They say the bubble is bursting, but you would not know it by the over 32,669 active housing listings from the past 7 days alone in the San Francisco section on Craigslist.com. Real estate sales are alive and well on Craigslist with the real estate sales section as the most popular category, more agents are realizing the power and value in using Craigslist to reach new buyers.
What is Craigslist?
Started in 1995 by Craig Newmark, Craigslist.com was initially created to help people find affordable housing in San Francisco. Craigslist is now the most popular online classifieds website in the world, with over 10 million visitors monthly and growing. Craigslist features 300 available cities across 35 countries for posting. Everyday people come looking to buy, sell and lease property. Agents can capitalize on this traffic by posting free ads and answering ads seeking homes. It truly is a real estate agents dream marketing tool.
Agents interested in using Craigslist can get started by visiting the Craigslist.com website and deciding which cities to post in. Research other ads in your area to identify areas in need of property listings and to find out what your competitors are posting. The real estate section of Craigslist is divided into sections to direct traffic to specific areas including rooms & shares, apartments/houses for rent, housing swap, office & commercial, parking & storage, real estate for sale, sublets & temporary and vacation rentals. Posting an ad is free except in New York City, which just started to charge $10 for rental listings. Once you know where you’d like to post, create either single ads for hot properties or a combination ad listing all your available properties for that area.
Creating an Ad
Ads are simple to create and are mostly text and require no design or html experience. Your ad should be descriptive with contact info and supporting photos. Images of your properties will increase response by over 200%, so be sure to include shots that really help sell the property. Images can be easily uploaded during the posting process.
Posting Your Ad
Posting an ad is as easy as picking your city, choosing the correct category, selecting post at the top right corner and entering your listing into the form. You will need to come up with a good title to get people’s attention. Your ad should also feature keyphrases that people might search when looking for your property region, style, features, etc. Once you enter your text into the form, upload your images. You will need to enter an e-mail address, but you can choose to keep it anonymous. Then you simply submit, review and wait for the link in your e-mail to publish.
Reposting, Multi-Posting and Auto-Posting
Once published, your ad will remain on Craigslist for 7 or 45 days, depending on your selected city. Staying on the first page is very important but you are only allowed to post the same ad in more than one city very 48 hours. However, to get around this rule, create multiple ads for the same property, but slightly different text or use a different e-mail for each ad. To succeed you will need to repost at least every 48 hours as new buyers come to the website all the time. To automate the reposting process you can use an underground auto-posting service or purchase a script. These programs are not sanctioned by Craigslist but are widely used and highly effective. Keep in mind that buyers are turned off by spam, so be sure to only post your property once a day, per city and category. This ensures you get great placement without coming off as desperate or overly aggressive.
As you can see using Craigslist is a very easy and affordable way to reach new customers. This is only the beginning of what agents can do to promote properties on Craigslist. As Craigslist becomes even more popular it is the agents who not only use the service, but can effectively navigate and exploit creative out of the box ideas that will win.