I recently hired a contractor I found online here in Toledo. He’s great—he knows the city and has that special Toledo hard-work ethic. He’s one of the best electricians I’ve ever met. But, he also has a tendency to tell me really outlandish conspiracy theories about various foods. Broccoli is a government plot, and so on. When I ask him where he gets this stuff, he invariably answers that he saw it on the internet.
So, clearly, there are two sides to being online. It helped me find a great electrician, but it also is filled with weird, bad, or just plain useless information. The trick is knowing what you can trust and what is nonsense. This is doubly true when it comes to buying residential real estate for investment, which is why I usually tell people to avoid Craigslist.
Looking at Craigslist for your Toledo real estate deals is usually a waste of time. This is true if you’re searching for listings or advertising yourself. It might be free, but it usually isn’t even worth that much. It’s a waste of time, and potentially of your reputation, too.
The Trouble With Craigslist for Toledo Real Estate Listings
Craigslist, like the rest of the internet, has great things about it. It’s freewheeling, fun, and inherently democratic. But when it comes to real estate listings, there are serious problems. Here’s why I think it is a dead-end from both sides.
Obviously, every real estate investor needs leads. Some people go to sheriff auctions in Ohio, some pound the pavement, and some search online. And, one of the online stops is often Craigslist. I get why—it’s free!
But that doesn’t mean what you’re looking at is any good. Here are just a few of the problems with looking at the Toledo Craigslist for real estate deals.
- Wasted time. There are so many listings, you’re going to be spending a ton of time looking for the right one. In this business, your time is money.
- Competition. It’s free, so everyone in the business can check it out. There is a ton of competition for every property.
- Too much noise. The “real estate” button isn’t just for distressed homes. Not everything on it is your target home.
- Inability to focus. If you search for “distressed housing” you’re just going to get ads from other investors. That might help you find friends, but it doesn’t do much for your business.
- Commission trap. Searching for a “fixed-upper” gets you a lot of ads from real estate agents. These are fine people, and it isn’t like you can’t buy from an agent, but it is better to buy directly from a seller. It allows you the opportunity makes it more possible to negotiate prices.
- Lack of serious sellers. The “for sale by owner” isn’t usually filled with people who want to sell their homes quickly. More often, that’s just people testing the market to see how high they can’t get their askingbottom-line price. There are other places to go for serious sellers. So, you very well might be barking up the wrong tree.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of nonsense over on the Toledo Craigslist real estate section. It’s not that there aren’t deals and good houses there, but you have to sift through a lot of properties that aren’t what you’re looking for at all what you’re looking for.
Even when you find what seems like a good house, you’re just getting started. You still have to approach the potentially distressed home seller, hope they are serious about selling, and cross your fingers that they haven’t already been contacted by a dozen competitors.
It is really hard to find a good property. That’s why some investor-buyers put ads on there: so sellers will contact them. But that doesn’t always work out, either.
The Problem With Advertising Your Investing Business On the Toledo Craigslist
When Craigslist first came out, I was super excited. I thought—whoa! This is basically a free classified ads section. I can put an ad out there, touting myself as a trustworthy, honest buyer, and have people contact me. It seemed like a no-lose situation.
Needless to say, that wasn’t the case. There are a lot of problems with advertising on Craigslist. Here are just a few of them.
- It’s not free for businesses. You can probably still put out free ads, but if you want to promote them at all, or have them found, you’ll have to pay. That’s fine, but more than likely you won’t likely get a lot of results.
- It’s a lot of work to keep it current. Stale Craigslist ads make people think you’re not legit. To keep them current and active, you have to continually renew and recharge them. You have to do work to make sure people know you’re on the level.
- Too much competition. Everyone thinks that Craigslist is a great deal. That means they’re all on it. We saw above that if you search for “distressed homes” you get a million people in your business.
- It’s hard to stand out. There is a lot of noise on Craigslist. In order to stand out, a lot of buyers will use templates and cheap tactics, big and bold headlines like “OFFERING CRAZY HIGH PRICES” or stuff like that. It’s gross, it makes us all look bad, and it gives a sheen of bad vibes to anyone trying to buy on that website.
That’s sort of the whole point, to me. There is a lot of guilt by association when you try to buy an investment property on Craigslist. There are honest people on it, of course, but a lot of hacks and scammers, too. That makes you seem less trustworthy. And, to me, trust is the primary currency of this business.
Trust is what makes things work. Your reputation is why people want to deal with you. Your personality is what closes the deal. Craigslist makes all of that harder. It’s a dead end.
A Better Way To Find Real Estate Investment Leads in Toledo
Maybe it’s because I’m from here, but to me, trust is almost synonymous with Toledo. We can smell a scam a million miles away. It’s a Midwest thing, maybe. That’s why becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee is one of the best things I ever did in my career.
People trust HomeVestors. Homeowners have seen those nationally-known “We Buy Ugly Houses®” ads on billboards and television for years. People know that if they contact a Toledo-based HomeVestors® franchisee, they’ll work with someone they can trust. For me, it’s a legit qualified lead, and we’re starting from a place of trust. There’s no worries about it being a scam either way.
If you want a better way than Craigslist to find real estate deals in Toledo, request information from HomeVestors today. This is internet information you can count on.
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