House hunters and others interested in buying a property often look online, out of curiosity. One of the hidden gems of the online real estate market is surprisingly, Craigslist. The real estate section of the popular “yard sale” website might be just the place to begin your search for the perfect home or piece of land.
There are several reasons why the real estate section on Phoenix Craigslist is a good place to search for a home. Many postings are by homeowners who want to sell on their own, which could mean they're highly motivated to sell quickly. A highly motivated seller means, as a buyer, you are in a position to get a better price.
Another reason why Craigslist is an interesting option is that you could discover a home that you wouldn’t normally see, or even consider. Homes that are for sale by the owner obviously will not be found on a Realtor's website. Repossessions and tax lien properties also often turn up on Craigslist.
In any case, it's worth a look. However, keep the following four tips in mind as you browse the Phoenix Craigslist for real estate.
Know Your Keywords
The key to successfully searching for anything online is keywords, and that applies to real estate on Craigslist too.
The keywords you choose to search the real estate listings for, depends on several things. For example, keywords like divorce, health, illness, estate sale, bankruptcy, or PCS (military transfer) could mean a seller who needs cash quickly. In turn, that means you could get a very good deal if you have cash on hand.
Other keywords to search for could be fixer-upper, fixer, fix up, as-is, tax lien, ARV (after repair value), and TLC (needs some tender loving care). If you have the time and money to invest in repairs, these keywords could yield results.
Once you find some prospective properties, there are a few real estate euphemisms to be aware of. For example, “cozy” or “cute” simply means tiny. “Rustic” could simply mean it's run down. “Unique,” “eclectic,” “full of character” or “one of a kind” could translate into “just plain weird.”
Use Your Keywords to Set Up Craigslist Alerts
If you want to get a jump on Craigslist real estate listings, you can set up alerts through email. This way, you'll know about great new listings before anyone else.
To set up email notifications, just perform your real estate search on Craigslist. The more specific your search, the better. In other words, if you put your price range, neighborhood, number of bedrooms, and other options, Craigslist won't email you constantly with irrelevant listings.
After you’ve performed your search, on the right of the search bar, click “Save Search.” If you’ll need to be signed in to your Craigslist account. You'll then be taken to the Searches page in your account settings. To turn on email alerts for your saved search, click the “Alert” box to the left.
It's that easy! And, you can save several different searches, to cover all of your different options. Be sure to set up your email on your cellphone too. That way, you can check for new listings on the go.
Don't Limit Yourself to the Real Estate Section
People post their garage sales and estate sales on Craigslist for two reasons; either they just want to get rid of stuff, or they're moving. If they're moving, or if they have inherited a house, it could also mean the home is for sale.
This is especially true in the towns near Luke Air Force Base, such as Glendale, Litchfield Park, Sun City, and Surprise. Military transfers are common, and can sometimes be unexpected, prompting the need for a quick sale.
Checking out a yard sale due to an impending move could give you the opportunity to make an offer on the house before it goes on the market.
Estate sales on Craigslist are another way to potentially make an offer on a house before it gets listed with an agent; if someone is clearing out grandma's house after she's died, it's possible they want to sell grandma's house too.
Also, look at the rental section; if you see something that you like, contact the owner to see if they'll sell, either for cash or as a rent-to-own. Rent-to-own could be a good option if you've had credit problems. For the owner, it gets them a renter who will eventually buy the property. This could be a good deal for the landlord if they've had trouble with renters or who want out of their investment property.
In any case, think outside of the box when it comes to looking for real estate on Craigslist. You might find a lead in an unexpected place.
Post an Ad for Your Perfect Home
Instead of simply looking through listings, post your own want ad for a home. You might be surprised at what comes your way.
Be sure to use the right keywords in your ad, the same ones you were using to search for a property. You can use words like divorce, tax lien, as-is, fixer-upper, and probate sale are good choices. Also, don't forget to include your price range, and neighborhoods too, if that's important to you.
Once you start getting responses, keep your communication simple. You don't need to give a long explanation as to why you want to buy, just stick to business and make your offer. Be prepared to negotiate too. Buying real estate takes a lot of negotiation and a little wheeling and dealing.
Once you get started, you'll get the hang of looking for real estate on Craigslist pretty quickly. Be sure to keep a notebook or a spreadsheet of your finds, with the pros and cons of each one.
It may take some time, but it could yield some very good results. When you find something you really like, be sure to act quickly. Remember, you're not the only one on Craigslist looking for real estate, and the best deals can go very quickly.