How To List A Property For Rent: A Landlords Guide

We take a closer look at each stage of listing a rental property and how you can leverage tools like Landlord Studio to find great tenants faster.

Listing a rental property offers several unique challenges for real estate investors. There are a number of stages to creating and managing a rental listing, from writing the first draft to handling inquiries to selecting the most qualified tenant.

Each of the steps associated with listing a house or apartment for rent takes time and effort. Landlords need to be aware of best practices and legal regulations if they want to navigate this process efficiently.

In this article, we take a closer look at each stage of listing a rental property as well as how you can leverage tools like Landlord Studio to simplify and streamline the rental property listing process.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding your target audience is key to writing your listing
  • Make sure you set a competitive rent price
  • Sharing your listing on multiple channels will increase exposure
  • Read up on federal, local, and state laws to ensure you remain compliant with legal requirements.
  • Having a thorough screening process for prospects will help ensure you select the best possible tenant.

How to list a house or apartment property for rent

Once it’s become clear that your current tenant will not be renewing the lease, you need to begin thinking about listing your rental property. 

The ideal time to list a property for rent is 30 - 60 days before the current lease expires. This will allow you to secure a new tenant before the old one moves out as well as provide ample opportunity for your tenant to find themselves a new home.

If you need to do any maintenance between tenancies make sure to give yourself enough time before the new lease start date. 

Below we look at seven steps to successfully listing a property for rent.

1. Know your audience

Different renters want different things from their homes and your rental listing should reflect these different demands and requirements. 

For example, if your property is near a large college, you may want to make your listing appeal to students. In this case, you would highlight aspects like the location and transport links. This is completely different than if your property is in the suburbs and your target audience is young families.

Be careful not to use discriminatory language when writing your listing. For example, whilst you can highlight features you think your ideal renter would like, you can’t express a preference for (or against) a family, or a particular gender, or discriminate against any of the other protected classes. 

2. Understand legal requirements

There are several legal guidelines that landlords have to follow when it comes to listing a rental property and selecting a tenant. Before you even begin the listing process make sure to read up on these laws and regulations. 

Laws to research may include fair housing laws, safety regulations, and requirements for security deposits, lease agreements, and property maintenance. 

One of the main ones is the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which stipulates that you must not discriminate, when renting your property, against any of the protected classes.

The protected classes include race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, familial status, or national origin. Under these guidelines, you cannot specify a preference regarding these protected classes (one way or another) in your rental listing or tenant selection process.

It’s a good idea to establish your tenant criteria before listing your property rent that is compliant with FHA laws and that you can apply equally to every tenant during the listing and application process. This will ensure you are fair and legally compliant.

There may be additional state or local laws that you need to comply with so make sure you do your research. It’s always advisable to consult with legal professionals.

Read: Landlord-tenant legal resource pages

3. Set your rent price

Setting the right rental price for your property is crucial to attracting tenants while maximizing your income. But how exactly do you go about setting that perfect rental rate? 

There are several strategies you can employ to ensure you're charging a fair and competitive rate.

First, do a market comparison. Look at similar rental properties in the same area. The properties should be comparable in size, type, and age. This will allow you to gauge what other landlords are charging and act as a solid benchmark for setting your rent.

You can also seek guidance from local real estate agents or property managers. These people should have greater insights into the current market and be able to offer valuable insights. 

For a more precise estimate consider utilizing online rent calculators and other tools. These tools allow you to quickly factor in variables such as property size, location, and local market conditions to provide an accurate rental estimate.

Rental comparison tools include:

Related: The Landlord Guide To Setting A Competetive Rent Price

4. Write your rental property listing

Once you’ve established who you’re targeting your rental listing towards, the laws and regulations restricting what you can and can’t do, can and can’t say, and have a competitive rent price established, you can get writing.

The title needs to be concise, attractive, and informative. You can follow a structure similar to the following:

​​$RentAmount – ##Bed / ## Bath apartment/house/condo in your {neighborhood} with great {highlighted amenity(s)}

An example following this structure would be:

$2,000p/m - 2 bed / 2 bath apartment in Brooklyn with balcony and great views

This structure begins with the important details, rent price, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the type of property, and the location, then ends by highlighting amenities that you think your target renter will be interested in.

Writing the rental property description is a little more complicated. Ultimately though it should include the following details:

  • A description of the property. This should include essential details such as bedrooms bathrooms, garden, laundry, parking, etc.
  • A list of attractive local amenities. For example, is the property close to such as gyms, restaurants, transport links etc?
  • List the distinct features that make your property stand out. For example, high ceilings, a log burner, a balcony, etc.
  • Whether or not the property is pet-friendly.
  • The rent amount and deposit amount. 
  • The utilities, which are included, which aren’t
  • Details of the application process and any fees.
  • How to inquire or get in contact.

Be sure to avoid grammatical errors, misspellings, the use of all caps, excessive exclamation points, or discriminatory language. As specified above, according to Fair Housing Laws, you cannot write what kind of tenants you are looking for, i.e., “This unit is perfect for a family with kids.”

5. Get quality property photography

If you list an apartment for rent without photographs, or using low-quality photography, you will seriously hinder your chances of finding a good-quality tenant.

Before a tenant even looks at the description they will flick through the available photos. These images are the prospective tenant’s first experience of the property - and first impressions matter.

