An Effective Craigslist Marketing Strategy

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Besides direct mail there’s another marketing method that is doing well for me right now. It’s completely free and it takes me about 10 minutes a day to do. Actually, I don’t do it myself anymore, but it takes my assistant Lisa about 10 minutes every day.

Also, the reason I’m writing about it today is because is I’m currently evaluating several potential deals from this method (sub-2’s and lease options). What am I referring to exactly? Well, you’re probably not going to be too excited (I’ll tell you why in a moment) but I’m referring to Craigslist.

The reason you’re probably not too excited is because you’ve probably tried Craigslist before. But I’m willing to guess the reason you didn’t get any deals from the site is because you didn’t have a strategy and you didn’t have quality advertising.

Here’s my Craigslist Strategy:

First, I only go after absentee landlords. I go to the “for rent” section and I find the type of houses I like to do deals on: 3 bed/2bath, bread and butter houses. Then I simply email them. (I’ll give you the exact email I use in a minute).

Now, just as with any marketing method, it only works when you are consistent. I recommend emailing at least 5 landlords per day, five days a week. That will mean you send 100 emails a month and if you truly do this, you could realistically get a deal a month just off Craigslist.

So why doesn’t everyone do this?

Because it takes discipline. Most people will not force themselves to email 5 landlords every single day of the week. The way I solved this problem is that I did it first thing in the morning, at the same time every day. I schedule my day by the minute so my schedule would look something like 6:10-6:20 email landlords on Craigslist. And once you get in this routine it’s easy to stay there. If you don’t do it one day you’ll feel guilty and like you missed something.

So as I promised, the word-for-word ad I use is below. This has made me and my friends who I’ve shared this ad with a lot of money. One more thing. I’d like to give you a quick 30 day challenge. For 30 days follow the above plan of sending out the daily emails. Then shoot me an email a month from now and let me know how many deals you closed.

Now to the ad…

Your property looks very good. I was wondering if you might be interested in a lease with option to buy, with the property. This is where I would rent the property from you and you would allow me to buy it down the line. In a lease option, I would lease the house from you for a period of 3-5 years and then purchase it during the term. During the term, I would GUARANTEE the rent and, maintenance and when I bought the property, you would save 6% on Realtor’s fees and I would pay almost all of the closing costs (because I’m not a Realtor, I don’t charge you any fees or commissions). Landlords love this program, because they get guaranteed rent, even if the property is vacant.

I know this might sound a little confusing, so please email me back and I will be happy to explain everything.

Have a great day and please let me know if you are interested in a hassle free rental of this property. If you are not interested now, please keep this in mind in the future. Also, please visit our website for more information on how we assist landlords. Thank you.

P.S. Don’t forget to ask for our free special report, “The 5 little-known ways to eliminate tenant hassles forever.”

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.


  1. I have done the same thing and my success rate has been fantastic! Finding sellers has been easy – finding buyers on the other hand has been a little bit harder on CL.

  2. Great article Jason,

    I have had success emailing rental listings on Craigslist as well. As I’m sure you know, there is tremendous demand from buyers for lease option or rent to own listings. I put up some ads with just the cross streets and received 70 emails in about 5 weeks. Lease options are a great strategy and many creative ways to profit if done correctly.

  3. Jason, thanks for the idea. My question is, what is your exit strategy with this tactic? Are you then going to lease purchase to another buyer within the time frame that you are lease purchasing from owner?

    • I know this is old post, but good info (and good question about exit), especially since owner still holds deed- would like to see copy of lease to protect yourself and availability to sub-let

  4. yes i would guess Jason will try to find an actual lease to purchase tenant or flat out purchase buyer that agrees to buy the house at a sales priced higher than the price he and the current owner have agreed on and there is his profit on the whole deal. Problem is he’ll have to make the lease payments in the meantime while finding that ideal buyer or lease to purchase mentioned here. If he finds one to lease purchase, it would be icing if that monthly payment is higher than the one he has committed to for a positive cashflow.

    • Jay von Mohr on

      Yeah, Jason always puts in his deals that he won’t begin making payments for (at least) 60 days to give himself time to get a tenant buyer in there.

      We are doing cooperative lease options (wholesaling the contract to the tenant buyer). So it’s more of a “get in, get out” deal.

      Personally I don’t like the idea of guarantying to pay the rent for 5 years. Seems like it could be a bit risky (especially for new investors).

      Although that obviously makes it way easier to close any landlord prospect.

      We also target fsbo’s on CL with a similar email approach. I was doing 100/day a while back (it helps to be obsessive/compulsive…lol).


  5. in the ad you say you would pay the paymetns guarantee. would you just make the payments if you couldnt find a tenant or buyer? what if you cant find one for a year?
    it seems like a bad idea to guarantee payments while no one is in there so whats the trick?

  6. I know this is a very old post but it does make a very interesting point. My question to Jason is how do you structure a deal when this brings a response. Obviously you sale the proposition on the landlord no longer having to deal with tenants is worth a deep discount in their original asking price. But how much of a discount do you ask for. Say the advertised rent is 1000/month do you try to negotiate 500/month?

    Same question applies to purchase price. Please provide a quick example of what kind of numbers and discounts you are pursuing.


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