Writing and publishing a good rental advertisement is the first step towards finding a good tenant.
You have heard this from your fellow landlords.
But you are a bit uncomfortable in this area.
You understand it’s an important activity for a do-it-yourself landlord like you. But you are not confident about it. In the past, you wrote some rental ads without getting any good responses.
You feel frustrated.
You think it’s unfair. You are a landlord and not a writer.
Now, wait a moment… Let me remind you, you have overcome so many challenges to reach this point. Buying a rental property is in no way a cakewalk.
Compared to those challenges, this is just a small piece of the puzzle.
Let me assure you of something.
It’s a skill to write a good online ad, but it’s not difficult to learn. You can easily learn and master this skill with some practice.
I am going to teach you how to write a simple and good online advertisement in 7 steps. I’ll also show you how you can insert a few points in the ad that will keep unsuitable or bad candidates at bay as per your requirement.
Why Craigslist or Kijiji
There are many websites for publishing online rental ads.
My advice is to use Craigslist (in the USA) and Kijiji (in Canada).
There is a general consensus among landlords that these are the best and most popular platforms.
In my 10 years of real estate investing career, I have never had to use any other websites. Once the ad is published, most of the time, you get the response within a few hours or on the same day.
To publish ads on these websites is either free or costs very little.
When you have the most popular service available for a very little cost or free, why would you worry about any other services, right?
So let’s start with how to write ads.
How Do You Make Prospective Tenant to Call You?
This is how the process flows when you publish an ad.
The prospective tenant scans the list of advertisements on the Craigslist/Kijiji page. He/she clicks on the shiniest object, meaning most likeable title. Once clicked, the prospect quickly scans the description and (without going into the detail) click on the photographs, one by one. If photographs are likeable, he/she would go back and start reading the description attentively. Otherwise, the reader will click the back button (of the browser) to go back to the list again. If he/she likes the description of your ad, you’d receive a call.
This is how your advertisement qualifies in the prospective tenant’s mind.
Your purpose is to control this process by presenting stand-out details in order to qualify.
Here are your objectives.
- Get them to click on your title among the list of titles.
- Post the likeable images.
- Furnish an easy-to-read description.
Titles — Lure them to Click
Tip # 1 — Sell With the Main Feature
What is the best and the most saleable feature of your property? That feature should appear in your title.
As you can see, ‘Upper Beaches’, ‘The Heart of Cliffcrest’ and ‘5 bedroom Bungalow’ represent that main feature. The first advertisement, which does not have any special feature, looks plain and does not attract the reader’s attention.
What if you don’t have any good feature?
You can clean up the property and apply fresh paint. And that becomes your main feature.
This is how you advertise your ordinary apartment:
Clean and Lighty 2 Bedroom Awaits You! Won’t last long…
Tip # 2 — Use Catchy Words in the Title.
You don’t have to be an expert writer to craft simple sentences.
You can use simple adjectives to attract attention.
- Beautiful Apt
- Bright Lake-front House
- New Condo
- Great View
- Spacious Living Room
- Lighty Kitchen
Tip # 3 — Include the Neighbourhood in the Title
You never know what is an attractive feature for your tenant. It is important to include the neighbourhood in the title because sometimes even if they may not find anything attractive enough in your title, but the area/neighbourhood may get them to click, just because of their preference to live near the workplace or a relative.
Tip # 4 — When–Available Now or After 2 Months?
If your property is available for the new tenant after 2 months, it’s of no use to the person looking to move today. Please mention when the property is available for rent. You don’t want someone to call you and waste your time.
Think about the possibility. Someone is breaking up with his/her partner and in dire need to find a place to live immediately. If your property is available immediately, it may qualify even if it’s not the best from the prospect’s point of view. Such opportunities are often available in rental markets of big metros.
Tip # 5 — Include Map
The main purpose for including the map is to give them immediate clarity of location. Also, any image gives a character to the presentation. The image of the map looks good with the ad description and attract more attention of the reader.