Ideally, your listing should have at least one photograph of each room. At the very least you should include a photo of the entrance, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and the outdoor space (if relevant).

It’s well worth investing in a professional to get truly enticing photographs. However, if you can’t afford professional photography it’s not the end of the world - you can do it yourself with relative ease as long as you follow photography best practice. 

Read our guide on getting great photography for your rentals here.

6. Create your listing on Landlord Studio

Once you’ve assembled all the relevant pieces of your listing it’s time to list your rental property.

You can do this in a couple of ways. You can go to each platform and manually create a rental listing, such as through Zillow Rental Manager, Zumper, Facebook Marketplace, or others.

Or you can use property management software like Landlord Studio to centralize the entire process. 

With Landlord Studio there’s no need to create multiple accounts. Create your free listing and then easily share it across our partner network. Edits made to the listing on Landlord Studio will be pushed out to partner sites and all leads will be centralized for you to easily review and compare.

Creating your listing with Landlord Studio is free and easy.

Step 1. Create your free account.

Step 2. Add your property details.

Step 3. Navigate to the listings page via the left-hand menu and ‘Create New Listing’.

Step 4. Follow the steps to enter all of your property details.

Step 5. Once you’re done your listing will be manually reviewed by the Landlord Studio security and fraud detection team.

Step 6. Your listing is live - you can now syndicate and share your listing with a single click.

Related: How to Create a Rental Listing with Landlord Studio

7. Promote your listing across multiple channels

Once you’ve got your rental listing ready, it’s time to get it in front of as many prospects as possible. To do this you need to share it where renters are looking.

Top rental listing websites

  • Zillow
  • Zumper
  • Trulia
  • Hotpads
  • Dwellsy
  • Facebook Marketplace

Related: 12 Free Rental Listings Sites To Advertise Your Property

Using Landlord Studio’s syndication

If you’ve decided to use Landlord Studio you’re in for some good news. Instead of having to go to each listing platform separately, create a new account, and manually create a new listing, you can simply hit the Syndicate Now button on your Landlord Studio listing. 

This will push your listing to Zillow, Zumper, Trulia, and Hotpads (with more partners coming soon). If you need to edit your listing, simply edit on Landlord Studio and your updates will automatically be pushed to our syndication partner sites.

Maximize your rental listing exposure with the hassle.

What happens after you list a property for rent?

If you’ve followed the steps above you’ll see leads start to roll in pretty fast. Your job though doesn’t end there. You need to work through these leads to quickly find the perfect tenant.

Collect and prescreen leads

The first step is to get all of your leads to fill out a prescreening questionnaire. To make matters easy, you can use Landlord Studio’s in-built prescreener. This will weed out time-wasters and quickly allow you to assess which tenants qualify and need to be followed up on.

Organize viewings

No tenants can apply until they’ve seen the property and you’ve met them in person. You’ll want to inform qualified leads of the dates of the viewings you have organized that they can attend.

Manage applications

Once a tenant has viewed a property they can fill out a rental application. Again, you can manage this step easily with Landlord Studio. 

Check references and run screening reports

The next step is to ensure all the information you have on the applicant is accurate and up to date. You should always check your applicant's references as well as request your top applicants to fill out a tenant screening report

Running a tenant screening report through Landlord Studio is free for landlords and will give you up-to-date details of their credit history, criminal background, eviction records, employment history, etc.

Sign the lease document

Once you’ve determined the top applicant, reviewed their screening report, and checked their references, you can send the applicant the lease to sign. 

Only once the lease document is signed should you take your rental listing down.

Move your tenant in

Finally, it’s move-in day. Organize a convenient time to hand over the keys, review the lease details, and go through the property inspection report with your new tenant.

Related: How To Welcome New Tenants

Final words: List your property for rent with Landlord Studio

Listing a property for rent is a multifaceted process that requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal regulations. From understanding your target audience to setting a competitive rent price, each step plays a role in attracting the best possible tenants and maximizing your income.

By leveraging tools like Landlord Studio, landlords can simplify and streamline the listing process, from creating listings to managing inquiries and streamlining applications and tenant screenings. Landlord Studio provides a centralized platform for listing properties and managing prospective tenants. Plus, features such as syndication make it easier to reach a wider audience.

Landlord Studio is free to use and can help you manage every aspect of your portfolio, from rent collection to maintenance to tracking your rental property finances and filing your taxes

Save time, reduce your overheads, keep vacancies to a minimum, and maximize your rental property ROI.

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Listing a rental property FAQs

How often should I update my rental property listing?

You should ensure your rental property listings are regularly updated. Remove any listings that are no longer available, and periodically review and revise the listings to ensure accuracy and attractiveness.

Do I need to hire a property management company to help with listing and tenant management?

Engaging a property management firm can assist landlords overseeing multiple properties or those desiring a more hands-off approach. Property managers are adept at managing listings, conducting tenant screenings, and handling the day-to-day responsibilities of property management.

How much can you save by listing your rental property privately?

Many landlords choose to enlist real estate agents to manage the intricate aspects of renting out a property. However, if you prefer greater autonomy in leasing your property, bypassing the agent and handling the rental process yourself not only grants you full control but also proves to be more budget-friendly.

Agent-managed rental property fees typically range from 5% to 12% of your property's earnings, which can accumulate significantly over a 12-month lease period. Additionally, agents may impose an extra fee equivalent to one month's rent atop the monthly management fee.