-front out of your own pocket.
- Accept that you may spend money and especially TIME learning the real estate process for this one transaction.
- Talk to a lawyer about how to protect yourself from lawsuits if you fail to disclose (by accident we assume) a material defect (such as a leaky foundation no one noticed til Spring 2 years after the house has sold).
- Talk to a mortgage company about how to ensure you're only considering serious bids.
So essentially, if you have the spare-time and the inclination and can do these things reliably for less than 1/2 the commission on your house (3% of the sale price*), you can sell your own home and it's recommended that you do it online. (*Many believe commission is 6% of the sale price, but honestly, even though the check is written out of the Seller's Proceeds, mathematically it's like the Buyer and Seller split the cost, if you've priced correctly.)
That said, if you can't or won't do all those things listed, get yourself a Realtor who will pay for the marketing out of their pocket and work like crazy to sell your home quick so their family can eat, you'll be happier with the results.
How to List Your Home Online
Obviously, list your home on Craigslist. Here's a few tips:
- List it as "Real Estate for Sale - By Owner," people search that category looking for a deal.
- Price over what you want to sell at, there are lots of formulas for working this out. Buyers searching on Craigslist are not looking to pay List Price, they're going to expect a price drop, so account for that.
- Don't list at $350,000.00, list at $349,999.00 - Yes it seems dumb, but studies show it's effective.
- If you don't want Realtors to contact you, put that in the listing. I recommend letting Realtors contact you, it's annoying to field the phone calls but a desperate Listing Agent may cut you a deal on a discounted commission (be skeptical and ask for their recent sales figures). Better, you may get a contact from a Realtor who has a buyer and is going to recoup a fee from them instead of you (usually a fraction of what a listing fee would be). That last is unusual, but it happens.
How to Market Your Home
- Some of these are obvious: Move 2/3 of your stuff into storage before taking photos. Take photos on the absolute sunniest day you can get, etc. There are entire articles on home staging that you can read. -- By the way, the best time to take photos of your home is when the shadows are long, but only if you can still get good light on the front of your home.
- Make sure your first image of the home on Craigslist is at a slight angle to the front showing both the face and side of the home. Too many listings have primary photos of the backyard or other views and that's a dead giveaway that something is up, like that your home is next door to an oil refinery or something.
- Don't take your photos with your cellphone.
- Understand that your home will be marketed next to everything similar in the neighborhood, whether you like it or not. - The good news is that market will change from week to week, the bad news is that your price gets compared to all those around it.
- Be specific and descriptive in your subject line. Not, "Wayne, NJ Cape Cod Just Rennovated!!!" but instead: "Wayne, NJ - 2-level Cape Cod w/ Center Stair, Kitchen -- 2010, 3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath" That second subject line includes a lot more keywords than the first.
What you get out of selling your own home is going to depend on what you put into it. A Realtor will advertise your home in the local paper, on at least 2 Multiple Listing Services, and via their own company's robust web platform and mailers. They'll also do things like hold a Broker's Luncheon to get local agents in to see the property. You can do some of those things too, so long as you're willing to commit the time and the money.
For more tips on Selling Your Home Online as well as selling ANYTHING else safely and securely, read "Craigslist for Heroes, Rogues, and Middle Management" where you'll find such topics as:
- HTML Tips, Tricks, & Hacks for Craigslist Listings
- How to Secretly Monitor & Track Views on Craigslist
- How to Add Externally Hosted Documents & Images to Your Listings
- The Online Pricing Guide for Cars, Trucks, & More
- A Host of Photography Tips
- ...and a lot more
Why Write (or Read) About Craigslist?
Seriously, what's to learn from an online classifieds provider that hasn't updated its website since it launched in the late 90's? If you're not buying or selling something right this instant, why even care about Craigslist?
From the book:
Craigslist is awful at presentation, at marketing, at technology, at advanced features, but none of that matters because the service has a few small strengths and plays to them ferociously. Craigslist is Democratic, perhaps the fastest, purest form of Democracy since HotorNot.com, having a tiny staff and relying almost entirely on unpaid, unregistered, and anonymous users to produce and moderate content for the site internationally across dozens of markets acting in an equally diverse number of legal jurisdictions.
Craigslist is also Capitalistic on the verge of becoming a defining example for the term. Craigslist is one of the largest online markets in the world, acting as the virtual meeting place for consumers and sellers across the globe. Capitalism reigns supreme in the cars+trucks category where prices are set not, as the sellers imagine, by Kelley Blue Book value or the seller’s desires, but by the whims and motions of the market itself. Whenever a seller makes the mistake of ignoring these trends, the market provides a strong reminder through a complete lack of buyer interest until the offending price is reconsidered. ~Craigslist for Heroes, Rogues, and Middle Management
Keep in mind too that many of these tips will apply to other online classified listings providers such as your local newspaper's website, Backpage.com, and others.
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"Craigslist for Heroes, Rogues, and Middle Management"
"Craigslist for Heroes, Rogues, and Middle Management"
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