how to flip houses on craigslist

Craigslist Hacks for Finding Deals

After finding and flipping hundreds of deals in markets all across the country, successful investor Jerry Norton found Craigslist to be one of the fastest, easiest and most reliable methods to find & flip off-market properties (not to mention it’s FREE). After 15 years of trial and error, this guide reveals his most successful techniques for finding and flipping deals on Craigslist.

This guide covers 2 parts…

  • Part 1: How to Find Deals on Craigslist
  • Part 2:  How to Flip Deals on Craigslist

I hope you find Jerry’s Copy & Paste Craigslist Hacks resource a handy and helpful guide!

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Part 1: How to Find Deals on Craigslist

Searching for Deals Posted on Craigslist

In part 1, you’ll learn the two most effective methods for finding deals on Craigslist. When searching for deals on Craigslist, there are 2 different types of leads that you’ll find…

Motivated Sellers: For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) (off-market) properties posted on Craigslist directly by sellers who are looking for cash-buyer investors to buy their distressed properties.

Wholesalers: Active and local wholesalers who are posting their deals for sale on Craigslist looking for cash-buyer investors.

*PRO TIP: Often wholesalers run what I call “poaching” ads. This is where they repeatedly post the same property for sale. When you contact them about that particular property on the post, it’s conveniently “no longer available” but they have another property you may be interested in or at least request to add you to their buyer’s list.

When searching Craigslist for deals, you need to decipher if the post is a FSBO from a motivated seller or a wholesaler. Sometimes it’s obvious by the post description and details and other times it’s hard to tell due to limited information. Either way, you’ll need to reply to the post to start a conversation and get more information.

Fortunately, Craigslist has a search feature which means you can search “key words or phrases” that indicate a distressed property and/or motivated seller. When you search a key word or phrase, Craigslist will serve a list of posts that have that specific word/phrase somewhere in the title or body of the post. Here is the step-by-step shortcut to searching for leads…

STEP 1: Go to your local craigslist market (craigslist.org).

STEP 2: Click on the tab “housing”.

STEP 3: Put a “key word” in the search bar that indicates a distressed property and/or a motivated seller.

HERE IS A LIST OF THE TOP KEYWORDS TO SEARCH:

  • Fix
  • Fixer
  • Fix Up
  • Fix and Flip
  • Flip
  • Wholesale
  • Handyman
  • Flashlight
  • As Is
  • Bank owned
  • REO
  • Desperate
  • Condemned
  • Motivated
  • Code
  • violations
  • OBO
  • ARV
  • TLC
  • Estate sale
  • Probate
  • Must Sell
  • Cash only
  • Cash sale
  • Retired
  • Bank
  • Financing available
  • Owner financing
  • Seller finance
  • Lease option
  • Owner will carry
  • Transferred
  • Foreclosure

  • Divorce

Once a lead is identified, there may be a lot of detail (description, pictures, address, contact info, etc) or there may be very limited info.

Replying to Posts

Once you identify a lead that you are interested in pursuing, you will need to “start a conversation” by replying to the post. Your goal is to find out if the property is still available for sale and get more information so you can properly run the numbers and make an offer.

You will reply to the post differently depending on whether the lead is a FSBO or wholesaler. Here are your copy and paste scripts…

FSBO POST REPLY SCRIPT:

Hi, I am a local cash investor and I saw your post on craigslist and I’d like to make you an all-cash offer to purchase your property and I can close quickly. Please let me know if the property is still available. If so, when is a good time that we can discuss in further detail?

WHOLESALER POST REPLY SCRIPT:

Hi, I am a local cash buyer and I noticed you advertise your wholesale deals on craigslist. I’d like to get added to your cash buyer email list and get notified when you have new deals available. Please email me a current list of your available properties. Below is my contact info. Finally, I’d like to do a call with you to discuss the areas I farm for deals, my buy criteria and the process to work with you. When is a good time we can talk?

Posting Ads on Craigslist

The 2nd way to find deals on Craigslist is to advertise as a “cash buyer.” Since Craigslist shows the most recent posts at the top, the older posts get pushed down. The key to succesful posting on Craigslist is to stay at the top of the searches, which means you need to post frequently (follow the rules outlined by Craigslist with how frequently you can post).

STEP 1: Once logged-in, click “post”

STEP 2: What type of posting is this: Select – “housing wanted”

STEP 3: Choose a category: Select – “real estate wanted”

STEP 4: POSTING TITLE: “We Buy Houses CASH, As-Is, Any Condition, Close Quickly”

STEP 5: POSTING BODY:

If you have a problem property or a troublesome situation, I may be able to offer you peace of mind to wash your hands of a less than desirable property situation.

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • Vacant House
  • Repairs Needed
  • Fire Damaged
  • Mold Damaged
  • Divorce
  • Bad Tenant(s)
  • Behind on Taxes/Payments
  • Probate Sale
  • Estate Sale

I am prepared to buy your house as-is… and will pay you all cash. Size, location or condition doesn’t matter- even if you have little or no equity. I will even pay ALL the closing costs for you.

