5 Useful Craigslist San Diego Real Estate Tips to Use in 2021

Many people looking to buy a property may look online for great deals. That can yield results, but most that come up under search results are posted by real estate agents. While that is a good way to find a home, it isn’t the only way. Real estate agents only have a portion of the housing market. There are other hidden deals out there and you can use the real estate section of Craigslist San Diego to find them.

There are a couple of reasons why Craigslist is a good way to find a home. Many of those posting on the site are homeowners looking to sell their house themselves. That could mean they are highly motivated sellers. The other reason it is a good option is Craigslist can open up other options to find a home that you wouldn’t normally even think about, let alone research or see.

Below are five useful Craigslist tips when searching for San Diego real estate.

Here's a quick rundown of our list:

Pay attention to key words and use them.

There are certain words that mean the seller is motivated and you want to see those sellers. So, in your search terms under the housing category on Craigslist use words like divorce, PCS (a military term for moving or transferred), health, surgery, death, illness or bankruptcy.

These are all people who need to sell their house. Be aware that most are looking for quick money, so it is best to offer cash in order to close the deal quickly. 

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Beyond these initial words, there are some other top words to search on Craigslist. Those include fixer, fix up, ARV, TCLC and estate sale. All of those using those terms are likely motivated sellers. 

One aspect of this to be aware of is distinguishing motivated sellers from wholesalers. A For-sale-by owner (FSBO) will be looking for cash buyers and typically are up front about their home. A wholesaler also wants cash buyers, but sometimes will set a misleading advertisement to drawn in buyers and re-direct them to less favorable properties. It’s the classic bait and switch. Knowing who you are dealing with from the beginning will help you avoid such scams.

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Group your leads together. 

This is pretty simple to do using a computer program like IFTTT. The acronym stands for “if this, then that” and it is a website that automatically groups your stuff together.  You can set up a process to pull specific ads using your keywords and search criteria from Craigslist automatically and send them to your email.

The obvious benefit is you get the ads before other people who don’t use the site. That puts you ahead of the game on getting a bid on a desirable property. That could be a key factor in getting a great deal in San Diego where housing is competitive. The only drawback is more people are becoming aware of the site, so you may see more competition in the future.

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Contact landlords of rental properties.

This is a little out-of-the-box thinking, but truly all San Diego landlords could be home sellers. Go to the rental section of Craigslist and look at what’s for rent. If you see a home that you like, contact the property owner and see if they will sell it either for a cash purchase or in a rent-to-own program. Cash is always king, so it could motivate them to sell. 

Rent-to-own programs are popular today because help those who have had some credit issues get into a home. For the landlord, it puts someone in their rental and eventually will lead to a sale that will put cash in their pocket and takes an investment property off their hands. Either sales option could be a good deal for a landlord if he has had trouble keeping renters or is fed up with the hassles of investment property.

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Look under the garage and estate sales section. 

This is another unique way of using Craigslist to find a home. People have garage and estate sales for two reasons. They either want to clear out items for their new stuff or they are moving. It seriously pays to find out which way they are leaning. 

This is particularly true in San Diego where there are a number of business transfers and military moves. It is a good way to get to know a homeowner before they actually place an ad too because most use a garage or estate sale as a preliminary task to prepare for a move. They clear out their unnecessary items and fix up the property before listing it. Getting to know them before the house goes on the market could put you in a great position for landing an awesome deal.

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Post an ad yourself. 

Some people may not think about posting an ad to buy a property, but it is another great option. Use solid keywords in your Craigslist ad, just as if you were searching for a property. Words like vacant house, repairs needed, divorce, bad tenants, tax liens, death, and probate sale are excellent choices. 

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Once you start communicating with sellers, keep your email responses simple. They really don’t want to read a lengthy explanation as to why you want their house. They are really just concerned with your offer. Be prepared to negotiate as well. 

Using these tips will help you find some properties not typically listed in real estate ads and could lead you to the perfect San Diego home for you and your family!

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