craigslist And Real Estate - I Don't Get It

Posted by Joe Manausa on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at 11:56am.

Craigslist is to real estate as 8 track tape is to quality recording. Although its methodology is dated.

The internet has made shopping for a home so much easier, and many web sites have emerged with some great tools for homebuyers. But I have to admit that I just don't "get" craigslist when it comes to real estate.

Craigslist is to real estate as 8 track tape is to quality recording, but amazingly home buyers are still using the service. All craigslist does is run an old-fashioned bulletin board style site where anybody can post homes for sale. As each new home hits the site, it pushes the previous listing downward. This not exactly what I would consider user-friendly.

Typical Display Of Real Estate Ads On Craigslist

Advertise-Real-Estate-On-CraigslistSo just looking at the current ads, you see homes for sale mixed with homes for rent, and no practical way for a serious homebuyer or home seller to sort through the information. I could see this as being "state of the art" in the early 1990s, but how is it that people are using craigslist today for real estate?

Better Home Search Tools Than Craigslist

Homes For Sale in Tallahassee Florida MLSWith the creation of IDX feeds, most MLS systems now allow for real estate web sites to display all of the homes for sale in one location. As a matter of fact, our map-based MLS search tool has been very popular since we brought it online nearly two years ago, and tens of thousands of people have used it to search all the homes for sale in the Tallahassee MLS. Just clicking on the green "Property Search" button found in our header will take you to the page as shown below.

Real Estate Search Tool Better Than craigslist

Unlike doing a real estate search on craigslist where information is just scattered around, our Tallahassee MLS search tool allows our customers to see pictures and information on over 5,000 properties actively listed for sale. They can sort by area or by home features, and we have received a lot of positive feedback on our tools for homebuyers.

So the next time you want to look at homes for sale, don't think "craigslist real estate," think "Tallahassee Real Estate."

Joe Manausa, MBA is a 26 year veteran of real estate brokerage in Tallahassee, Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today's challenging market.

4 Responses to "craigslist And Real Estate - I Don't Get It"

Sarah R. wrote: Ok. You are right that Craigslist clearly does not compete with some other web sites. However, there is a reason it is successful in at least attracting viewers: the simplicity.

When I search real estate on Craigslist (which I do every now and then just for kicks)--I'm able to enter just a few parameters, and quickly browse listings, getting a rough feel for the state of homes for sale. The listing will give me just enough info to satisfy my curiosity without being overwhelming.

When I go to your site, say, I have many more search options, but once I click on a property I am almost overwhelmed with info and have a ton to read through. At that point in my house hunt I am not interested in reading too much--just getting a basic feel for things. When a buyer first starts out they are interested in three things: location, square footage, and appearance. Oh, and price. Four things!

Here's where CL wins. It's super simple. It lists just enough info to get my attention, or if it doesn't I disregard it completely. Now. Once I have viewed a listing on CL my computer remembers that and highlights the listing's link. I know not to reclick that if it doesn't interest me. On your site I see no way to select an individual home OUT from the listings. Whether I like it or not it is still there (if it fits my search parameters), clogging up my view. Of course the CL listing is still there as well, however, at least with the highlighted link it reminds me not to browse it again.

Also. One more thing. If a listing in CL has pics attached they are usually large enough to see. And ALL on the same page. That's big. If your site has pictures (which they do), they are only thumbnails and I have to click on each one (or watch the slideshow) to see each photo larger. I am telling you--this doesn't seem like it should be an annoyance, but truly, it is.

See the difference? With CL I really am not required to do much--just casually browse. Your site requires more work. Of course as I narrow down my search I would want more information, but not in the beginning. I know this makes it sound like people are super lazy, but seriously, the more simplistic you can make the website (and least in terms of how user-friendly it is), the better.

So these are the reasons I almost always head to CL when I want to browse real-estate, and not some other web site.

Oh, and there is one little thing site's like yours could do to make things great: floorplans attached to every listing. Is that too much to ask? Alright maybe it is-but it would be awesome!

Posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at 7:54pm.

R Foreman wrote: Don't sweat it man.. nobody's buying houses anyway. Until all the bad debt is flushed out of the banks and exposed, house prices will continue to fall, so you waste your time thinking about such things. Go back to school for some additional training or something. The government will continue supporting everyone.

Posted on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at 10:42pm.

John wrote: Craigslist should not be used by Real Estate Professionals in order to get more exposure for their listings. There are too many scams out there that copy-cat listings using them in the scam-artist's favor. Just my opinion.

Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2010 at 2:54am.

Brad wrote: Honestly I like the way craigslist works. For younger buyers this is where they will go to browse. It doesn't take much time to follow what is being posted each day. Nobody is going to buy a home just looking at the craigslist listing but its a great place to start. Smart sellers would include a link with more information and additional pictures. I wish there would be more postings on craigslist.

Tips for sellers would be,
Include location (ex. NE, SE, NW, SW) , size, land area and price in the subject.
Include link to a page with more information, maybe go to the Realtor listing site with the property info
Include the address so potential buyers can easily drive by and see how interested they are before they seek more info
Always include at least 4 pictures, nobody serious looks at ads without pics
Delete the posting and relist is often so it is reposted at the top of the list.


Good Luck selling!

Posted on Thursday, December 9th, 2010 at 11:40am.

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