3 Ways to Find Amazing Real Estate Deals on Craigslist

by | BiggerPockets.com

In the “good ole days,” people used the newspaper to place classified ads. Although the newspaper might still be an effective tool in some areas, a new business has emerged that is quickly putting newspaper classifieds out of business: Craigslist.

Craigslist is an online classified section where it is free to post and free to browse, so it makes a great resource for finding real estate deals. There are three strategies I want to share for using Craigslist.

3 Ways to Find Amazing Real Estate Deals on Craigslist

1. Search for sellers.

Perhaps the easiest and most passive way to use Craigslist is to simply search the site for real estate postings in your area. You can do this fairly easily and can even automate the process so new posts that contain certain words that you choose are sent directly to your email inbox (you can do this through IFTTT.com). The problem with this strategy is that there are a lot of folks doing this. If you want to get really creative, you need to go on the offensive, which brings me to the next tip in this list.

2. Post an ad.

Why wait for the deals to come to you? Instead, post an ad that says you are looking for a house to buy. Make it big, and make it flashy. Get people’s attention!

Related: These Are the Real Estate Deals You Should Absolutely Avoid

3. Search for landlords.

Perhaps my favorite use of Craigslist is actually in contacting landlords who are posting on Craigslist. Landlording is not easy, and as I often say, 90% of landlords out there suck! Many landlords lose money year after year and are only hanging on to their property because they know it would be hard to sell without first fixing it up. Therefore, you can use Craigslist to search for rental listings that appear to have been placed by “mom and pop” landlords (not professional property management companies).

Most likely, the landlord put their phone number directly in the post, so call them! Explain that you are looking to invest in real estate in their area and saw their post, and although you aren’t interested in renting it, you may be interested in buying a property. Even if they don’t want to sell that particular property, there is a chance they will have something else they do want to sell or they know someone else who does. Worst case scenario, you build a relationship with a local investor. Maybe you’ll even gain a mentor out of the deal!

Related: 5 Strategies for Finding Deals in Today’s Hot Market

Craigslist truly is a no-brainer when you are on the hunt for a good deal. Not only is it free, but it’s also where people go to buy and sell things. So why not take five minutes today and find a great deal on Craigslist?

Have you ever found a deal on Craigslist?

Comment below!

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxNews.com, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with his wife Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. Jerry W.

    I have used Craigslist to advertise and looked at a lot of properties on there, but I have never found a property to buy from craigslist. I have emailed and called a fair number of people renting properties on there as well. i use it as one of the ways to keep up on rent prices from other landlords. However there is still a chance I will get one someday.

  2. James Barnhart

    I love Craigslist as a real estate source. I bought a nice house last year that a wholesaler had posted for sale. I check CL EVERY day. You can’t wait, or people like me might get it ahead of you.
    In addition to Brandon’s tips, which I also do, I go to the CL home page and click on the “For Sale” tab. Then, I type in estate sales, and I contact EVERYONE that has any type of ad there to dig up real estate leads.
    For instance, if I see an ad about someone selling jewelry at an estate sale, I still talk to them, and ask if any property is for sale, and offer to pay them $500 to be a bird dog and agree to tell them if I find jewelry for sale someplace. I ask CL garage sale folks if the property is also for sale. Sometimes it is, and the folks want to get rid of it. I contact movers that advertise on CL if they know folks that are selling their homes. They also become bird dogs. When reading CL ads for cars, RV’s or boats for sale, I have found houses for sale also.
    So, use CL to find some good real estate deals for sale on CL.

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