Craigslist is one of those classified advertisement platforms that lets you meet and transact with individuals providing a service or selling virtually anything.
The website has been around for a long time and has since released a mobile app meant to expand its use on billions of smartphones across the globe.
So, How Do You Shop For A Mobile Home On Craigslist?
The same way you would with anything else, with a few adjustments. Here is how to go about it:
1. Search Smart
Of course, you want to look at the real picture of the home before making any decision.
The problem here is that Craigslist has hundreds sometimes thousands of mobile homes on sale, all of which you may want to evaluate more closely.
It can be tiresome to enlarge each picture until you go through 20 or so listings. Fortunately, there are a few handy tools that can help you glean the images more conveniently and faster.
For example, we recommend you make maximum use of the Craigslist Preview extension that can be installed on your Chrome browser.
This handy tool allows you to preview each home’s images without necessarily clicking on every title you see.
You can utilize the Craigslist Image Pre-fetcher for Firefox (use Craigstoolbox Image Preview if you still use Internet Explorer).
This way, you can scroll through numerous pages of Craigslist posts without ever being compelled to click on each of them!
2. Pay Attention To Detail
Read the advert carefully; don’t be scared of being doubtful of any fabulous descriptions.
A typical advert on Craigslist includes a short description of the state/condition of the home, price, and the location of the seller but sometimes includes their phone number.
The seller may instruct you to do a few things. For example, you might need to follow their instructions regarding how to secure a Craigslist email inquiry.
Some will instruct you to call their phone number. Whichever the instructions are, read and follow them carefully.
3. Remember To Choose Your State
Have you ever logged on to an e-commerce site or advertising platform the Craigslist’s kind and headed straight to search for something only to learn later you didn’t specify your location?
You only realize it when you bump into the right product for you listed by a seller many miles away in another state or country.
Fortunately, Craigslist lets you access troves of mobile home listings in your state or hometown.
The home page has a list of all supported regions – you can choose your state from the list then narrow it down to your local town.
From here, you can proceed to select the appropriate sales category or choose to search the entire Craigslist via the search box on the left side of the page.
Searching from your state is important, you don’t want to waste your time perusing through listings in another distant location you don’t even plan to relocate unless you really want to buy a home there.
4. Create A List Of Must-Haves
The secret to successful online shopping is knowing what you want by creating a list of features you want in a specific product.
The same thing applies to shopping for a mobile home on Craigslist – create a list of the things you want in the mobile home of your dream.
While it may be hard to verify all your must-haves simply by looking at the photo of the home on Craigslist, some won’t escape your eye and they include the type (single-wide or double-wide), the state of the walls, and the kind of windows on the home.
If you don’t like a certain listing, proceed to the next home.
5. Ask A Lot Of Questions
The few lines of descriptions that normally accompany a Craigslist listing can’t provide all the details you need to know about a home before you commit to buying it.
You are in total control of this transaction so don’t let yourself get “pushed” around by the seller.
The seller must have a picture – ask them to email it to you if it isn’t on Craigslist already.
And if they resort to posting unreal pictures of the home, (maybe from a retail site elsewhere) ask them for the REAL pictures. You’d be surprised with how dilapidated the actual home is.
An honest seller will be eager to sell their mobile home furnishing you with all the important bits of information you need without even being asked, such details as the dimensions of the home and the location.
If they haven’t provided them in the description, ask for them.
Also, a genuine seller won’t be shy to list the price of the home. Make sure you understand what IS included and what IS NOT. Ask if their home comes with all other necessary items.
But because a home is probably the biggest investment you could make, especially if it’s going to be your first home, you may not get all the important details right on Craigslist regardless of the number of questions you ask.
That’s why it’s always advisable you make arrangements with the seller to visit the home and inspect it in person with a relevant expert.
Here are some additional questions that you should ask.
6. Learn When And How To Negotiate, Just In Case
If you are a frequent Craigslist seller and/or buyer, chances are you are confident in your abilities to negotiate.
While this may sound a little farfetched considering you are shopping for a home and not a backyard grill, you should possess negotiation skills just in case.
For example, if you realize that the listed home is an amazing deal by the sheer look of it and the details provided, you may rule out the possibility of negotiating a lower price even if you choose to go evaluate in person.…that would be been ridiculous, wouldn’t it?
On the flip side, if you looked at another ridiculously priced home, even though it is the exact kind of home you want and it is in good condition, you may figure you could acquire it for $10,000 if you bargain.
You will be surprised with the extent to which some sellers could go to slash a lump sum off the marked price.
It is important to know the money you would have paid for the home if it were brand new, and then collect your confidence for negotiation.
Also, you should do a quick search of the same home elsewhere – can be the brand’s website or another e-commerce site – then come back to Craigslist to make sure you know what you are talking about.
7. Don’t Give Out Your Personal Information
Since you will be meeting the home seller in person to evaluate the house, there’s no good reason to provide your personal information to a stranger.
You don’t even need to use or provide your actual email address: Craigslist provides a handy proxy email you can use to communicate with anyone on the platform – the proxy email will forward everything to your real email.
You can negotiate and agree on a place and time via email.
But that doesn’t mean sharing personal information on Craigslist is entirely forbidden.
If you are comfortable enough, you can use your actual details to ask questions and confirm things and even provide the seller with your phone number if necessary.
Still, it is for your own good not to use a cellphone number that is not linked to your family or your home address.
Cell phones are normally linked to a home address, but there are plenty of downloadable apps out there that you use to get an untraceable or temporary phone number.
NuMero eSim and Burner are two such examples.
8. Never Pay Remotely
Never agree to pay anything before you get to see the home.
It is not uncommon for some sellers to ask you to make a down payment to “tie-down” the deal so that they don’t sell it to anyone else other than you.
The problem is, you can’t be sure the home will be kept for you.
Plus, what if you end up disliking the home upon inspection? What if it is a scam?
You are trying to buy a home, not groceries, so don’t pay anything until you inspect the home in person and agree on everything else.
9. Meet The Seller In A Public Place
If you must discuss the deal off Craigslist (certainly in this case), meet the seller in a public space.
This might seem too obvious, but be certain to choose a location with lots of other people around.
It can be a coffee shop, fast food joint, or in a mall.
Anywhere that is well-lit and busy would be appropriate.
Shopping for a mobile home on Craigslist can be as easy as hiring a gardener on the platform, you just need to be a bit cautious and consider a few relevant factors.
Things can be even easier for you if you have experience on the platform, either as a seller or buyer.
Chief of the things you should never do is disclose your personal information unless very necessary.
That one, and to never pay until you get to inspect the home.