Common Craigslist Mistakes for Real Estate Ads


If you have been in real estate sales for any length of time, chances are you’ve probably used Craigslist at one point to market your home or condo listings. And if you live in a major market such as Chicago for example, you’re also probably aware of the horrible over-saturation of apartment finding ads that make local home buyers and renters want to scream –  but that’s another topic for another day.

As a free service, posting ads on Craigslist can be an extremely effective and affordable way to reach home buyers in your area; but only if you follow the right steps. More often than not, real estate agents who post Craigslist ads fail to follow the basic guidelines that will make their property listing stand-out. So how exactly can you avoid this little problem? Well let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes made when posting a real estate advertisement to Craigslist:

The Headline Fails to Give Viewers Adequate Information

Example Post: “Two Bedroom Condo w/ Stainless Steel & Hardwood”

When it comes to purchasing or renting a home, most home buyers want location, location, location. Once they’ve narrowed down a search radius, they will likely choose from the inventory in this designated region. So instead of including details such as stainless steel or hardwood, mention the size (in bedrooms), the location (neighborhood), and the price.

An example of an effective, eye-catching headline on Craigslist

New Post: “Downtown 2 Bdrm Condo at $1,900/month”

Once viewers know your post fits their qualifications in terms of size, location, and price, then they can learn more about the property once they click on your post to see more information.

ALWAYS Include Pictures

Of course the headline text is what will draw home buyers or potential tenants to your post, but once they click on your link to find out more information, they’re also going to want to see as many pictures as possible.

Not only will providing lots of great photos help people understand if your place works for them, but it will ultimately save you time in the long-run. Say you don’t include pictures and only provide a “detailed” description.  The next thing you know, you’re scheduling multiple showings to people who actually had something completely different in mind and your listing isn’t at all what people are looking for. If this happens, now you have wasted both your time and theirs. Not a great start to getting your listing rented or sold as soon as possible.

Professional, well-taken photos and even a floor plan can make an overwhelming difference on Craigslist

Correctly Format Your Template

If your real estate website has a template that will automatically generate Craigslist ads (and if it doesn’t, invest in a Real Estate Web Creation site!), make sure the dimensions are formatted correctly and the ad appears clean, once posted. Nothing looks worse than a real estate ad that is arranged crooked with none of the links lining up where they should.

Oddly formed Craigslist ads can absolutely take away from the property you’re advertising, so make sure this doesn’t happen to you. While it doesn’t make your listing any better or  any worse, it can sometimes prompt users to move on to another listing without even giving yours a second glance.

Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and possesses a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working in the market research sector and authoring published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and co-owns Real Estate Web Creation with his partner, Ted Guarnero, a 25+ year real estate veteran.


  1. These are all really important points and we tell our clients the same things.

    One thing I would add would be making sure your Craigslist ads have good grammar and spelling. Even the Huffington Post covered how important grammar and spelling were to the effectiveness of Craigslist ads.