Craigslist 101: How We Sold Our House!

posted by Andrea | 07/27/2011

Today I’m continuing my Craigslist 101 series to {hopefully} answer some of the many questions I get, asking how we sold our house on Craigslist.

Yup, that’s right — Dave and I sold our first house on Craigslist

by owner…

and got THREE offers…

in only THREE days!

And no, we did NOT know what we were doing and had no experience selling a house!

Oh, and did I mention that Michigan has been in the middle of a HUGE buyer’s market for well over a year?

How We Sold Our House on Craigslist:

Even though we had fixed up our cute little starter home {which was in a great location} I’m convinced that one of the main reasons our house sold so quickly was because of the time and effort I put in to properly advertising it on Craigslist….

#1. Before I posted our ad, I create a free WordPress.com website for our house.

 

I posted tons of {nicely edited} pictures with descriptions.

I clearly listed all the updates we had done and when we did them.

I listed every single new appliance, new light fixture, and new anything.

I highlighted the benefits of living in that house with that yard and that location.

I listed several local amenities {shopping, parks, restaurants, highway access, etc.}

I clearly stated our price and our contact information.

You can view the website I created here. {I did delete some of our personal information}

The whole website only took me about an hour, so I would definitely say it was worth my time investment!

 

#2. Then I drafted a Craigslist ad and inserted the link to our new website.

I followed my rules for Selling Successfully on Craigslist, but also clearly stated that any interested parties should click on the website link for lots more pictures and information.

And this might be obvious, but when you create your Craigslist ad, just make sure you choose “housing offered” as the type of post, and “real estate – by owner” for the category {as long as you are actually selling it by owner!}

Another cool thing about having a WordPress blog for our sale was that I could easily check my stats to see how many people visited our site via the Craigslist ad — we had a pretty good response.

 

#3. Then we waited with our phone and email available at all times!

I posted our ad on Friday evening {weekends are usually the most active selling times} and we got our first two calls within the hour! One family came to walk through our house Saturday morning, one came Saturday afternoon, and the third came Sunday afternoon.

ALL of them said that they were very impressed with the website and had never seen such a professional looking “for sale by owner” ad.  I actually received several emails from people who weren’t even interested in buying our house but thought the website was such a great idea :)

By Sunday night we had 3 offers and by Monday we had our good-faith deposit.

 

I have since helped 2 friends create websites to sell their homes and I’ve created a couple of website for my parents to sell/rent some of their rental properties.

No, I’m not a fantastic website creator, I’m certainly not a great photographer, and I know NOTHING about real estate, but I did do a great job of providing as much information possible — and making it really easy for anyone to get that information.

Obviously creating a website is not the only way to sell a house on Craigslist, but worked for us, it worked for a few of my friends, and it worked for my parent’s rental properties… so it just might work for you too.

Plus, it’s free — so you really have nothing to lose {and we saved a bundle in Realtor fess!}

What is the biggest thing you ever sold on Craigslist?

{top Image Credit}


Previous Posts in the Craigslist 101 Series:

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Filed under: HomeMisc.

 
 

22 comments

  1. Stacey

    07/27/2011

    Wow that is incredible! Thanks for this post, we have our house on the market currently and havent had much luck. we are considering taking it off in early fall and trying again in the early spring – by owner this time (at least for a little while). We will totally have to do the website!

    I think you need to do a “i just got an offer on my “for sale by owner” house. Now what?” post. I know at least one person who would be very interested in reading it;)

    [Reply]

    R Reply:

    Agreed. The reason why most people don’t do for sale by owner type sales is because

    1. Contracts?? Who am I to write one?? Where would I even get one? Would the contract be good? Am I missing anything?
    2. Liability?? What are we on the hook for and off the hook for? Are there any more responsibilities post-sale that we could get in trouble for?
    3. Mortgage?? Does it limit the market to cash only buyers? How does one go about getting a mortgage for FSBO? Is the process the same? Is it different?

    Great article. Really enjoyed it and it gets me really excited.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, like I mentioned in my article — we knew absolutely nothing about selling a house and were in a position where we really did not NEED to sell our house either, so we were pretty relaxed about the whole process.
    I am definitely not qualified to answer your questions — but my best advice would be to find a realtor you already know {they seem to be everywhere!} and ask that person how much they would charge to handle all the paperwork for you. Usually it’s less than $1000 and they will take care of all the legal stuff for you — WAY cheaper than paying them the full 7% of your sale!
    In our situation, the buyers were not working with a realtor either so we had no fees to pay — and they were willing to cover the cost of paying a realtor to do the paperwork…so it really worked out wonderfully for us!
    Good luck!

    [Reply]

  2. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles

    08/01/2011

    Wow, Andrea! Great article and info! I’ve sold a couple houses on my own, but that was before Craigslist was big. It would be so much easier to do now, with everything digital. You always have so much good info – thanks!!

    [Reply]

  3. Vonda

    08/03/2011

    Andrea,
    please let me know what “theme” you used for your website, I’ve been trying for hours to get a simple one like you had. Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

    Teri Reply:

    It says it on the bottom of the page she created… It’s called Vigilance

    [Reply]

  4. Teri Bennett

    08/03/2011

    Andrea,

    I love this post and am currently trying to sell a house we inherited from my friend who passed away last year from a brain tumor. My husband and I are the guardians for her two minor children, age 11 and 8. The house was left to them and thankfully is paid off, so we have minor carrying costs. But now that a year has passed and still little traffic through traditional house selling routes, I was thinking about doing something similar to what you have done. I have found the theme (Vigilance- BTW for the PP) but need help setting it up.

    I would appreciate any tips or advice you could give to make it look as nice as yours.

