As property managers and landlords are still adjusting to “The new normal,” they need newer and better strategies to market their vacancies through rental ads. According to Buildium, 64% of property managers suffered in terms of profitability during the pandemic. To recover from losses, property managers need to rent their properties faster and reduce vacancy rates. The first step to attracting high-quality tenants is creating the best rental advertisements on listing sites.
A well-structured rental ad differentiates from the masses and catches the attention of tenants who are the right fit for your properties. An enticing ad copy with striking images of your property results in a qualified tenant pool and, ultimately, higher ROI.
This article covers three significant questions that often come to mind when marketing properties the right way:
Well-written rental advertisements are brief and to the point. They convey all the required information, along with convincing lifestyle benefits your rental unit has to offer. The following steps will help you write a compelling rental ad copy that attracts high-quality potential tenants:
Before getting started with your rental ad copy, you should ask yourself who are you writing this ad for. Doing so will help you decide where to list your ads and outline a well-written ad description that speaks directly to your niche.
Personify the prospective renters your unit will most likely attract. Figure out their pain points, and then highlight the key benefits your rental property offers to your ideal tenant.
Darren Robertson of Northern Virginia Home Pro explains, if your rental property is near a college, you will most likely attract Gen-Z renters. Hence, your ad should focus on features such as proximity to campus, Wi-Fi, ample storage space, digital payments, online maintenance requests, public transportation access, etc.
Similarly, suppose your target renter profile is a middle-aged married couple looking for suburban neighborhoods. In that case, your ad should focus on spacious rooms, a peaceful community, backyard, easy commute to work, pet policy, square footage specifications, proximity to retail stores, and day-cares.
Having the renter profile in mind helps you work backward through the process. Once you know what your tenant avatar looks like, you can shortlist features that are must-haves for them and include them in your ad.
A rental advertisement that resonates with your ideal tenant’s lifestyle, values, and interests conveys the right message and captures the essence of why they would want to live in your unit.
Now that you have a clear picture of your ideal tenant, it’s time to think about your unique selling point. Or, in simpler words, what are those features that set your rental properties apart from your competitors’?
In a tough renter’s market, you need more concrete reasons for prospective tenants to choose you over your competitors. Read all current rental ads by your competitors and create a list of all the selling points applicable to your rental property.
Revisit your property’s Google reviews left by your previous tenants or check testimonials on your competitors’ sites and gain insights on renter preferences. Identify the differentiators that will make your unit stand out, and avoid using adjectives your competitors have already used in their listing ads.
The way your rental ads are structured and written predicts who is going to respond to it. A generic ad that focuses on tangible features and benefits such as affordability attracts window shoppers.
The key to attracting relevant, high-quality tenants is a compelling ad copy that connects with your renter profile right away. To ensure your rental advertisements get the right benefits across, we have further narrowed down this section to individual elements of an ad copy:
The first thing that catches any potential tenant’s attention is your ad’s headline. According to CopyBlogger, you should spend half of the entire time it takes to write your rental advertisements on the headline itself.
Your headline doesn’t have to be fancy but should focus on your property’s most important selling points. Here is an easy-to-use headline formula that works best for the majority:
Rent Price + Number of Bedrooms + Number of Bathrooms + Unit Type + Location + Unique Selling Point
Here’s an example for you: $2,250 2-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment in Cranbrook with stunning views.
It is essential to highlight your unit’s square footage, along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms it has in your rental advertisement. According to Zillow, 68% of prospective tenants search for listings based on the number of bedrooms.
Always add 1-2 catchy descriptors for your rental unit. Using unique adjectives to describe your unit helps prospective renters visualize your unit’s USP. That’s why it is wise not to opt for overused, generic words such as nice, spacious, beautiful that are open to the reader’s interpretation.
