There are many ways you can create real estate lead strategies and sales funnels that will be quick, easy, and rewarding. Craigslist makes it possible to procure leads for free online—as long as you understand the platform and format.
With Craigslist, you can do everything from selling an investment property to helping someone buy their first home. Let’s take a deeper look into how to get real estate leads from Craigslist —what to do and what to avoid.
How to Get Real Estate Leads from Craigslist
Craigslist is a site that features online classified ads. And that’s something important to understand. A Craigslist ad can be posted by anyone completely for free.
As a real estate agent, you can use Craigslist for lead generation for your real estate business. But of course, real estate is a little higher in value than most of the postings on the site—so it requires a specific approach.
As more people get used to self-servicing online, more people are getting used to the idea of shopping on their own for real estate. A real estate buyer may peruse real estate ads on Craigslist—just as a real estate seller may post a Craigslist real estate ad rather than talking to a Realtor.
A real estate agent ignores online technology and self-service clients at their own peril. By using platforms such as Craigslist, you can tap into an entirely new audience.
The Benefits of Getting Real Estate Leads from Craigslist
Craigslist is free. It’s also one of the biggest sites on the net. While it may be surprising, there are many people who refresh Craigslist real estate pages frequently—looking for new opportunities and new deals.
On Craigslist, you may find a real estate investor looking for their next rental. You may find a motivated seller trying to sell their home to someone directly. And you might discover quite a few other Realtors looking for a potential buyer or client.
So, not only is Craigslist free, but it connects you to a vast audience. The challenge is that because Craigslist is free, there are many lower-quality posts there for people to get through. It will take some time for you to build and promote your real estate listings.
Working with Buyer Leads on Craigslist
Most agents are looking for buyer leads when they’re on Craigslist. There are a lot of people who are trying to find a property to buy. Rather than go to a real estate agent, they just look online instead.
When using Craigslist for real estate lead generation, you would:
- Create an account on Craigslist. While you can post as “Guest,” a Craigslist account makes it easier for you to manage and edit your existing listings. It also makes your post look more legitimate and professional.
- Create your listing like an MLS listing. Your listing can, in fact, include most of your MLS copy—but a Craigslist classified ad is even better because it can be much longer and more involved.
- Add captivating images and video. You don’t need to add all your images, but you should definitely add your best ones for marketing purposes. Consider linking to a walkthrough video; a home buyer with more information will be more likely to connect with you.
- Have comprehensive “contact” information. Your listing should link out to your social media, such as your Facebook account, email address, phone number, and even your office. Part of being a real estate professional is making yourself very easy to connect with.
- Refresh your advertisements periodically. Craigslist stacks advertisements based on chronology. You will need to repost your ad frequently to keep it at the top.
- Link to your other listings. Ideally, you’re creating a comprehensive lead generation strategy. Your listings should all point to your other listings, as well as to your real estate website and social media.
- Bring your leads into your sales funnel. Whether your leads come from Craigslist, RedFin, Trulia, or people you know, you want them to move through the same sales funnel. Integrate your Craigslist real estate marketing campaign with your CRM by loading your customers into your marketing platform. Send them to your landing page if you want to collect their information separately.
A listing agent can essentially put every MLS listing they have on Craigslist. By duplicating these listings, the agent can improve the scope of their potential customers.
Ideally, you should get contacted by prospective buyers through your Craigslist listing. From there, you can connect with them and schedule showings.
Working with Seller Leads on Craigslist
While most real estate agents are looking for buyers online, it’s also possible to get seller leads.
- Look for FSBO properties. Many motivated sellers are trying to sell their houses on their own. If you have a particularly well-qualified buyer, such as a cash buyer, they may consider working with you.
- Consider these properties when working with buyers. When a buyer says they want a unique home but just can’t find a match, don’t just rely on the MLS. To be in the real estate business, you need to be exceptional. Consider venues such as Craigslist.
- Create a complete pitch for your FSBO properties. You can send out a complete pitch to FSBO properties in general, offering them your time, services, and a small consultancy. This approach may get you more leads.
There are many sellers out there who may be discouraged. They may not be able to find buyers, or they may find the process overwhelming. By connecting with these individuals, you may be able to increase your listings.
Avoiding “Time Wasters” on Craigslist
What’s the biggest issue about how to get real estate leads from Craigslist? Time wasters. Because Craigslist lets anyone post—and makes it easy for people to respond—you’ll find quite a few people who have no genuine interest in buying or selling a house.
They may want to email you with a dozen questions. They may want to get you on the phone or even attend a showing. But ultimately, they aren’t going to commit.
Here are a few tips for avoiding time-wasters:
- Avoid lengthy conversations online. Someone really interested in buying or selling a property will agree to meet with you in your office. Someone who is asking a thousand questions is likely just window-shopping.
- Get down to their needs quickly. There’s no reason to discuss a house purchase with a renter. Make sure what you’re providing is something they actually want.
- Utilize a virtual assistant. You can use a virtual assistant to direct inquiries, save messages, and schedule appointments for you, so you have more time for other things.
- Ask for pre-approval or pre-qualification early. If someone’s talking to you about buying a home, they should have the documents available to show that they can afford it.
Of course, there are time wasters everywhere. But they are more prevalent in areas where there’s a low barrier to entry, such as Craigslist.
Other than that, though, there’s a lot of opportunities on Craigslist. From first-time homebuyers to savvy real estate investing entrepreneurs, many people are looking to Craigslist for information.
Real Estate Agents, Craigslist, and Rentals
Finally, it should be noted that Craigslist remains one of the absolutely best places for rental needs.
Real estate agents who manage rentals (both residential and commercial) will find many success posting listings online.
When many people are looking for a rental, Craigslist is often the first place they look. Consequently, many property management companies put their units on Craigslist first.
In addition to straight rentals, Craigslist also has various “alternative” options, such as owner financing and rent-to-own properties. This is one reason why Craigslist isn’t just great for real estate marketing. It’s also excellent for those who want to manage their own investment property.
Are there other places online to get real estate leads?
You can always buy leads from sites such as Zillow and Trulia. Apart from that, the platform that is most similar to Craigslist is Facebook Marketplace. You might be surprised to find out that the venue most known for people selling knickknacks is also known for real estate.
If you’re trying to build a real estate business, the best thing you can do is diversify. Taking advantage of new technology, such as online classified ad sites, can help.
Does Craigslist have qualified leads?
Many people are hesitant to work with Craigslist because of its perception as a cheap classified ads site. But it’s still possible to get well-qualified leads on Craigslist, especially if you make sure that they go through your qualification process first.
However, it is true that Craigslist can be a little bit of a “wild west.” Over time, you’ll learn to be able to spot things like scams, and you’ll know when someone is wasting your time.
Are there downsides to selling a house on Craigslist?
To a certain extent, Craigslist is starting to lose steam as many move to Facebook Marketplace and services such as Trulia. While Craigslist is a critical component of a marketing strategy today, it may not be one tomorrow. But the bottom line is that it costs nothing but time to post on Craigslist, so why wouldn’t you?
Above all, you need to watch for time-wasters and scams. While how to get real estate leads from Craigslist is pretty easy overall, it’s also easier to fall into a hole of communication with someone who doesn’t really intend to buy.
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