There’s something straightforward about Craigslist. The bare-bones format, the anonymity, the strange and wonderful oddities you discover. You can learn a lot about a community by seeing just what sort of junk they’re out earnestly hawking on their digital front lawn, like the free guinea pig cage, broken-foot boot, or the three “large rocks” for $0 in Hilliard. Boy, what a deal—all I gotta do is find a backhoe to pick those rocks up with! 

Sure, Craigslist is full of scams, but at least it doesn’t pretend otherwise, which is somehow refreshing. You know what you’re getting, even when you’re getting yanked around. And, that’s why, as a professional real estate investor, I don’t go to Craigslist when I’m looking for leads. Because, honestly, I know what I’ll get. It’s like going to the junkyard to try and buy a house—even if you find one, it’s a doubtful investment at best. To tell you the truth, if trawling “Craigslist OH real estate for sale” is your primary lead-generating strategy, I’ve got a couple rocks you might be interested in. 

Up and Coming Chicago Neighborhoods for 2019: Where Investors Should Be Looking

How Not to Buy Columbus Real Estate: The Craigslist Way

Of course, you can make a real estate deal on Craigslist and you might even get lucky and see a return when you rehab and sell it. But, this strategy is slow and unreliable. For every Ohio investment property you find, you’ll waste months on bum deals and dead ends. Here’s why: 

  • Junk. Out of the hundreds of real estate ads cycling through Craigslist, maybe a handful represent sound investments. Others are too expensive, too dilapidated, or too close to an overpass. Some of these issues you can pick up on online, but others you won’t discover until you’ve exchanged emails or made visits. Dead ends on Craigslist can cost weeks. 
  • Traffic. Columbus real estate investors are as thick on Craigslist as commuters on 670. So, any seller you talk to will also be talking to many other interested parties. This can drive up prices, and increase a seller’s response times as they consider their offers. Just when you think you’re almost home free, someone can swoop in from the fast lane to cut you off. 
  • Too Many Ads. Other real estate investors don’t just click on ‘for sale’ posts—they also post their own ads, offering cash for distressed homes. So, any time you search for distressed homes, or any other relevant key word, you’ll have to slog through a blizzard of unhelpful other posts. 
  • Everybody Wants Their Cut. Many of the houses listed on Craigslist are being sold by real estate agents, not owners. That’s a route you can take, but you’ve got to pay the toll. Agents demand commissions; commissions come out of your profit margin. The lower your margins, the more deals you need to make.
  • Sandbags. Even “for sale by owner” homes on Craigslist aren’t necessarily for sale. Since listings are free and no commitment is required, homeowners use them to test the market. You can waste a month trying to negotiate with someone who’s just sandbagging you to see what they can get away with. 

When you give up on searching for Columbus real estate investment deals on the Craigslist website, nothing’s stopping you from posting ads targeting distressed homeowners on Craigslist. But a few things will stop people from clicking on them. For one, Craigslist charges businesses to display ads. You can post for free, but they won’t be easily found if you don’t pay. Even then, the time you’ll spend posting probably won’t yield the results you need. Why? 

Posting eats a lot of time. Craigslist displays about 6-7 listings “above the fold,” before people have to scroll down. If 15 posts go live in a day, you’ll need to post twice to keep yourself directly visible. That’s every day. Coming up with a new way to say the same thing that often can be trying; you’ll probably end up repeating yourself. So, your choice is to spam out canned posts or to let your fresh posts get pushed to the back of the shelf, out of reach. 

Worse, even if you do spam your way to the front, there isn’t much to distinguish your spam from the spam next to it. Craigslist’s real estate section is full of investors advertising their businesses. Many of these businesses are mostly the same. There are only so many ways to stand out with capital letters, dollar signs, and exclamation points. And, screaming for attention this way seems desperate—it doesn’t do a lot to build trust, especially in a forum where trust is honestly lacking. 

Put yourself in the shoes of a distressed homeowner. For one, would you call yourself that? Next, would you trust any offer from what appears to be a desperate pitch on Craigslist? It has almost the same level of legitimacy as handwritten flyers taped to poles. Would you call the number on a tattered flyer? Or, would you call the one on the professionally-designed billboard above it? 

Fielding Leads in Columbus Without Craigslist

C’mon, you’d call the number on the billboard. You know how I know? It says “We Buy Ugly Houses®” and there are thousands like it across the country. Since I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, that’s how I’ve sourced nearly all of my qualified leads. It’s a nationally-known brand, so people call you when they’re serious because they trust that you have the resources and ethics to treat them fairly and with respect. I get enough qualified leads from earnest homeowners, year after year, that I have been able to keep growing my professional real estate investing business.

If you want to finally get off Craigslist and get into professional real estate investing, request information from HomeVestors® today


Each franchise office is independently owned and operated. 



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