Here are some adjectives which will add an instant value to your listing:
Here you need to highlight your rental property’s best features, including all the in-unit amenities, appliances, storage space, or any new upgrades your unit received recently. According to a survey conducted by Zillow:
The information you provide in a rental advertisement cannot be confined to the number of beds or unit size only. Prospective tenants are also looking for other benefits or the in-unit amenities that come along. Here is a list of features you can use in your rental ads:
Be straightforward about your policy regarding utilities’ payment to avoid any misconceptions beforehand. State it clearly if utilities are not included in the monthly rent. But if they are, you can mention it like this: “H/HW (heat/hot water) included.”
Here’s a list of standard rental property utilities:
Your property’s location is another critical factor in your rental ads copy that might be a deal-breaker or maker in some cases. A friendly or quiet neighborhood can be one of your strongest selling points, making your unit more desirable for renters.
Here you can take advantage of the renter profile you created in step 1. Depending on each renter’s persona, you can emphasize amenities located close to your unit. Here is a list of amenities that you can use if applicable:
Highlighting these nearby amenities helps you sell the living experience of your unit. However, make sure you are not breaching the Fair Housing Law. FHL prevents advertisers from mentioning race, color, origin, religion, familial status, sex, disability in your listing.
Clearly state the rent, security deposit, application fee, and lease term in the description or summary of your rental ads. State HOA fees if applicable. However, be aware of your State’s laws regarding the maximum amount you can charge for Security Deposit.
With an increasing number of renters searching for pet-friendly units, it’s important to state your pet policy in your rental advertisement description. A simple highlighted text saying “Pets are allowed” can attract 60% of rental leads. Disclose your policies regarding the breed, weight, and type of pets permissible in your rental unit.
Clearly state other policies regarding noise, smoking, parking accommodations, etc. If parking is available, specify whether it is off-street or on-street (along with resident pass requirement).
Lastly, don’t forget to mention the next steps future residents need to follow:
Here is an example of a detailed and well-written rental advertisement
Now that you have written a spectacular advertisement copy for your rental, it is time to click some excellent eye-captivating photos of your rental unit. Listings with exceptional images get 95% more views, which calls for serious time and effort investment from your end.
High-quality photos of your unit heavily influence the decision-making process of your potential tenants. According to our findings, 80% of prospective renters spend their time scrolling through the unit’s photos. Here are some tips so you can click visually appealing pictures of your rental:
Before the photoshoot, tidy up the apartment. Remove any debris or trash around the property. Get rid of cobwebs, dust, and make sure the lawn is properly mowed and watered.
Natural daylight makes your photos more appealing and inviting. You can also use lighting equipment to add more clarity to your photos.
The key to attractive clicks is choosing the best angles for your shots. Capturing images from the corner makes the room look bigger and wider. Take photos from all corners of the room and at different heights, as lighting changes with a change in the reference frame. Cover only two walls in a single shot as more than that makes the room appear small.
Ensure your images are of at least 300 x 500 pixels. The minimum resolution is 72 pixels for most of the listing sites.
41% of the millennials prefer a 3D or live virtual tour of the property before deciding. Immersive 3D virtual tours will help you stand out from the crowd and give prospective tenants a detailed perspective of the floorplan. The Zillow 3D Home app is free and allows property managers to create 3D tours of homes directly from their mobile devices.
Include at least ten photos of your property, including images of:
Rental listing sites are a quick fix for getting your vacant properties in front of thousands of eyeballs. The third section of our blog covers rental listing websites that will boost your rental advertisement's visibility across different channels.
The first rental listing site almost all property managers always turn to is Zillow. Mainly because of its vast database comprising 110M+ listings. Zillow covers a huge rental market that recorded total monthly traffic of 36M this year. The process of posting rental ads is straightforward and effortless on Zillow.
Listing on Zillow gives your rental ads more exposure since Zillow has acquired Trulia and HotPads. Zillow’s built-in system forwards the same rental ads on Trulia, HotPads, and other smaller syndicated sites as well. Trulia itself recorded the second-highest monthly traffic of 23M this year, making Zillow one of the best sites for generating leads.
Pros: Helps with tenant screening, online leasing, and online rent collection. Also assists with 3D tours of your property.