We are looking for properties in ___________ (your metro area market) and the surrounding area and can pay cash and close quickly.

Advantages of working with us:

  • No Agents or Commissions
  • No Closing Costs
  • No Repairs Needed
  • No Cleaning Needed
  • No Hassles or Headaches

If you’d like to sell your home for a fair price, simply reply to this post with your info and phone number and we’ll give you a call today and we’ll make you an offer — no risk or obligation.

P.S. Problem houses and difficult situations are my specialty

At the very bottom of the post add the following list of key words…

[known as “tags” these key words will help other investors searching for deals to find your post]

Fix, fixer, upper, investment, real estate, flip, ARV, rehab, handyman, motivated, wholesale, after repair value, ARV, motivated, code violations, probate, foreclosure, REO, bank, bank-owned, rental, buy and hold, landlord, lease option, seller financing, subject-to, land contract, condemned, cash buyer, as is, bankruptcy, cheap, need to sell, fast, repairs, equity, default

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Part 2: How to Flip Deals on Craigslist

Search for Cash Buyers

Craigslist is also a great place to find cash buyers to build your list as well, as you wholesale your deals. Here are 2 ways to wholesale your deals…

Cash buyers like to actively post ads (advertise) on craigslist (“We Buy Houses Cash” posts).

These posts are designed to find motivated sellers and wholesalers (deals). Searching and finding these cash buyers is a great way to build your cash buyer list and contact them about your current deal you’re wholesaling.

Follow the same process used when searching for deals, to also find cash buyers…

STEP 1: Go to your local craigslist market (craigslist.org)

STEP 2: Click on the tab “housing”

STEP 3: Put a “key word” in the search bar that indicates a distressed property and/or a motivated seller:

HERE IS A LIST OF THE TOP KEY WORDS TO SEARCH:

  • Fix
  • Fixer
  • Fix Up
  • Fix and Flip
  • Flip
  • Wholesale
  • Handyman
  • Flashlight
  • As Is
  • Bank owned
  • REO
  • Desperate
  • Condemned
  • Motivated
  • Code violations
  • OBO
  • ARV
  • TLC
  • Estate sale
  • Probate
  • Must Sell
  • Cash only
  • Cash sale
  • Retired
  • Bank
  • Financing available
  • Owner financing
  • Seller finance
  • Lease option
  • Owner will carry
  • Transferred
  • Foreclosure
  • Divorce

Craigslist will generate a list of posts that match the key word you searched. This time, rather than looking for FSBO and wholesaler leads (deals), look for cash buyers that are advertising to buy distressed properties such as “we buy houses cash.”

Replying to Posts

Once you identify a lead that you are interested in pursuing, you will need to “start a conversation” by replying to the post. Your goal is to get the cash buyer’s contact info to add to your cash buyer list and contact them about the deal you’re wholesaling.

CASH BUYER LIST BUILDING REPLY SCRIPT:

Hi, I saw you post on Craigslist that you are looking for investment properties. I am a local investor as well and often get good wholesale deals that you may be interested in. Let me know the areas you invest in, the types of deals you’re looking for, and your buy criteria. Also, I’d like to add you to my email list so I can notify you when I get deals. When is a good time that we can discuss in further detail?

CASH BUYER FOR YOUR DEAL SCRIPT:

Hi, I saw you post on Craigslist that you are looking for investment properties. I am a local investor as well and happen to have a great deal that I’m looking to wholesale that you may be interested in. What is your contact info and a good time we can discuss in further detail?

Posting Wholesaler Ads

The second way to find cash buyers is to regularly post wholesaler ads. The purpose is to market to investors searching Craigslist for deals. Since Craigslist shows the most recent posts at the top, the older posts get pushed down. The key to successful posting on Craigslist is to stay at the top of the searches, which means you need to post frequently (follow the rules outlined by Craigslist with how frequently you can post). Follow these steps when posting ads…

STEP 1: Once logged-in, click “post”

STEP 2: What type of posting is this: Select – “housing wanted”

STEP 3: Choose a category: Select – “real estate – by owner”

STEP 4: POSTING TITLE: “Handyman Specials, Cheap Fix & Flip Deals, Get on Our VIP Buyers List”

STEP 5: Posting Body:

Are you looking for deeply discounted fixer upper properties with built in equity? Do you want to invest in real estate but can’t find the right deal?

As a premier real estate investment firm, we are able to acquire great investment deals. Some deals fit our criteria to keep, but many of them we pass off to other investors in the marketplace.

Due to our effective marketing initiatives, we’re able to acquire these deals at steep discounts and pass those savings on to you! Whether you plan to buy and hold as a rental property or fix up the property and re-sell it, check out our inventory of available properties and be sure to join our VIP Property Deals List today to receive notification about great deals as soon as they become available.

