Learning how to advertise your rental property is perhaps the most profitable skill for rental owners. With a variety of strategies in your toolbelt, you can fill vacancies fast with incredible tenants who stay for the long haul.
Why Property Owners Must Advertise Effectively
Finding the right strategies that work with your budget, skillset, and time available is essential. The national average for rent is $1,995, so a vacancy is one of a rental property owner’s largest expenses. You also have to pay utilities, and the risk of vandalism or unnoticed damage (such as flooding) increases when a property is empty.
Just as important as getting a tenant into your property is finding the right one. You want someone who is unlikely to cause headaches and plans to stay a while. Low turnover means you don’t have to search as often, and that saves time, effort and money. Casting a wide net makes finding the perfect tenant more likely.
When setting the price for your rental, consider how nearby properties are priced. One strategy some landlords use is to charge a percentage of their property’s market value, usually between 0.8% and 1.1%.
15 Best Ideas For Advertising Rental Property
Here are the most effective tips for getting amazing renters in your property fast:
- Post on Rental Listing Sites
- Price It Right
- Time The Market
- Make Tenants’ Lives Easier
- Stick a Sign in the Yard
- Go With Word of Mouth
- Cultivate a Great Reputation
- Write Incredible Rental Listings
- Take Great Pictures
- Use Paid Ads
- Share on Social Media
- Hold an Open House
- Hire a Real Estate Agent
- Work With a Property Manager
- Splurge on a 3-D Rendering
1. Post on Rental Listing Sites
Perhaps the easiest thing you can do to advertise your vacancy is put a listing up on sites that specialize in rentals. With a quick search, you can find dozens of sites that will post your listing free of charge. Since searching these sites is often the first place someone on the hunt will go, it’s first place you should list your rental. Some of the more popular rental listing sites are:
2. Price it Right
First, find your rental’s market value. One way to do this is to take the current rental rate of 3-5 comparable properties (comps) in the area and average them. Once you find the market value, one strategy is to list your property for $50 under the going rate. In the long run, you’ll make that money back by having happy tenants who want to stay.
Pricing a rental can be fairly complicated, but be sure to take into account these factors (at a minimum):
- Desirability – Is your property near a railroad, commercial area, or power lines, while your comps aren’t?
- Size/Features – Make sure you’re looking at properties with similar square footage, bedrooms, baths, material quality, and more.
- Location – Stick to properties within a 1-mile radius—and even closer is better. Try to look at rentals in the same neighborhood as yours. Sometimes high-end communities can be 1/4 mile away from low-end ones. Similar properties can be $500/month different just depending on the overall quality of the neighborhood.
3. Time the Market
Certain times of the year are much more popular for people to consider a move. May-September is generally the hottest time of year for rental properties and when you are more likely to be able to charge top dollar.
This is when college students are graduating and seeking housing and also when younger students are out for the summer and families are looking to settle in before the new school year. You also have the best moving weather this time of year.
Waiting a month or two to list so that you can get an extra $50 per month is unlikely worth the prohibitive cost of a vacant property.
4. Make Tenants’ Lives Easier
Depending on the area, prospective tenants might have many choices in housing. In such cases, it’s important to put your property a cut above the rest. A few suggestions on how to do this:
- Set up online payment options for rent.
- Be fair about rent increases.
- Make maintenance requests available online.
- Keep property in good shape between tenants.
- Make repairs in a timely fashion.
- Know what amenities are in demand and offer them.
- Offer incentives or rewards for a longer lease.
5. Stick a Sign in the Yard
In the digital age, this might seem like an old-fashioned way to advertise a property for rent. However, depending on the location of your property, you can still get some bites this way. A popular neighborhood is going to get a lot of traffic, with potential tenants driving around looking at what is available. For an investment of less than $20, you can capture their attention and have a good chance at catching a great tenant.
6. Go With Word of Mouth
Former tenants, or even current ones if you have a multifamily property, can be your greatest salespeople. If you have been fair and responsive to their needs, people are usually more than happy to let others in on their wonderful experiences living in your properties.
7. Cultivate a Great Reputation
Just as prospects will steer clear of a landlord with a bad reputation, they will feel good about a property owner who has a good one. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Be open to making reasonable accommodations.
- Ask current tenants for an awesome review.
- If you have other properties, work to get repeat renters.
- Handle complaints fairly and effectively.
- Have good communication.
8. Write Incredible Rental Listings
Grabbing prospective tenants’ attention is the first step to getting them interested in your property. Start with a strong headline, one that sets your listing apart from the sea of other rental listings competing for tenants’ interest. Put your property’s top highlight in the headline. It can be tempting to use flowery language and adjectives to pump up your property, but resist. Prospective tenants are often skeptical of listings that seem to be over the top.
The best policy is to be clear and direct. Highlight things that tenants are most interested in. In addition to the basics, such as size and rent amount, be sure to include the following:
- Pet policy
Headlines for a rental listing should include a word or two that describe the property: “Stunning luxury condo for rent.” Another strategy is to use language that appeals to target renters: “Pet friendly 2-bed, 2 bath home for rent.”
9. Take Great Pictures
Photos make a huge impact on prospective tenants. Poor pictures can actually hurt your chances of renting a property quickly and to the ideal person. Increase your chances of getting positive attention with these tips:
- Clean property well before taking pictures.
- Remove any personalized decor such as family photos.
- Think about hiring a professional with real estate experience (they will do a better job of getting angles and lighting right)
- Consider using a drone to take pictures of attractive outdoor space.
10. Use Paid Ads
Advertising on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn helps you target audiences based on specific demographic criteria, and they are also a place where you can use a little more personality in the descriptions. There can be a big learning curve with these, so consider this only if your regular listings aren’t gaining traction.
11. Share on Social Media
Posting your property on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok widens your audience and offers good opportunities to use the sites’ digital features. Social media also offers the opportunity for people to share the listing with others in their network. Consider sharing on the neighborhood’s Facebook page as well. Neighbors are likely to share the vacancy, because people would like friends to move close to them.
12. Hold an Open House
Prospective tenants eventually will want to see the property in person. Opening your doors for a publicized open house allows the greatest number of people to see what you are offering in the shortest time. This is more efficient than scheduling individual appointments for each prospective tenant.
13. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Some landlords choose to turn the rental process over to an agent who specializes in rentals. Reasons for this range from being new to landlord life, living far from your property, or simply being too busy for the task. Advantages of using what is commonly called a leasing agent are:
- They are pros at creating rental ads.
- Their extensive networking means they can find prospects faster.
- They know the overall housing market.
- They know how to effectively screen prospective tenants.
14. Work with a Property Manager
Whereas leasing agents handle things up to lease signing, a property manager handles the entire process. For a fee, a property manager handles the following:
- Marketing vacant properties.
- Screening prospective tenants.
- Collection and depositing the rent.
- Handling tenant issues and complaints.
- Maintaining relationships with tradespeople, suppliers and other vendors.
- Monitoring compliance with housing regulations.
A property manager is a great solution for owners who live far from their rental properties or those who just don’t want to deal with the day-to-day management hassles.
15. Splurge on a 3-D Rendering
These can be a bit pricey, but they also make a big impact on potential tenants. Also, it is a one-time cost that can be used across various marketing channels. Renderings generally start around $300 each and go up from there as quality improves.