Why You Shouldn’t Use Craigslist to List a Home for Sale by Owner

Our home is a place where we create memories and grow as individuals. We all treasure the places we live in, but sometimes there comes a time where we have to move.

But, how do you make a reliable sale and generate a healthy profit? Online marketplaces probably spring to mind.

This way, you’ll avoid commissioning a real estate agent and hence, save some money. But you have to consider if it’s worth it.

In this article, we’re going to lay down the issues of the ‘Craigslist home for sale by owner’ option. Let’s dive in!

Why Is ‘Craigslist Home For Sale by Owner’ Dangerous?

Craigslist is one of the most popular marketplace websites. You may sell your unused furniture there. Or perhaps you prefer to purchase some new clothing or games for your console? There’s even an option to hire someone to fix a leak in the roof.

However, despite all the advantages, this service has a magnitude of pitfalls. For one, you cannot confirm the quality of the item or service, until it’s paid for.

Even if you manage to avoid the direct impact of a faulty ad, you might fall for a new form of danger.

The new scam aims for those who want to sell their homes. While it’s undeniable that the website has many visitors and can offer great exposure, it’s this exact publicity that can scam people out of money.

When you place an ad on the Craigslist, there’s a chance a scammer will duplicate it. He will take all the information on it, including address, photos, and other data. The false ad will seem legit to an unsuspecting buyer.

These fake houses are set for rent. That way, the scammer can get the deposit and move on to another home. In turn, you might lose out on the legitimate buyer.

Internet reputation can be critical to some. If your house’s pictures are used in a scam, this can create difficulties for you down the road.

The scammers rely on the naiveté of the buyer. They often use vacant houses in fake showings. Then demand deposit and disappear with it.

The buyer’s left without the property they wanted to rent, and the original house owner has to prove they had nothing with the scam.

Constant Supervision

All this makes marketing with Craigslist home for sale by owner ads tricky. You have to show continuous vigilance. Every so often, be sure to check if there’s no duplicate ad on the website. If you find some, be sure to report it.

Alternatively, should you notice other ads of the same type, you should consider calling the number. Usually, the older ad is the original poster so that you could call them.

There’s also a chance a real estate agent is selling the house. Contact the agent and let them know what’s going on. This keeps the professionals in the loop, and they might find more ways to fight these scams.

This type of vigil will benefit you personally, as well. There have been reported scenarios where unsuspecting buyers rent out a property and show up there, expecting to live in it.

If you’re still occupying the house you are trying to sell; there’s a chance there will be a barrage of strangers knocking on your door.

This may cause a conflict and endanger you or your house. Granted, these are rare occurrences, but the possibility is there.

If you are the one trying to rent the property, consider the ad very carefully. If the supposed seller only allows you to see the outside of the house, avoid it.

No proper seller would demand payment when you haven’t even seen the inside of the house.

The same goes if the seller constantly reschedules, or finds ways to excuse themselves out of the meeting. Be sure to trust only legitimate sellers.

Buying Below Market Value

Professional real estate agents warn about an alternate practice on Craigslist. It’s not really a scam, but it’s well worth paying attention to.

Usually, when you sell your house on the website, you are bypassing the services of a realtor. This may allow you to save money on the commission and service fee, but other real estate agents might use it to their advantage.

These unethical agents might show up as a buyer to view your house. They can find faults in the structure, complain about the general look of the home, and insist the house needs plenty of repairs.

Then, they may offer a certain sum to the seller. They aim to convince the owner they are doing them a favor by buying a house that needs renovation.

Afterward, they could sell the house for twice as much as they bought it for. This ensures the profit for them, but not the original seller.

So, if you’re using Craigslist to showcase your house, be aware that lowball offers can often be a ploy to diminish your confidence.

It’s advisable to have an expert take a look at the paperwork. You can even have the proper evaluation of the house and its worth.

That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of what to expect while avoiding the fraudulent offers from realtors.

Dos and Don’ts

There are some tips on what you should do to protect yourself and what you should avoid.

Craigslist home for sale by owner ads can attract much attention, but be sure to check the location. If the buyer is half the world away, what real possibility is there to sell the property successfully?

Imagine viewing a real estate website. The first thing you do is check the location and search for property near you. The same should go for Craigslist.

However, always keep in mind Craigslist is not the most reputable online marketplace. You need patience while sorting through the offers. If usually, a real estate agent handles this, with Craigslist, you’ll have to do this yourself.

People think that if you continuously refresh your ad, it’ll stay at the top of the page, and more people will see it. That’s actually a wrong approach and makes you more viable to the scammers.

The constant renewal underlines you need to sell, and scammers take advantage of that.

The renewals may also bring a problem – the issue of duplication. If you rely on the fact that the older ad is the original one, the effort to renew your post will undoubtedly change its date.

Now, the fake ad may appear older and more genuine. Craigslist users might not even know the difference, which makes your efforts wasted.

And let’s consider the photos. We all love high-quality photographs, especially when picking a property.

But it can equally help the scammers. Many reputable real estate websites either put the watermark on the photo or make it impossible to copy it (or at least it won’t have a good quality).

But on Craigslist, what you see is what you get. And the copy of a perfectly good photo is permitted. You either have to risk watermarking it yourself, which might ruin the photo. Or you hope your ad won’t be a target for a scam.

Craigslist Isn’t Responsible

Above all, with Craigslist, you’re on your own. So, it’s your job to find if your ad was duplicated, and whether someone’s using your info without your permission. In cases of scams, the website doesn’t hold any responsibility.

If you lose money to the scammer, you’ll be left without help. So be aware if someone makes money-related requests, especially involving Western Union or MoneyGram. Usually, it’s a sign of a scam in progress.

As the house owner, you might receive cashier checks and money orders as payment for deposit. This method might even clear with the bank. However, soon after, it’ll be rejected, and you will be held responsible.

Since Craigslist offers no guarantees about payments or transactions, any loss of money will not be covered or returned. Buyer protection also doesn’t apply here. This means Craigslist home for sale by owner ads will not be verified.

There’s no sure way to know if the seller or buyer is genuine.

Selling your property on marketplace websites like Craigslist places all the responsibility on your shoulders. Sure, you might avoid payments to professional agents, but to make a proper sale, you will have to do all the work yourself.

This includes verifying the buyer and their intent, avoiding scammers and fraudulent real estate agents, and even ensuring the payments are legitimate.

Ready to Sell Your Property?

Real estate purchases and dealings might offer surprises to both first-timers and veteran sellers, so it’s good to have an understanding of why Craigslist home for sale by owner can be so dangerous.

If you need any additional insights, consider contacting us. We’re always more than happy to help!

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