At the very bottom of the post add the following list of key words…[known as “tags” these key words will help other investors searching for deals to find your post]

Fix, fixer, upper, investment, real estate, flip, ARV, rehab, handyman, motivated, wholesale, after repair value, arv, motivated, code violations, probate, foreclosure, REO, bank, bank owned, rental, buy and hold, landlord, lease option, seller financing, subject-to, land contract, condemned, cash buyer, as is, bankruptcy, cheap, need to sell, fast, repairs, equity, default

“Poaching” for Cash Buyers

What I refer to as “poaching for cash buyers,” the 3rd way to find cash buyers is to frequently post “dummy” ads on Craigslist. The strategy is to post the same deal for sale with very little details meant to draw in a cash buyer. When the cash buyer contacts you for further details, that deal in conveniently no longer available but you have other deals that are or add them to your buyer’s list.

Since Craigslist shows the most recent posts at the top, the older posts get pushed down. The key to successful posting on Craigslist is to stay at the top of the searches, which means you need to post frequently (follow the rules outlined by Craigslist with how frequently you can post). Follow these steps when posting ads…

STEP 1: Once logged-in, click “post”

STEP 2: What type of posting is this: Select – “housing wanted”

STEP 3: Choose a category: Select – “real estate – by owner”

STEP 4: Posting title: “Must Sell – Fixer Upper in Great Location”. OR “Handyman Special – Great Fix and Flip Opportunity”

STEP 5: POSTING BODY:

Great handyman special/fix and flip opportunity for a cash buyer. Won’t last long. Contact me ASAP to access the property and for further details.

Include 1 ugly exterior picture (upload)

At the very bottom of the post add the following list of key words…[known as “tags” these key words will help other investors searching for deals to find your post]

Fix, fixer, upper, investment, real estate, flip, ARV, rehab, handyman, motivated, wholesale, after repair value, arv, motivated, code violations, probate, foreclosure, REO, bank, bank owned, rental, buy and hold, landlord, lease option, seller financing, subject-to, land contract, condemned, cash buyer, as is, bankruptcy, cheap, need to sell, fast, repairs, equity, default

Posting Your Actual Wholesale Deals

The 4th way to wholesale deals on Craigslist is to advertise your actual deals on Craigslist. As mentioned earlier, since Craigslist shows the most recent posts at the top, the older posts get pushed down. The key to successful posting on Craigslist is to stay at the top of the searches, which means you need to post frequently (follow the rules outlined by Craigslist with how frequently you can post). Follow these steps to post your deals…

STEP 1: Once logged-in, click “post”

STEP 2: What type of posting is this: Select – “housing offered”

STEP 3: Choose a category: Select – “real estate – by owner”

STEP 4: POSTING TITLE: Must Sell – Fixer Upper in Great Location Handyman Special – Great Fix & Flip Opportunity

STEP 5: POSTING BODY:

Great handyman special/fix and flip opportunity for a cash buyer. Won’t last long.

[Provide more specific details about your deal such as general location, sqft, bdrms, baths, etc. You could also include ARV, repairs and even your desired buy price.] Include 1 ugly exterior picture (upload).

Contact me ASAP to access the property and for further details.

At the very bottom of the post add the following list of key words…[known as “tags” these key words will help other investors searching for deals to find your post]

Fix, fixer, upper, investment, real estate, flip, ARV, rehab, handyman, motivated, wholesale, after repair value, arv, motivated, code violations, probate, foreclosure, REO, bank, bank owned, rental, buy and hold, landlord, lease option, seller financing, subject-to, land contract, condemned, cash buyer, as is, bankruptcy, cheap, need to sell, fast, repairs, equity, default

Co-Wholesaling Your Deals

A 5th strategy to flip deals on Craigslist is called “co-wholesaling.” This is where you leverage the buyers’ list of other wholesalers in the market. You simply offer other local wholesalers you find on Craigslist (using the methods already outlined in this guide) 50% of the wholesale fee in exchange for bringing you a buyer(s).

CO-WHOLESALING SCRIPT:

Hi, I am a local cash buyer and I noticed you advertise your wholesale deals on Craigslist. I currently have a great deal that I’m looking to wholesale and I wanted to offer to split the wholesale fee with you if you bring me a cash buyer. When is a good time we can discuss my deal in further detail?

Bonus

If you thought this post was helpful, consider joining Jerry’s upcoming FREE training, where he’ll show you how to make $5,000 to $20,000 per deal on Craigslist!

flipping houses on craigslist

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Jerry Norton

Author: Jerry Norton

In 2004 Jerry went from digging holes in construction to becoming a self-made millionaire. He specializes in buying, fixing and selling houses and commercial properties as well as building multi-million dollar new construction homes and developments. Jerry loves teaching people his systems for making money in real estate but his true passion and calling in life is to help people gain financial freedom and achieve the lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of.

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