Craigslist has long been a go-to spot for quick, easy listings of anything from furniture to personal ads, and has been one of the country’s most popular sources for apartment listings. But does Craigslist work for rentals anymore? While many landlords have no doubt had success using the classifieds juggernaut, Craigslist is now over 20 years old, and its age is really starting to show. You know how important it is to make your properties look great when marketing, and that is just as true for the platform on which renters find you. So, when it comes to property listings, it’s time to start exploring alternatives to Craigslist.
Craigslist is a Convenient Tool, but Comes with Drawbacks
Craigslist’s biggest strength is also its weakness: it’s incredibly easy for anyone to post a listing. That means advertising your property requires no more than a few clicks of a button, but also that scams and imposters are rampant. When the question is does Craigslist work?, the answer is decidedly “yes” for scammers. The Better Business Bureau found over 29,000 fake apartment listings across 20 major cities in 2016. Imposters are copying listings that aren’t theirs in an attempt to swindle money from unsuspecting apartment hunters, posing as middlemen handling the property while the landlord is overseas. There are risks for landlords as well, and the ease of posting rental listings is being increasingly outweighed by the onus of having to navigate your way through scammers, spam, and questionable inquiries.
Additional Reading: Easy Ways to Add Personality to Your Property Listings
So What Other Options are There?
Generally, potential renters interested in getting verified information about the listing, price, and neighborhood itself aren’t going to be using Craigslist. Luckily, the internet has plenty of options for these prospective tenants and the landlords trying to catch their eye. Zillow is one of the largest property listing sites in the country (and only got bigger after acquiring competitor Trulia) and enables landlords to create attractive, detailed listings for their properties, along with several tools for prospective renters to compare listings. More importantly, it has a more rigorous verification process than Craigslist – if you’re interested in finding people more serious about finding a property rather than window shoppers, sites like Zillow are a good bet.
Consider Other Listing Aggregator Websites
The options don’t stop with Zillow, so if you’re searching for an alternative but still want to maximize the visibility of your listing, there are other reliable websites to use. Realtor.com, run by the National Association of Realtors, offers extensive and up-to-date information on its listings and realtors. Meanwhile, Redfin.com allows users to rate real estate agents, something other leading sites don’t offer.
Additional Reading: How to Improve your Rental Website
Remember the Four Magical Words: Local is Always Better
Just as we’ve advised to consult local landlord’s associations when seeking help or advice, the benefits of going local rings true for property listings. If you’re living in or near a major city, a quick Google search will yield a property listing site geared towards your area: for example, Chicago has Domu, and New York City has CityRealty. Localized websites such as these offer savvy services that the larger aggregator sites cannot.
So, what’s the answer? Does Craigslist work anymore? The answer is… sorta. It may be beneficial, dependent on your market, to continue to use Craigslist. But be wary of scammers and the types of renters such a service will attract. And as always, have a few alternatives for yourself. Use other sites and listing services to give yourself the best crop of potential renters possible.
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