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Create a Rental Listing Renters Can’t Resist

Finding that perfect new tenant starts with your rental listing. Let your ad do the heavy lifting with strategic, thoughtful copy and compelling visuals.

Take the time to create a “bullet-proof" rental listing you can quickly edit and use over and over. It's easier and more consistent to cover details in the listing than to explain to every caller individually. What's more, the listing process will be faster and less of a headache every time a tenant leaves.

Show, don't just tell

Today's renters, especially those searching online, are extremely visual. Include a few strong photos to give a sense of the space and all it has to offer.

Try including images of key living spaces, such as the living room or den, kitchen and master bedroom. Empty rooms generally show better than a home full of the current tenant's belongings (and clutter!). However, it can be helpful to include a piece of furniture or two per room, just to show scale. Stick with neutral pieces and a few vibrant accessories. Today's buyers are drawn to clean interiors with pops of color. Simple is best.

Show strategically placed furniture with neutral pieces and a few vibrant accessories in your rental listing.

Messy living room Don't feature photos of cluttered rooms with a current tenant's items.

Room with natural light Include photos of rooms with lots of natural light.

Dark room with shadows Don't include photos of rooms that are dark and shadowy.

Horizontal photo to capture more space in the room Showcase horizontal photos to visually capture more of each room.

A vertical photo cutting off space in a room. Don't showcase vertical photos that cut off key areas of a room.

When the market is glutted with available inventory, staged photos can take your rental listing from good to great. Remember, you'll only have to go through the process once — you can use the shots again in the future. Professional stagers are easy to find and can provide appropriate furniture. If the price tag for professional staging proves daunting, you might want to stage it yourself.

Provide a complete and accurate description

When describing your rental listing, don't skimp. Include all its strongest selling points, essentials like the date it's available, number of bedrooms and baths, central heating and air conditioning and extras like a provided washer/dryer, refrigerator or a fenced back yard. Accept pets? Specify which kinds and any size limits. If the location is special, play it up.

It's also a good idea to specify the damage deposit, lease terms and any required credit checks. You might get fewer inquiries, but you won't waste time with prospects who aren't suitable.

Include stand out details

If the rent includes any regular maintenance, such as lawn care, mention that. Highlight easy access to shopping, entertainment and public transit. You might also mention major employers nearby, so employees can easily take note.

Flexible on move in? Willing to help cover moving expenses? Available for showings at a specific time or day? Include details. Even if your market is hot right now, you're creating an ad that will help sell in any market conditions.

Once your ad is letter-perfect, double check for the most important component — a convenient phone number with voicemail. Provide an easy way for prospects to reach you and get questions answered. You can collect inquiries, then systematically get back to potential renters. Following up can make or break the rental process.

Wow on the walkthrough

Once you've scheduled a showing, take the time to walk prospects through the property and get to know them. Make casual conversation and try to get a feel for their priorities and life stage. A family with children moving into the area for a strong school district, for instance, may end up staying for several years — making them more desirable than other prospects who don't have such a long-term interest.

After the showing, send prospects off with a hand-out of information and a copy of the application (if you're using one). The few cents you'll pay per copy is well worth the investment — especially when renters are viewing multiple properties in one day.

Before saying good-bye, be clear about next steps. Ask prospects to call you once they've made up their mind, or if they've already stated an intent to pursue renting, direct them to the next appropriate action.

Finding good tenants is a leap of faith for them and for you. Make the time to list your property right. With luck, your new renters will be happy in their new home — and you won't have to list again any time soon.

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author
Melanie Merrifield

30-year landlord and freelance marketing writer, Melanie Merrifield has decades of experience as an advertising, UX content strategist and digital marketing professional. Her work supports companies such as AT&T, SCANA Energy, Bally’s Health and Fitness, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Synchrony Financial and other global brands. Off the clock, Melanie enjoys over-eating, collecting vintage vinyl and taking hip hop classes.