Best Sites for Advertising Your Rental Property Listing
Finding the best rental listing sites can make a big difference in the amount of time you have to spend showing your rental properties and the quality of tenant you’re able to attract. But the number of platforms designed to connect landlords and tenants has proliferated in recent years, so it can feel overwhelming to try to determine which site is best for your rental listings.
To help make things easier, we reviewed 15 of the best websites for rentals. Here are the basics of what each offers so you can find the right site for your marketing strategy:
Getting eyes on your listings is where Avail stands out. Listings made through the site are syndicated out to Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, Zumper, Apartments.com, PadMapper, Apartment List, Doorsteps, Walk Score, and Realtor.com — more than any other service on this list. Interest from prospects on any of those platforms results in a notification back to you on Avail, so you can manage everything in one place.
Listing with Avail is free and the site auto-generates a listing description for you when you answer a few simple questions about your property. Avail also offers online tenant screening, customizable leases, and online rent collection.
Think of PadMapper like the apartment hunting equivalent of one of those super-maps on CSI where investigators can endlessly drill down on a grainy photo of a suspect by hitting “enhance.” It starts with a map dotted with listings, then lets users zoom in to focus on a smaller area, adding filters to weed out any rentals that don’t meet all the search criteria.
It’s free to add listings (through the company’s mobile app for single units, or Zumper Pro for bulk uploads) and any listings that appear on PadMapper also get added to its parent site, Zumper, and Facebook Marketplace.
Realtor.com might seem more synonymous with buying or selling homes than renting, but the site partners with Avail to allow property owners to make and manage rental listings for free. Listings syndicate out to the dozen top-listing platforms that Avail posts to.
According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) study, the No. 1 way home sellers chose to list their properties in 2019 was through city and state multiple listing service, or MLS, sites.
Doorsteps, in partnership with Realtor.com, uses a combination of MLS listings from 25+ markets across the U.S., plus direct listings from landlords and Aparmentlist.com to round out its inventory. The site originated in 2012 as a guide for first-time homebuyers, but more recently they’ve expanded to serve renters as well.
Depending on where your rental properties are located, you may have to pay a fee to list with Zillow. States where payments are required allow you to list your first property for free for 30 days (or until you deactivate it; whichever comes first) and then charge $9.99 per listing per week thereafter.
Because Zillow, Trulia and HotPads are all under the umbrella of the Zillow Group, postings on any of those sites are spread across all three networks. Zillow also offers tools for online tenant screening, customizable lease templates and online rent payment options.
Also owned by Zillow Group, Trulia’s expansive reach is its main draw. Listings for a full rental unit or home are displayed on Trulia, Zillow and HotPads, but you also have the option to list a single room, which will then appear on Trulia and HotPads only.
Listing fees are the same on Trulia as Zillow, but the sites offer different user experiences. Where Zillow’s marquee feature is its unique home estimates tool, Trulia touts its in-depth community preview with information on school rankings, crime statistics and public transit.
Where its partner companies Zillow and Trulia split their focus between homes and apartments, HotPads is more apartment focused, with an emphasis on urban markets. Prospective tenants like it for its fraud protection (as a landlord, you’ll be prompted to verify your identity) and push notifications when new listings go up matching their search criteria. That tool can benefit landlords too, as it prompts strong leads to get in touch quickly.
Given the domain name, traffic to Apartments.com is high. According to the site, 35 million prospective renters visit per month. The company advertises more than 1.1 million listings and — like Zillow Group — amplifies every listing by including it in its own inventory plus that of partner sites ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder, Apartmenthomeliving and Apartamentos.com.
Listing is quick and free at a base level, but landlords can also choose to upgrade to a Premium listing to get their units featured in larger ads at the top of the search results for 30 days.
9. Apartment List
Apartment List’s model is unique in that fees only apply if your listing is successful. Prospective renters complete a survey of their rental priorities on the site, which then serves up a shortlist of matching units. Fees start at $359 per signed lease, but are discounted the more units you list.
Apartment List believes the targeted results not only improve the odds of a successful match, but could lead to more satisfied tenants — who would prove more likely to renew.
10. Walk Score
Walk Score makes non-car commuting the primary focus by ranking homes and apartment buildings based on their proximity to attractions and necessities like grocery stores and business districts. A strong walk score can act as shorthand for high desirability when tenants are searching for shorter commutes, dining and entertainment within reach.
Listings on Walk Score come from listing providers rather than direct landlord submissions, but creating a free rental listing on Avail will automatically add your listing to the platform. The site also offers badges with your unit’s walk score number, which you can attach to your listings elsewhere to tout a great location.
Zumper caters equally to landlords and tenants. The site uses two-way matching to let prospective renters search by their top criteria and let listing owners stipulate credit score minimums for applicants. It’s free to post on Zumper and any listings added to their site are also added to PadMapper and Facebook Marketplace automatically.
12. Apartment Finder
Apartment Finder bills itself as the platform for renters to find the best deals. Listing is free for landlords and the site categorizes units with badges to indicate when prices drop, when a unit is listed for a lower rental rate than others in a highly ranked building, or if it comes with incentives like a free TV or discounted rent.
Craigslist is one of the best-known options for finding a rental (or a couch or a gig), but it’s also one of the least regulated. As a landlord, listing is free and easy, but it’s also easy for scammers to take advantage of your hard work through common schemes like cloning a listing — then intercepting interested renters and taking their security deposit.
If you list here, take extra steps to outline in your post the basics of your showing process so prospective renters can tell the difference between dealing with a legitimate landlord or falling for a fake.
Move, Inc. acts as a centralized hub of real estate information, tools and listings with outreach across a network of real estate platforms. The organization follows more of the traditional paths to outreach than other platforms on the list that target young, urban renters.
That approach, coupled with its partnership with SeniorHousingNet.com, make Move, Inc. a good bet for landlords looking to connect with older renters, including the increasingly large market of seniors returning to rentals in retirement.
RentDigs offers many of the perks other platforms do — free listings for landlords and syndication out to other sites (in this case Oodle.com, Trovit.com, claz.org, Mitula.com and RentJungle.com) — but its unique benefits include reports on the number of users who view your listings and no registration requirements for prospective renters to peruse the site.
The drawback to asking renters to create an account to view and respond to listings is that it’s an extra hurdle that can turn some renters off before they make it to your listing. But it can also weed out any prospects who aren’t serious about the search.
Get Eyes on Your Listing
Ultimately, you’ll want to post your listing to a site that connects you with strong leads, saves you time on marketing, and gets a good tenant in the door fast. To do this, you’ll need to get your listing in front of as many prospective tenants as possible.
Try starting with a listing platform that syndicates out to a range of other sites while letting you manage everything in one place. This way, you’ll make the most of your time and avoid spending unnecessarily on marketing as you secure tenant leads.