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apartment marketing

Thanks to new digital technology it has never been easier to find renters. By using a combination of traditional rental property advertising and modern online marketing you can get your listing in front of thousands of prospective tenants easily, affordably, and most importantly, quickly.

However, while it’s true that vacancies are costly, you can’t rush into a tenancy, You need to follow through with your thorough tenant screening process to find and select the best tenant for your property.

In this article, we explore some of the best and fastest strategies that you can employ to fill your vacancies and reduce the associated costs.

Marketing Ideas To Fill Rental Vacancies Quickly

Once you’ve typed up your listing, spell-checked and proofread, and gotten ahold of some up-to-date and high-quality imagery you are ready to begin marketing your listing to find renters.

It’s always a good idea to maximize your property listings exposure by using a variety of channels to market a listing. One place to start is by posting it on as many free sites as possible and then move onto paid platforms. You will need to set a strict budget to adhere to and remember to record the advertising expense as a deductible expense using Landlord Studio. Often you’ll find that the paid channels will return better quality leads, but the free ones may well supply an equal number.

Your single goal when it comes to marketing your property is to make as many relevant and qualified applicants aware of the property listing as possible.

Using the ideas listed below we give you the power to do just that. Here are 5 ways that you can market and ideas on exactly what to do:

1. Word of Mouth

The process to find renters via word of mouth could take any number of forms. For example, let the tenants in your other units know that you have a vacancy opening up. Additionally, spread the word between friends and family, perhaps one of them knows someone who is looking for a place. And of course share it on your own social accounts such as Facebook, Google+, and others.

You could even sweeten the deal and offer a small rent relief option or gift card as a sort of commission if they do find you a tenant. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the original social networking.

2. Use For Rent Signs

Sticking a for rent sign outside your building might seem old-fashioned, but it works. These for rent signs will attract the attention of local traffic and even locals in the neighborhood who have a vested interest in who lives next door. The inquiry they do drive will likely be hyper-targeted with people who are already familiar with the benefits of living in that area and are looking to move soon.

It’s a cost-effective way to let people know that there is availability and when paired with additional rental property advertising strategies can drive some high-quality leads. Plus, even if the person that passes the for rent sign isn’t looking for a place themselves – they might know a person that is and refer them your way.

However, for rent signs aren’t for everyone and may not be suitable for every location. To help you determine if using for rent signs is right for your rental business, here’s a list of the pros and cons of using For Rent signs in our ever-changing world of rental marketing.

The Pros of Using A For Rent Sign

  • Quantity of inquiry. Lots of people will likely see your for rent sign (depending on your property’s location – if it’s in a cul de sac then it’s less likely to be effective) and plenty f those will either be looking for a rental or know someone that is looking.
  • Help from the neighbors. The people living in the area have a vested interest in who lives in your rental property on their street. As such, if any neighbors see the for rent sign there’s a chance that they will help you fill it – they may even know someone who is looking. Word-of-mouth referrals often generate great leads.
  • Cost. For rent, signs are a pretty inexpensive way to drum up some interest in your property and find new tenants. Generally, a sign will set you back $20 or less, and you can reuse these signs for years to come.

The Cons of Using A For Rent Sign

  • Theft. Empty properties make easy targets for thieves. Putting up a for rent sign then can in some cases be an advertisement to thieves.
  • Unqualified Leads. Unqualified leads can be a huge time waste. Many people will see a phone number on a for rent sign as an open invitation to call you even if they have no real intention of renting from you.
  • There are more efficient advertising strategies. By using modern technology you can automate a lot of the tenant finding process. A for rent sign, while it may create some interest,

Alternatives And Adjuncts To Using For Rent Signs

A for rent sign might not be the best strategy for you. Perhaps it isn’t generating enough leads, or the leads you are getting are low-quality or time-wasters.

Below we have listed a few creative rental listing alternatives to a for rent sign that can be used to help gather quality leads.

Professional Website

The way people search for rentals has changed over the last decades. The first stop people will make is an online search. Having an online presence through a professional website then can be a great way to get your rental listing in front of tenants.

You can now create a custom website for your rental listing with Landlord Studio.

