How to write a great rental ad
A well written rental ad can mean the difference in finding a tenant quickly and having a vacancy. Shelly and I are continuously tweaking our rental ad procedure. We have tried things that work and things that do not. We have also noticed that sometimes if the market is hot, even poorly written ads work.
In the past year we have had the opportunity to try a few new things, and I want to share with you what we found that works. We were forced into finding creative ways to attract attention to our ads based on market conditions. We do not fully understand why, but the amount of qualified tenants applying seems to have dropped off. It could be the amount of current rental inventory that is on the market, or any number of reasons. What the reasons are, are not really important. What is important is getting our units rented quickly.
The first game changer was including a video. We included a couple of videos in ads, the views increased and the feedback we got from prospects was amazing. I wrote a more detailed post about our video experience. The video is especially important if you are trying to attract out of town tenants.
The next game changer was from a guy who manages a couple of our properties. He made a suggestion that got us immediate results. He said to put something eye catching, even boarder line crazy in the subject line. The object is to make your ad stand out from the hundreds of other ads posted online. Here are some of the lines you can use (depending on the season, or recent events): “Cupid approved”, “ghost free”, “Zombie Free”, “Santa Approved”, “Guaranteed Minion Free”. It can be fun to let your imagination run wild. The stranger the better. You just want to get your ad noticed. Do not be afraid to be bold.
Another area we are constantly improving is the copy (text). Make sure to be descriptive. This is another area that you can be creative. Put your self in the tenants shoes. Do not assume they know the area, and all it has to offer. Saying things like close to all amenities will not help your prospect imagine themselves sitting in the local Star Bucks, or relaxing at the near by Spa. List out the local businesses. People are generally looking to move to an area for lifestyle. What are the names of the schools, major businesses, hospitals etc..
Be descriptive about the property. Does it have a back yard, or does it have a large backyard with luscious grass, and lots of trees to shade you on hot summer days, plus a perfect spot to place a BBQ, maybe it has a backyard oasis. What do the rooms look like, is it a living room or a large living room with gorgeous hardwood floors and crown molding, if the property has a dishwasher, make a point of talking about it, you could write something like “no more fighting over who does the dishes”, or “never wash a dish as long as you live here”. If the property has any special equipment like a heat pump, woodstove, swimming pool, make sure to describe it well.
Finally make sure to post lots of pictures. I am still amazed that I will see rental ads without pictures, no pictures of the inside, no pictures of the outside or very few pictures. People love pictures, and lots of them. That is why if you are not able to do a video, you must have great pictures. You want to help your prospect feel what the unit might be like.
In summary, make sure to take your time and write a great ad. Always be bold. Remember what you are trying to do. You need to attract attention, then get an appointment for a viewing. then ultimately fill your vacancy fast.
Michael P Currie