Competition is fierce in getting the attention of renters on the move. Your rental vacancy posted across the best rental listing sites is a good step to grabbing their attention. But it’s the finer details of the rental listing that will help you stand out from the crowd to attract stellar tenants.
Although it takes some time upfront, these tips can save busy landlords like you, time and energy.
RENTAL LISTING BASICS FOR CLARITY
Many landlords use some form of property management software which often has a syndication feature that pushes your rental listing information to multiple rental listing sites. Each of those sites has its own algorithm for creating the post title but often include the following:
Rental price Number of bedrooms Number of bathrooms Property type (apartment, duplex, house, etc.)
Pro Tip: If you use property management software with built-in syndication features, be sure to take time to enter all the information for each property.
If you don’t use property management software and are manually creating your listing, be sure to include those elements into your listing title.
CREATE A COMPELLING RENTAL LISTING DESCRIPTION
You’re a busy landlord! You don’t have time to write a novel. But what if I tell you that writing a compelling description could actually save you loads of time?
It’s time to flip the phrase ‘time is money’ on its head and invest some time now to save you time and ultimately money later. Spend time to draft a description that’s compelling and detailed can save you time by:
Curtailing the number of calls and emails from shoppers asking questions that could be answered in the description.
Reducing the number of applications you receive from those that don’t meet the basic requirements you’ve set to qualify.
Limiting the tenant screening process to only qualified applicants.
Lessening the number of rental viewing appointments.
All those calls, applications, screenings, and viewings you didn’t have to handle is a bundle of time you can use for much more important tasks.
But, there’s more — you can now use your rental listing as a template for all your future rental vacancies.
IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF A RENTAL LISTING
Your description should repeat the title elements but with much more detail. From there, you’ll want to list out all the amenities and features of the home.
The most common amenities that get listed are laundry options such as washer/dryer hookups or if the kitchen has a dishwasher. But here’s a shortlist of amenities and features you might not have remembered in your previous listings:
Additional outbuildings such as garage, sheds, workshops
Additional rooms such as bonus rooms, den, office
Parking, transit, and shopping information
Outdoor spaces such as front and back yards, garden, types of plants and trees
Privacy and security features
Be sure to use descriptive adjectives for your features and amenities. Your goal here is to highlight the features but be careful not to oversell. It’s ok to say there is a captivating view of the surrounding mountains if it’s true. But if they can only see a glimpse, maybe it’s best to say the home is located nearby surrounding mountains.
Pro Tip: Describe the rental in a way the reader can picture it in their minds-eye or can imagine themselves living there. Be sure the description compliments supporting photos and describes the features you’ve not pictured.
Best practice for pulling in the most qualified applicants is to be specific. In addition to the basics, amenities, features, and location, you will want to list out the lease terms, requirements for renting, and expectations they should have moving forward.
Pro tip: If you offer online payment options, remember to include them in your listing.
EXAMPLE OF A RENTAL LISTING
Basic listing gets the job done but leaves room for many questions. An average rental listing adds more detail and may get you more applicants but doesn’t differentiate between the plethora of average listings a prospective tenant is viewing.
Compelling and detailed is the way to go to not only grab attention but also to pre-qualify by setting the tone and requirements necessary.
Clean, ready, and waiting for you to call home! This two bedroom, one bath home in the heart of downtown has all the comforts and amenities of a luxury home at an affordable price. Includes a bonus room which could be used as an office or den. Renovated kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Available March 1st. Amenities:
Washer & Dryer hookups
Motion Sensing Outdoor Lighting
Additional Features Include:
Near public transit
Great parking available
6 or 12 month lease available. Rent is $1500/month, security deposit $1500. First, last, and security deposit required. Online portal and payment options available. Must agree to allow for credit and background checks on each adult applicant. Non-refundable application fee $25/each applicant. Income requirements: 3x rent Pets encouraged but restrictions apply.
REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
Many make the mistake of not taking advantage of the power of photography. It doesn’t have to be done by a professional (although it can help as they know all the tricks of lighting and perspective) but it must be done professionally. What that means is that the pictures should be taken with care to highlight all the amenities and features in a way that promotes understanding of what to expect if they were to rent there.
Pro tips: Clean mirrors and windows before taking pictures. Make sure the home is well lit by turning on lights and opening curtains. Try capturing pictures of the interior at each angle as if you are a prospective tenant is walking through the home.
Another common mistake is to only have a few pictures to offer. These days of virtual shopping, more is best. Most property management software, syndication tools, and rental listing sites allow you to upload dozens of pictures.
What pictures could be added? Community housing could include pictures of common areas. Single family homes could have pictures of the neighborhood from the view of the front yard. Add a picture of the floor plan if you have it. Go crazy and start uploading those pictures; a good goal is about 10-20 good shots.
Again, this is helpful for your template as you’ll only have to update them when some major changes or renovations occur.
RENTAL LISTING MISTAKES TO AVOID
Don’t say what type of tenants you are looking for or what type would enjoy the home (great for kids, perfect for retired, etc.). Be familiar with anti-discrimination regulations and be sure your listing complies.
DONT USE ALL CAPS. It might seem like a good idea to get attention but it comes across as visual shouting.
Don’t use exclamation points!!! Make a statement with accurate and descriptive language instead of punctuation as it will come across as more professional.
Don’t be boring. A short description or one a listing without good pictures just won’t work these days. You can be concise and clear in a way that sets you apart. You could even consider adding a bit of humor and personality in your listing; especially if you need to remark on a feature or location that is less than stellar.
BEST RENTAL LISTING SITES
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular and best rental listing sites across the internet:
Apartments.com (which includes ApartmentFinder.com, Doorsteps.com, and Move.com)
RentPath (which includes Apartment Guide, Rent.com, Lovely, Rentals.com, and RentalHouses.com)
Zillow, Trulia, and HotPads are all part of the Zillow family.*
*Note that Zillow now requires a partnership agreement to accept a syndication feed for any of their websites. Also, Facebook and Craigslist do not offer third-party syndication but your property management software may provide instructions on creating a great rental listing on Facebook Marketplace.
Prepare your listing with all the details to paint a virtual picture of your prospective tenant’s new home. Add the pictures to highlight and complement the listing. Be clear on the terms and requirements to weed out those who wouldn’t qualify.