How To Sell Your Home On Craigslist [as a For Sale By Owner!]


Knowing how to sell your home on Craigslist is a huge advantage! Especially, if you’re planning on selling your home as a For Sale By Owner.

I’ve sold every property I’ve ever owned on Craigslist and ended up saving thousands of dollars in commissions fees!

The best part about it is, I actually enjoy doing the marking to line up potential buyers, then showing them my property.

Quick tip: Even if you’re working with a realtor already, read on because it’s still a fantastic idea to list your home on Craigslist. The more exposure your home gets with online marketing, the better. Btw… You can use Craigslist for both the Sales Listing and announcing an Open House!

Once you have a buyer, you can proceed one of two ways.

1) Execute a full For Sale By Owner and do all the legal work yourself.

 2) Or hire a real estate agent at a discounted rate. Preferably one you know or spoke with ahead of time about the idea.

Honestly, It’s pretty amazing how awesome Craigslist is and how great the results can be.

Especially in cities or towns like the SF Bay Area where there is a decent amount of people living with short supply (lots of potential buyers.) If you make a good ad with decent photos, you usually get e-mails and people interested in viewing your home within an hour of you posting the ad.


In this guide, we’re going to cover all the details required to sell your home or rental property using Craigslist! With or without a real estate agent.

Let’s Begin!

How I Use Craigslist And A Real Estate Agent To Sell My Properties

Wanting to do a full For Sale By Owner will only be appealing (and work-out) for a select few of people out there, about 10% of us. For the other 90%, they’ll need full or partial service from a real estate professional.

If you truly want to go through the FSBO process on your own, check out this blog article on Nolo Press to get started.

FSBO or a Real Estate Agent? Article By NOLO Press

In the past, when I’ve sold one of my homes, I like to use Craigslist to line up a buyer for my property ahead of time. Then contact a realtor I know already to help close the deal for me, for a reduced commission.

I’ll contact the realtor and say “I already have a buyer for my home, can you draw up the paperwork for that reduced commission we spoke about?”

I normally keep at least 2 – 4% of the total 6% commission in my pocket this way. They’ll get the same range depending on how you divide it up and negotiate. The total commission amongst all the realtors should never exceed 6% for the entire sale of the property. If the buyer you lined up has their own real estate agent, you’ll be negotiating the commission with them too.

For a 500k house, you could be saving an extra 10 – 20k dollars!

PLUS, In a seller’s market, you will most likely be able to sell your house with just a simple Craigslist ad and not much work at all.

In fact, because I live in the hot San Francisco Bay Area real estate market, I have been able to sell all of my previous homes successfully with just a Craigslist listing.

And hosting at least one open house too!

The key to success was that I priced the house correctly and ran a listing on Craigslist about a week in advance, before an open house or showing it to anyone. This helps to build up anticipation. I also wrote a very strong sales ad with great pictures.

The secret to a good sales ad on Craigslist is to make it exciting and honest.

To Summarize, I do the following steps

  1. I take the photos of the property.
  2. I write a killer Craigslist Ad and put up the listing.
  3. People e-mail me, and I show them the home, sometimes with an Open House which is scheduled a week later.
  4. Then I wait to hear back from the buyers on an offer.
  5. Lastly, contact the realtor you spoke with beforehand about the buyer’s offer and get to work. Or execute a full For Sale By Owner on your own without a realtor.

You’d think writing a good Craigslist ad would be easy, but for most people, it’s actually kind of hard. Below we’ll go over an example to help make writing your ad easy.

Home For Sale Craigslist Ad Example

Note: This Craigslist ad is pretty generic because it’s an example. I’m leaving out specific names of schools, parks, neighborhoods, etc. Of course, you’ll want to add those details to your ad. Don’t copy this word for word either, just use it as an example and make your own original ad for the best results.

[Beginning of Sample ad]


3 Bedroom 2 Full Bath Home For Sale! [An Open Floor Plan Beauty!]


1800 Sqft. in Alamo, Ca. with 10,000 sqft. Corner Lot!

This dream home is priced to sell! It’s close to all the best elementary, middle, and high schools in the area. Your kids will be able to walk or easily take the bus for getting to school in this safe neighborhood.

Not to mention it’s a very family-friendly community with lots of outdoor activities frequently happening, especially in the summer. Last summer was full of outdoor concerts, farmer’s markets, and family nights in the nearby park.

The home was recently remodeled and has a whole new kitchen! The bathrooms were also remodeled. The entire house just got a fresh paint job inside and out. Brand new solid oak floors throughout!

The house has an open floor plan that flows. All the closets are spacious. The backyard has a new deck covering and a built-in brick BBQ. It’s a BBQers paradise for 4th of July parties or any family celebration.

All the bedrooms are on the backside of the house so you can have your windows opened safely and without traffic noise.

There are no window coverings or bright colors; it’s a blank canvas ready for you to decorate to your specific tastes.

See the pictures attached to this ad! Seeing is believing! E-Mail or call Scotty at the number below for a private viewing or to be invited to the next upcoming open house this Sunday.

[end of sample ad]

It’s all about showing off the house in its best presentation!

If you have an open house, Craigslist is an excellent option for announcing that. Just add an announcement for the date of the open house in the title of your “for sale” ad. Update it with “OPEN HOUSE 01/05/2018” (with the date.)

Overall, the key to writing an excellent description for your online listing and sales flyers is this: Make sure you convey all the benefits of your property! If it’s close to the freeway or public transportation, describe that. If you just got a new roof installed, say it. If your house is at the end of a cul de sac or close to the best public schools in the area, don’t forget to mention that too.

By now, you get the idea.

Photos For Your Craigslist Ad

Make sure that your home photos are not stretched out; it creates a false perception. A lot of times the photographer who works for a Realtor will lose the ball and do it anyways.

It’s like they’re trying to make the place look bigger than it really is. Then the buyer shows up and says “Wow! This place looks kind of small.”

I’m not sure why so many sellers (or realtors) think they can fool a buyer. That’s why I like to take a lot of photos, pick the best ones, and leave them unedited!

Most of the time photos taken with an iPhone or Droid phone with lots of natural light is the way to go! Post at least 5 – 10 photos of the home, maybe more if needed. That’s all you need.

Final Thoughts

Craigslist is an old site. But it’s still really powerful for selling your home. Especially in big cities where the population density is deep, and there are lots of jobs around.

Regardless if you do the entire sale of your home yourself or with a realtor, putting a listing on Craigslist is a no-brainer. So there you have it, my exact process for selling a house or rental property.