How to advertise for a tenant

Do you write your own ads when advertising for tenants to fill a vacancy?

How to advertise for a tenant

Do you get a good response, or is it kind of hit or miss?

Did you know there are a couple secrets to writing a good ad that attracts good tenants?

It Starts With a Headline

Your headline, or title for your ad is what will attract your potential tenants first.

To many people use something dreary like “Three Bedroom Home For Rent” making them exactly like 90% of the other ads.

Never mind most of the online sites already allow them to narrow down theirs searches by bedrooms or bathrooms. You’re not telling them anything new.

So instead of telling them the obvious, spice it up a bit.

If you’re targeting a family “Bright Clean Home Close To Schools & A Park” or “Spacious Family Home With Fenced Private Back Yard”.

Maybe throw in some humor, I’ve seen ads that you have to read just due to the headline. “Not Just four Legged Pet Friendly, But We Accept Goldfish Too!”

You really just want to create something different, something that might catch their eye and set you apart.

Then Follow It Up With Benefits

But the writing doesn’t stop with the headline. Next you need to talk about all the benefits of your property and this is a huge letdown with most ads.

What do you typically see?

Three large bedrooms, two baths, in-suite laundry. Available right away.

Grabs you doesn’t it? Makes you want to rush over to see those thee large bedrooms because tit sounds like they are just what you’re looking for, right?

Maybe not so much. That’s because those are features, not benefits and benefits are what attracts people.

Instead of just three large bedrooms turn it into something that excites them or fills a need.

“You’ll be amazed at the size of the three large bedrooms which easily fit a king size bed in the master and there’s still plenty of room for up to four dressers!”

Now it’s created more of a vision someone can see.

“With a growing family you’ll appreciate the second half bath ont he main floor.”

Something simple and to the point but reminding them why a second bathroom is handy.

“You’ll love the included washer and dryer as you’ll be able to get laundry done at home on your schedule rather than spending an afternoon at the laundromat.”

A simple benefit of having in home laundry, you don’t have to go out!

“In a hurry to move, well lucky you we’re able to accommodate a quick move in within a week, or if you need a bit more time we can make that work for you too.”

Not over the top, but simply explaining their options versus simply being available right away.

It’s Not Rocket Science

Writing these ads isn’t rocket science and once you have a great ad you can use it for years and years to continue to attract tenants.

Just remember people don’t care that it has three bedrooms, they care about what they’re like. So explain that part.

Whee possible create an emotional response and always try to explain how the feature will help them.

What Would Benefit You?

I started putting together a course a couple years ago walking landlords through writing effective ads and became distracted by other projects so never finished it.

Then over the weekend, I had a chat going back and forth with another landlord inquiring about how to help landlords advertise and screen potential tenants as they had an acquaintance who had been vacant for a while and was struggling.

So let’s turn the question back to the general audience of landlords out there.

Would you find an hour long course that walks you through writing effective rental ads helpful? This would ad another skill to your landlord toolbox!

Or would you prefer someone to do it for you, create an ad you can use for the next ten to twenty years to attract great tenants? This would obviously cost more, but it would allow you to focus on what you are best at rather than adding to a busy schedule.

Or is there a space in between that would benefit you? Perhaps a two or four week mastermind session where a group of us meet online and we walk through writing successful ads?

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Most landlords dislike vacancies. The longer a rental property sits empty, the more money the landlord loses. Luckily, we live in an era where advertising a rental unit for rent is easier than ever, and most methods are completely free! While there are a lot of options out there, this article narrows down the three best ways to advertise a rental and find tenants quickly so you can minimize your effort while maximizing your results.

1. Create a free listing online

According to Zillow's Consumer Housing Trend Reports, 83% of all tenants use online resources in their rental property search. If your rental unit isn't marketed online, you are missing out on an enormous pool of prospective tenants.

Fortunately, there are dozens of free resources to help you list and market your rental unit for free. Most property management software programs will automatically market and list your rental vacancy to the top websites, but you can list your rental on each individual website as well if you prefer.

The primary websites for rental advertising

2. List it for rent on social media

Social media platforms like Facebook are another great resource for advertising rentals. Facebook has over 2.7 billion users worldwide, and Marketplace, Facebook's platform for buying, selling, and advertising items for rent or purchase, has nearly 800 million users per month.

If you have a Facebook account, you can create a Facebook Marketplace listing for free. You can then share your listing on your own Facebook page for friends to see and share.

3. Word of mouth

The second most widely used search method for finding a rental is word of mouth. This could include hearing about a vacancy from a friend, relative, or colleague, seeing a sign posted in a yard, or meeting the landlord or property manager by chance.

It's important to advertise a rental offline as well. Share the fact that you have a rental unit available for leasing with those you know. You never know who is looking for a place to rent, and it can be a great way to find a qualified tenant before taking your marketing efforts online.

Market where it matters most

There are other methods of advertising a rental, like posting your unit for rent in the newspaper or creating flyers to send via direct mail or post on bulletin boards at local schools, restaurants, or shops, but with less than a third of all renters using those avenues to search for rentals, those methods yield lackluster results. Market where it matters most, putting forth the most effort on the platforms that yield the most results.