Tip#6 — Clean and Lighty Photos
Professional and beautiful looking pictures are the best. If you are renting a high-end property, professionally taken photograph is a must. But in general, if your listing price is more than $1500-2000, you should have use professionals to take photographs.
If you don’t want to pay or can’t afford professional photography, all pictures should be clean and full of light, at the minimum,
Nowadays you can take the photograph by your smartphones. It would not hurt to do a little bit of homework on how to take good pictures by yourself. Click Here to take a free crash course!
Tip#7 — Specious and Easy-to-scan Description
Remember, your write up should be easy to quickly scan.
Check out the 2 different descriptions. Clearly, the image description below is easy to read.
A simple tip to write clearer detail is to use one sentence per line.
Tip#8 — Honest and Accurate
Always make sure, your headline and description relate with your property. Your headline should not be deceptive. The impression which you are giving with the description should match with the reality. The prospective tenant should not feel disappointed when he/she comes for showing.
Tip#9 — Logical Flow from Front view to Back Yard
The attachments of the pictures should flow from the front look to the living room to the kitchen and then the bathroom. It may not make a big difference but it may improve the overall acceptability of your ad.
The haphazard images or description does not create a good image of the advertiser and the property.
Tip#10 — Don’t Forget to Mention Brand Name
If you have newer appliances of a good brand, never miss that. People are fond of using the standard things. The well-recognized brand name is like a shiny object and attracts immediate attention of the prospective tenant.
Tip#11 — What Would Invite Unsuitable Tenants?
Mark needed to rent out his property with a minimum one year lease. He forgot to mention that in the ad. Being a novice landlord, he invited prospective tenants, who called first, for a showing without qualifying them.
While showing, prospects revealed they are looking just for a short term of 6 months. In the ordeal, Mark lost 2 precious days which could have been used to find someone suitable quickly.
This is what happens when your ads don’t have proper details. It’s up to you how you detail your ad to attract suitable prospects.
Prospects were not the bad tenants, but unsuitable in Marks conditions.
Tip#12—How to Avoid Bad Tenants to get attracted to your property?
Your ad needs to have something in the language of it that can keep a bad prospect at bay. You can insert the following or similar sentences to give an indirect message to bad characters so they get a warning signal and don’t get interested.
- Candidate with A+ credit score only apply
- Please attach a copy of your pay stub
- Provide verifiable proof of your employment status
- References from last 2 landlords required
- CCTV cam installed on the property
It’s noteworthy here this language can keep the bad tenant away in a limited way. The tenant screening process should be thoroughly undertaken to qualify the tenant, before making the final decision.
Tip#13—What not to do while writing your ad
If you look around on the internet, it seems like every landlord is looking for the best tenant with A++ credential. In the real world, that’s not true. Most tenants have something or other which would not be the most likeable from the landlord’s point of view. They still get accepted for tenancy.
It’s your responsibility to evaluate your property and figure out what kind of tenant is suitable for your property.
Let’s say your property is in the low-income neighbourhood. Would it make sense to expect A++ credit from the prospective tenant?
The point I am making is to word your ad in such a way that reflects your preferences.
Let’s say if your property is vacant for 3 months after 2 price reduction, you should change the language and appear like an accommodating landlord. Whether to accommodate someone with lesser credential is up to you at the time of application and screening. Why turn them off at this stage?
Does it make sense?
Writing Stand-out Ads is not Rocket Science
Let me remind you again.
How you have reached this point?
You must have faced numerous challenges and overcome each of those challenges successfully to become the owner of a rental property.
Do you think creating an online ad is that big a challenge for you compared to
those other challenges?
I certainly don’t think so.
Here is one last little tip I’m going to give you.
Pick an ad similar to your property from Craigslist. Replace all the property detail with yours. Try to follow as many tips as possible from the above list.
I guarantee you’ll be good.