Whether you are listing your property for the first time or looking for new tenants at the end of a previous lease, finding new tenants that you trust can be overwhelming. With the rental market stronger than ever, landlords are increasingly pressed to find ways to market their property to make it stand out amongst the crowd.
Check out our advice below on how to best market your property and find ideal new tenants.
Start with a strong advertisement
The best way to find new tenants that you actually want to rent to is to advertise. You should never think of your advertisement as unimportant, but rather should use advertising to target and select the best tenant on the market.
The strongest advertisements are those that immediately catch a potential tenant’s attention and hold onto it. Your advertisement should target the renters you want without using discriminatory language. For example, you cannot say that your home is perfect for a growing family; instead you may use language like, “home with room to grow in safe, quiet neighborhood.”
A strong advertisement is also one that is completely accurate with no lies about amenities or features. However, your advertisement should paint your home in the best light possible; play up the amenities you can offer so that tenants want to live there. You should make sure that you show off all of the property’s positives in an eye-catching way. Don’t just throw any old description or photos up online. Bad and lazy advertisements are more likely to attract nightmare tenants.
You may be asking: how do I create a strong advertisement? Start by using the internet to make your advertisement stand out and cast the widest net possible. There are many different websites that you can use to list your property and you should try to post on as many platforms as possible. The more websites you post to, the more potential tenants you can reach. You might also want to use a website that will post the same listing on multiple platforms to streamline the process; this might come with a small fee, so you should evaluate if the convenience is worth the cost. While you want to post to as many websites as possible, you should avoid Craigslist for all your property listings. This website is more likely than any others to have tenants looking to scam or take advantage of you. Craigslist is hard to use, less aesthetically pleasing than other platforms, and is more likely to bring you unreliable renters; avoid it if possible.
Online listings are valuable because they allow any potential renter to view your property listing from anywhere at any time. Websites also enable you to add photos and video to your advertisement, which can help your listing stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget to utilize social media as a free resource for advertising a vacant property. Younger millennial and gen z renters will be less inclined to rent a property that does not have a social media presence, so you should definitely use it in order to ensure you do not miss out on these renters. Instagram and Facebook posts and pages take just a few seconds each day to create and will reach tenants both young and old.
Hook tenants with a catchy title
Because the title is the first thing a potential tenant will see when they are going through hundreds of listings, you need to make yours stands out from the crowd. Use a simply, yet catchy, title that gives tenants the essential information they need about your listing and draws them in to click on it. Don’t, however, make the mistake of being too gimmicky and failing to give tenants enough information to get them interested. For instance, “Rent the Apartment of Your Dreams!!!” gives virtually no information and is therefore a terrible title. The title also should not be too simple because then it won’t capture anyone’s attention. You have to strike a balance between relevancy and catchiness in order to motivate a tenant to want to learn more.
The title should take approximately four seconds to read and comprehend. It should include the property’s cost, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the type of property (house, apartment, or condo), the neighborhood/city, and one to two of the best amenities. Review the title to ensure that it is grammatically correct, spelled correctly, and has no punctuation or capitalization errors. Avoid using excessive punctuation marks such as exclamation points – this indicates that you lack professionalism as a landlord and will dry in undesirable tenants. You should also capitalize all words in the title except for small articles and prepositions like “the,” “a,” and “with.”
Lastly, your title should highlight the best amenity your property provides, such as a pool, upgraded kitchen, or an ocean view. You can also mention a nearby attraction that may make your property more attractive; for example, if your property is near an award-winning park, you’ll want to include this in the title.
In your title you should avoid using all-caps words; like overusing punctuation, this is a sign that you are unprofessional. Also avoid listing your contact information and the property’s street address in the title. You’ll be able to include this information in the description and it is unnecessary to include in the short space you have for a title. Finally, avoid including undesirable information in the title, such as calling your property a “fixer upper.” Although you should never lie about the condition of the home, you don’t want to immediately draw potential tenants’ attention to unfavorable elements of your property that they may have otherwise ignored.
Create a strong description
Your listing description is key for selling your property to the ideal tenant you want. Use this space to show your professionality and highlight your property’s positive features. While you want to communicate as much information as possible, you should stay away from bland and general language. For example, instead of writing “great two bed, two bath apartment,” you can write, “access art, culture, and entertainment in your two-bedroom retreat.” The latter is both specific and engaging. Use an eye catching opening line like the one above to draw readers before describing more specific information.
After your opening line, you should also include the following in the description:
- Date available
- Proximity to any attractions
- Cost of monthly rent
- A list of utilities included
- Important tenant screening requirements (credit check, background check, and/or employment verification)
- Your contact information (this should always come at the end of the listing)
Because your title already includes the rental price, you can include this information later in the description and put the more interesting details first.
Try to be original and descriptive in your listing. Don’t just say “cool amenities,” but instead describe, in detail, any interesting, attractive, or unique attributes that your property has to offer. For instance, you might write that the dwelling “offers floor to ceiling windows with a panoramic ocean view,” or “located only ten minutes from Downtown’s most popular shopping and dining.” Be specific in all of these details, so that you highlight all favorable aspects of your property. Pick the most important information you want to share and keep all details within four to six sentences since most people perusing the web have relatively short attention spans.
While you want to show off all your home has to offer, you should also avoid being too salesman-like in your description. Instead describe the property in an honest a genuine way.
Take it to the next level with photos and videos
With the rise of online property listings, comes the need to include extensive photos and videos of your property to make sure it stands out. Photos will almost always make or break your listing, so you need to make sure that you have them and that they are high-quality. Don’t think that any old photo will do – spend time curating the images you attach to your listing and ensuring that they are aesthetically pleasing.
You may use either a smart phone or a digital camera, but in general should make sure that all photos have at least a two-megapixel resolution; this is the typically size of photos on property listing platforms.
If the property you are listing still has tenants residing inside, inform them that you will need to enter the dwelling to take new photos for the listing. Consider paying for a professional cleaning service to come in before the photoshoot to make sure the home is presentable for the listing photos. Although this is risky because you can never ensure the state of the property, photos taken with current tenants is beneficial because it shows potential renters what the place will look like with furniture and helps them imagine themselves in the unit.
If you don’t have tenants currently living in the space you plan to list, consider professionally staging the space. You can also take photos of an unfurnished dwelling, but this may make the space look less inviting and smaller in size. In general, tenants are more likely to be interested in spaces that look staged and somewhat lived-in.
Whatever your decision, make sure that all photos and videos are well lit; the darker the photos are, the smaller the space will appear. Take photos from the spot in the room where you can best see everything. Only include two walls and some of the ceiling because this angle makes the space look as big as possible. Don’t forget to photograph and/or video every room and all miscellaneous spaces, such as the garage, porch, or pool.