This link will take you to the seminal YouTube experience to describe Craigslist in a way that I can’t with words. The combined media of song, video, editing, and satire encapsulates everything that is magical about this online commune of weirdness… and nails it on the head why my listings are never found on this site.
This has nothing to do with bashing Craiglist. I have seen scams that involved my listings, but that happens with a free list-serv. I think Craigslist is a good tool. I use it in my own life. I just do not think it sells real estate the way sellers want their real estate sold. The reason is that it keeps sellers from getting the highest possible offer.
Craigslist is a great place to get rid of a 27″ tubed Phillips TV. If you want to get rid of your faceless angel dolls in a heartbeat, put them here. If you have Al’s “Styrofoam peanuts” but want to keep the trash can… you can’t find anything better.
But a $250,000 property? If someone is going to haggle over the $20 TV, and as Mr. Yanokovic adroitly satirizes, the winner of the free styrofoam peanuts is going to want to them delivered or accessible after work hours… well how on earth is a posting on Cragislist actually positioning a seller to be in the best negotiating position possible? All it does is say “bring the offers, however ridiculous”.
The point of marketing is to tell the story of the product. I was once educated in a national franchise training class that “the point of marketing is to place the product in the eyes of as many people as possible”, that “effective marketing” accesses as many people at one time, and that more equals more.
Well more does not equal more anymore.
We are bombarded with advertising and chatter and noise. Advertising is a pitch; marketing is story telling. If the product is not worth telling a story about, the product is not worth buying. If the story is worth telling, tell the story so it can be understood. Put the story in the appropriate context. Put the story in a medium where it belongs. There are a million other real estate related websites out there. The online flea market classifieds is probably not the best.
Places I have used Craigslist (or my clients have right after closing or right before listing) effectively in real estate include the following:
- Obtaining or getting rid of moving boxes
- Finding an electrician who could help out on a basement re-wire that afternoon
- Marketing an Open House
- Marketing an Open House near a specific event or at an unusual time
- Getting rid of furniture on a property that needed to be listed and sold quickly.
These are all services and needs that are not directly tied to the negotiating aspect of selling a home. All of these are value-adds that make things easier for sellers and easier for buyers to do something in conjunction with the property. In these cases, Craigslist is a very effective tool for real estate. It’s the pitching wedge for the short shot.
But don’t want use the pitching wedge on the green.
Smart marketing places the product in the right field of play. Bernice Ross, in her post today on “5 Reasons Your Home has not Sold” on Inman News gets straight to the point with her number one reason: it is not so much price as it is price range. Crazy stat around here: $375,000 to $399,999 has 13 months of inventory right now. $425,000 to $449,999 has 16 months. $400,000 to $425,000? 6.2 months of inventory. Now that does not say that a home priced at $395,000 with no traffic will see traffic at $410,000… but stranger things are sometimes true. A fellow agent in our office had a property in Walden at $490,000 and no showings. She changed the price to $500,000 and offered 2% buyer concessions (same net) since no one associated listings of that price as possible in Walden and got 3 showings in 30 days.
Smart marketing places the product in the right field of play.