Cons: Doesn’t categorize searches based on specific neighborhoods
Facebook Marketplace entered the rental listings industry back in 2017 with a game changing move. It partnered up with Zumper and Apartments.com to syndicate rental listings on FB for free. This led to an incremental increase in incoming renter leads from Facebook, without any hidden fees or strings attached. With Zillow and Zumper moving to a paid model Facebook Marketplace is now a go-to option for most property managers when marketing their rental properties.
Facebook is the largest social media network globally with about 3 billion users and a lot of those users rent from Facebook Marketplace. The most obvious benefit is that it allows your company to sell and post apartment rental ads on one of the world’s biggest social media networks, guaranteeing exposure and leads.
Another advantage of Facebook Marketplace is its Messenger chatbot. All queries and purchases happen through Facebook Messenger, ensuring companies to connect one-on-one with buyers and renters.
Pros: Facebook uses interest-based targeting to connect the best possible renters with your properties. It has a built in communication platform to answer any queries instantly. It is currently free and has the highest traffic.
Cons: Most leads generated from Facebook Marketplace are window shoppers and poor quality leads hence conversions are low. As Facebook has the highest consumer base it attracts a huge number of leads, who in turn generate a lot of inquiries. Responding to each inquiry manually can be a hassle for busy property managers. However, automation can help with this and pre-qualify renters automatically for you leaving you with high-quality leads only.
Apartments.com is mostly famous for high-quality leads as it charges the renters who are willing to send an application. This feature prevents property managers or landlords from all the window shopper inquirers and saves a lot of their time. Like Zillow, Apartments.com further distributes your rental ads to 11 other listing websites catering to different niches. They also allow users to map nearby amenities in a particular search area.
Pros: Allows targeted neighborhood searches and yields high-quality leads only. Helps with screening (credit and background checks), lease signing, and online payments.
Cons: Allows renters to apply through the app only (and not website).
Zumper is more inclined towards technology. It helps in finding an instant renter for your rental properties. Their long-term goal is to be the fastest among all other rental listing sites. Zumper has this unique feature Instarent, that allows searchers to reserve a unit (with a small fee) instantly and takes it off from the marketplace. The virtual tour facility assists renters in making an instant decision and results in leasing right away.
Zumper recently partnered with Facebook Marketplace and is giving Zillow tough competition in terms of lead generation. Their free basic plan supports leasing. And if you opt for a premium plan, your properties are guaranteed to be leased within 45 days.
Pros: You can lease within 24 hours through Instarent, and the small fee is between $20 to $30.
Cons: Instarent is still developing and is available for a few cities only. And the fees, despite being small, is non-refundable.
Craigslist is one of the oldest known listing websites, getting 50 billion views every month. Though it caters to a broad audience, obviously because of all the categories it supports, it does not work with today’s technologies. The payment method isn’t online, and many people have started moving towards more technologically advanced listing websites. Craigslist filters search results based on recency. To keep your listings at the top, you will have to re-list your rental ads every day.
Pros: Quick, easy, and allows posting ads anonymously.
Cons: Full of scams, no ad customization, and not so professional (you will receive inquiries from the least relevant people).
Property managers are moving away from Craigslist and are switching to Facebook Marketplace instead. The lead to lease conversion rate is increasing on Facebook Marketplace so make sure you are posting your ads there as well. Lastly, monitor your KPIs and keep a close eye on incoming leads from listing sites.
Proofread everything thrice, at least, before proceeding. Writing the best rental ads is a time taking process for sure, but this same informative draft saves you from hundreds of irrelevant inquiries. Rental listing sites play a significant role in giving your properties exposure. We also recommend taking further advantage by sharing the ads on your social media channels and Facebook groups.
Once you are done listing, ensure quick responses to each incoming inquiry. If you’re able to reply to them within a minute, your chances of conversion increase by 391%. Smart property managers trust AI-powered automation platform instead, which responds to incoming inquiries 24/7 and makes your life easier!
On September 1, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Agency Order titled “Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19” which finally expired on July 31, 2021.
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