Most prospective tenants expect a reply in 24 hours or less, so be prepared to respond quickly. Be explicit in your post about your qualification requirements and screening process so tenants can determine whether they will qualify before contacting you. If you price your rental well and focus on using these 3 best ways to advertise a rental property you will likely find tenants quickly and fill vacancies faster.

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7 Tips for Placing a Great Tenant in Your Investment Property

How to advertise for a tenant

Erin Eberlin is a real estate and landlord expert, covering rental management, tenant acquisition, and property investment. She has more than 16 years of experience in real estate.

There are good tenants, and there are bad tenants. While no screening method is fool-proof, there are certain factors you should look at that will give you a better chance of finding a great tenant for your rental. Following these seven tips can help you make the best choice.

1. Follow the Law

Landlords must treat all prospective tenants equally. There is a law, known as the Federal Fair Housing Act, which is designed to prevent discrimination against certain classes of people in any activity related to housing. In short, you cannot discriminate based on:

  • Race or color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (families with children)
  • Disability

In addition, many states have their own Fair Housing Rules that you must follow, so make sure you know and adhere to your local laws as well.

2. Choose a Tenant With Good Credit

You want to look for a tenant who is financially responsible. If they are responsible with paying their bills, there is a strong chance they will pay their rent on time and be responsible with your apartment. Getting a credit check has a fee, and sometimes landlords ask their applicants to pay the credit check fee as well. Checking a tenant’s finances is a two-step process:

A. Verify Income:

  • Ideally, you will want to find a tenant whose monthly income is at least three times the monthly rent.
  • Ask for copies of their pay stubs.
  • Call their employer directly to confirm their employment, length of employment, attendance record and monthly earnings.
  • Do they have a history of paying their bills on time?
  • Check their income to debt ratio.
    • Even if their income is three times the monthly rent, you have to factor in how much debt they have.
    • For Example: The rent is $1000 per month. Tenant A is making $3000 a month, but has $2400 in debt payments every month. This tenant may have a more difficult time affording the apartment despite their monthly income. Tenant B makes $2500 a month, but has no debt. This tenant could be an excellent candidate to pay the rent even though their income is not three times the monthly rent.

    3. Perform a Criminal Background Check

    Criminal information is public record, and can be viewed at various court houses. This check will turn up both serious and minor offenses. You will need the tenant’s name and date of birth to run one. Keep in mind that those with a criminal record may try to falsify this information, so make sure to check a valid ID to verify that they are who they say they are.

    A Thorough Criminal Check Will Include:

    3 Points of Caution:

    1. Certain states, such as California, prohibit landlords from discriminating against renters with certain criminal convictions. As a landlord, you may have an easier time justifying your rejection of a prospective tenant with a drug or violent crime conviction than you would rejecting a tenant with 50 speeding tickets. This is because drugs or violent crimes can jeopardize the safety of other tenants.
    2. There is no nationwide database of criminal records, so it may be hard to do a thorough background check.
    3. Doing a criminal check yourself can be very time-consuming. It may be best to hire a reputable tenant screening company to perform this check for you. It can often be combined with the credit check, for an additional fee of course.

    4. Look at the Tenant's Rental History

    If possible, you should talk to at least two of the tenant’s previous landlords. This is because if the applicant was a problem tenant, the current landlord may want to get the tenant off their hands and may not be as truthful.

    Questions You Should Ask:

    • Did the tenant pay their rent on time?
    • What was the reason for the move? Was the tenant evicted for non-payment of rent or for breaking the landlord’s rules?
    • Did the tenant give 30 days’ notice prior to moving?
    • How did they keep their apartment? Were they clean?
    • Did they cause any damage to the apartment other than normal wear and tear?
    • Were they respectful of their neighbors?
    • Did they complain often?

    Of course, if the applicant is a first-time renter, a student or a recent graduate, they may not have a rental history. In this case, you can require a co-signer for the lease.

    5. Choose a Tenant Who Is Stable

    On their application form, look at the tenant's prior addresses and employment history. Do they move or switch jobs often? If they move often, this pattern is likely to continue and you will soon have a vacancy on your hands again. If they have not shown consistent employment, they may not be able to afford the apartment in three months and you will be left starting your tenant search from scratch or dealing with an eviction.

    6. Maximum of Two People Per Bedroom

    The more people per apartment, the more noise and the greater the wear and tear on your investment. Although HUD does not have specific rules regarding the number of occupants per bedroom, a rule of a maximum of two people per bedroom is considered reasonable under the Fair Housing Act, with the following exceptions:

    • State and Local Law:
      • If a state or locale has specific housing codes, then the landlord must follow them.
      • A 500 square foot bedroom can hold more occupants than a 250 square foot room.
      • A unit with a living room and den can hold more occupants than one without.
      • Refusing to rent to two adults with an infant for a one bedroom could be considered discriminatory, but refusing to rent to two adults with a teenager for a one bedroom would be considered reasonable.
      • You can give a maximum number of people per apartment, but you cannot give a maximum number of children per apartment.
      • If the capacity of the system can only tolerate a certain number of occupants in the dwelling.

      7. Trust Your Instincts

      You can do all the screening in the world, but sometimes your instincts are the best judge of character. You may feel that there is something off about a tenant who otherwise looks good on paper. later to find that the tenant has been using someone else's identity to apply for the apartment. Trust your screening, but do not ignore your gut.