I fell in love about five years ago. But today, I want nothing more than a divorce….from Craigslist that is. You didn’t think I was talking about Girl Ninja, did you? Our long distance relationship is nearing an end (three more days!), which means we get to live together again. The way it was meant to be. Needless to say, we are pretty friggin’ excited.
I’ve spent the last two weeks aggressively scouring Craigslist (CL) looking for our next place, and let me tell you, it’s quite possibly the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. Like seriously, ever! To be fair, it’s not really CL’s fault. No, it’s the 80 bajillion craigslist spammers that get under my skin. When I punch in “Seattle” in my search box I want to see an ad with pictures like this….
Sure, the pictures in the above ad aren’t the greatest quality. They are a little small. A little dark. And probably don’t show the place to it’s full potential, but you wanna know what they are? PICTURES OF THE FREAKIN’ RENTAL!!!! I’m going to punch a baby kitten in the face if I see another stinkin’ Craigslist spam ad that looks like this…
There are two things that really bother me with these types of ads. First, nothing in the description is describing the actual unit for rent. No square footage, no layout images, no lease terms? Are your apartments so crappy the only selling point is that they are across the street from a park? Second, there are only three pictures in the entire ad, one of which is a stock photo of some flowers!!! WHY FLOWERS?! Again there must be something seriously wrong with your apartment if the only pictures you’ll show me are from the outside. Worst. Marketing. Ever.
I really wish Craigslist allowed you more search parameters. Like number of bathrooms, type of rental (apt, condo, house), amenities, etc. I also wish they found a way to block the mega apartment complexes from advertising. It seems like they are the worst offenders. Fortunately, I’ve figured out a few ways to make my searching a little faster. Here they are…
1. Most of the big apartment complexes have their own websites. I don’t need to see their ads on CL, so by typing in “condo” in the search template it cuts out 85% of the junk. It’s not perfect, but it definitely helps expedite the searching process.
2. I recently began using this second tactic and it’s worked out pretty well. I look at the price before I read the title. By scanning the price list I can immediately rule out anything that ends in a number other than 0. Most of the spammy rentals have weird pricing, like $1,213 or $1,347. Virtually every condo/townhouse/home on CL for rent is priced at $1,200, $1,350, etc. Legit ads typically end in a 0, crappy ads end in everything else.
3. I use a third party client to demolish CL hunting. I have Craigs Easy downloaded on my computer and CraigsPro downloaded on my iPad. These apps basically search CL but display the information in a much more efficient manner. It’s pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread…
If it weren’t for these three little Craigslist tricks, I’d divorce that guy in a second. But for now, I will continue searching hours after hour, waiting for “the perfect place” to come up on my radar. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later 🙂
What improvements would you like to see made to CL? Do you have any tips/tricks that you use when you search? Why do spammers always have to go an mess up a good thing (Craigslist, email, telemarketers)!