    Thanks again for sharing all the details you have!! I LOVE your blog, read it everytime there is something new.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Teri! My best advice would be simply add as much information and pictures as possible. Show every room {maybe even multiple pictures of every room} highlight every good feature, talk about every update, etc. etc.

    Also, since it’s been over a year, you might want to just look into getting a realtor to sell it for you. You’ll still get a good amount of the sale and won’t have any of the work!

    Good luck :)

    [Reply]

  5. Cari Platt

    02/26/2012

    Andrea,

    I feel like this is a strange question….but when you sold your house online at Craigslist, how did you get Craigslist to go to the blog you created free? I mean if I was on Craigslist and looking for a house and saw your house listed does it have a link that takes me to the blog page you created at Word Press or is it just listed on Craigslist? I feel very computer illiterate asking this question. I just see so much potential to learning about Craigslist for specific things like you were talking about on your blog. We have sold two large items and it was great for us and the people were super nice . We have not bought anything on Craigslist but i am going to be on the look out for a couple of things in the near future. Thank you for all your tips.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes… Not a dumb question! I just put a link to the website right in the Craigslist ad and said “click this link for lots more information and photos”

    Craigslist is definitely a great way to sell almost anything! Good luck!

    [Reply]

  6. Jen

    03/08/2012

    Hi, Andrea! We’re thinking about trying to do this next year, and if you have time, I’d love to hear more about your actual selling process. For example, did you show the house yourselves or did you leave and have a friend show it for you? And once the offer was made, how did you handle all the paperwork and legal stuff w/o a realtor? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Jen, we had a crazy experience because we sold our house in less than 3 days and the sellers paid cash — so we really didn’t have much extra work to do with banks, etc. We did have a lawyer friend from church who “moderated” the process for us and made sure we were covered legally, etc.

    Dave and I showed the house ourselves {4 families in 3 days} We also did all the bartering, and accepted the final offer. This is the first time I sold a house and I’m pretty sure our experience was not normal… so unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of great tips to share!! Hope this helps a little thought :)

    [Reply]

  7. Selling your Home « Truffles Magazine

    03/28/2012

    [...] a Free WordPress.com account of your home if you plan to sell your home by owner – read how Andrea over  @ Simple Organized Living got her home sold in 3 [...]

  8. Andrea (a different one!)

    12/29/2012

    Andrea,
    This was so encouraging! We are trying to do FSBO and I had also done EXACTLY what you suggested. I made a beautiful WordPress site and then I posted it to craigslist on a Friday. It is Saturday and we’ve had lots of calls, emails and 2 people have seen it already. Both of them are interested in seeing it again tomorrow! We don’t even have a sign in the yard yet.

    I had contacted a Realtor who told me houses in my price range aren’t selling, that we’d sell at a loss, and could count on it sitting on the market 120 days. I was so bummed, until my phone started ringing off the hook and I read your story!
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yay — so exciting! I was a bit nervous to try selling by owner too, but the website really seemed to do the trick and was a major reason we had so much interest in our home.

    Good luck!!!

    [Reply]

  9. Jen

    01/17/2013

    I’m so thankful for following Andrea as well as this posting! After reading through the posts and comments, I’m going to attempt to do a FSBO. We moved to MA over a year ago and still have our house in IN. I’m sure it will be much easier to use a realtor; however, I’m not willing to take the commission hit, sell for below our mortgage balance and take the risk of our house sitting on the market. I just wish I had taken pictures before we left! I just asked a friend if she would be willing to go to the house and do it for me. Thankfully my cousin is a lawyer and sold her last house FSBO so I’m ok with that process. Didn’t know about the option of just paying a realtor to do the paperwork. I just don’t want the burden anymore of our house in IN and am itching to finally buy in MA now that we are settled.

    [Reply]

  10. Clutter Overload Part 2: Where to Donate and Sell Your Items

    04/23/2013

    [...] My friend, Andrea, bought and sold her house on Craiglist. [...]

  11. Jamie Mitchell

    06/04/2013

    I found this posting very inspiring so I created a website(using wix instead of WordPress) and followed by setting up a Craigslist account. Only problem I have now is it says attaching a URL to Craigslist posting is against the rules! How did you list yours? I made it clear that the site attached was for more detailed information. HELP PLEASE!

    [Reply]

  12. Kiescha

    02/07/2014

    Wow! That is awesome! The biggest thing that I’ve sold on CL was a washer and dryer. You have me beat! lol

    [Reply]

  13. Sierra batten

    05/04/2014

    Hi Andrea,

    Please Help. My name is Sierra Batten and my parents have been trying to sell their home for two years. I am very interested in learning how to create a website. I opened up a WordPress account, but am so confused as what to do about customization, etc, etc. If you could send a link to some tutorials or have useful information is would be greatly appreciated.

    [Reply]

  14. Bomi Roberson

    07/02/2014

    Hello Andrea,
    can i say, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this post and wish I had stumbled upon it a year ago. Our home has been on the market for 9 months with no concrete offer in spite of multiple showings. Nothing is wrong at all; not sure what is going on. I have decided to post it on craigslist and I am working on a free website per your post – Thank you!
    here are my questions, did you create a separate email address for the contact section on the website you used for your home? And did you provide your phone number? I am unsure about leaving my personal contact information especially if lots of people would be viewing the website. Furthermore, did you select for your website to be seen by search engines?
    I hope this makes sense. Again, THANK YOU! SO MUCH!
    Bomi

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Bomi — good luck with the website and selling your house.
    I did use my personal email address (all my contact information is SO available on the web anyway that it really didn’t matter to me). I can’t remember if I included my phone number or not — but it can’t hurt.

    As for the search engines — I don’t think it matters either way. You can probably just select “NO’ to be seen by search engines. You won’t really get any traffic from Google or Yahoo anyway — it will all be coming from your Craigslist ad.

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

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