Flyers

Depending on the location of your rental and the local demographic flyering the area could be a good way to expose your rental to a relevant audience. This is a relatively inexpensive way to find renters and allows you to include some quality photos, a description, and details of an easy way for them to contact you.

Open Houses

Just like an open house for a for-sale property, hosting an open house for a rental can be a good way to drum up interest to find renters. It also allows you to meet prospective tenants face to face and means you won’t need to organize multiple separate viewings with people that express an interest.

The key is awareness… you’ll have to ensure that you post the Open House on multiple websites to generate traffic. A for rent sign on the lawn with details of the open house times could be a good way to combine strategies and achieve success through this rental property advertising method.

3. Find Renters With Free Online Listings

Take advantage of free online listing sites to find renters.

Facebook have been punching their marketplace for the last few years. It harnesses their absurdly large user base and allows you to get your listing onto one of the biggest sites on the web. While creating the listing is free, you can choose to sponsor your listing to get it in front of even more people.

Craigslist has been around for a long time. But they are not obsolete. They still get millions of views a month, many of which go to their property listing pages. This is free and a great way to get in front of prospective tenants.

The site uses two-way matching to let prospective renters search by their top criteria and let listing owners stipulate credit score minimums for applicants. It’s free to post on Zumper and any listings added to their site are also added to PadMapper and Facebook Marketplace automatically.

4. Find Renters By Advertising On Paid Listing Sites

States, where payments are required, allow you to list your first property for free for 30 days (or until you deactivate it; whichever comes first) and then charge $9.99 per listing per week thereafter.

Because Zillow, Trulia, and HotPads are all under the umbrella of the Zillow Group, postings on any of those sites are spread across all three networks.

Also owned by Zillow Group, Trulia’s expansive reach is its main draw. Listings for a full rental unit or home are displayed on Trulia, Zillow, and HotPads, but you also have the option to list a single room, which will then appear on Trulia and HotPads only.

Traffic to Apartments.com is high – some 35 million renters visit it a month in fact. Like Zillow, it will automatically syndicate your listing to its partner sites ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder, Apartmenthomeliving, and Apartamentos.com.

While simple listings are actually free, Landlords can also choose to upgrade to a Premium listing to promote their units as featured.

Apartment List only charges a fee if you are successful in renting your property through their site. Prospective tenants complete a survey of what they’re looking for and the site will automatically create a shortlist for them.

Fees start at $359 per lease that is signed – though discounts are available for those with more units.

5. Find Renters Through Online Newspaper Ads

While the market for newspapers has certainly changed over the years the concept of the local classified section still thrives. Many newspapers have moved online and still offer listings for a range of things from pets for sale to, you guessed it, properties for rent.

Check out your local city or regional paper and see what it would take to get a listing.

Bonus: Find Tenants With Real Estate and Property Management Companies

Most larger real estate companies will handle the letting process. They have expertise and experience in creating ads and getting them in front of people. Hiring a service like this will cost you a fee and is likely going to be one of the more expensive options out there.

One of the benefits is that it allows you to be completely hands-off for the process of finding renters. This is a popular option for people with numerous units who simply don’t have the time to manage their listings themselves.

Creating Your Advert for Your Rental Listing

Rent is likely going to be their largest single expenditure taking up 30% plus of their salary. As such, unsurprisingly, tenants have become increasingly demanding. As such it’s crucial to know what tenants are looking for and to create your listing with that in mind.

For example, tenant demands have shifted due to COVID-19. Many tenants are spending more time at home and as such are favoring apartments and properties that make good use of space, have home offices, are close to large outdoor spaces such as parks, and have a personal outdoor space attached.

As such creating a great listing is a top priority. We outline a few of the key parts of a rental listing and some tips to help you stand out and be above the competition.

Writing the Description

All real estate marketing strategies will state that writing an inviting, catchy, and unique description of your investment property is a must. Take your time, carefully consider what makes your rental stand out from the competition. What does it have that other rentals don’t?

Make sure to detail all the vital things such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc. Write it properly according to grammar and spelling standards, and make it clear and easy to read.

Additionally, you will want to outline any draws from the local area. For example, is the property near bus routes, close to schools, near a park, or the beach?

Finally, you need to create an intriguing and captivating heading, something that prospective tenants can’t help but click on to get a closer look.

Taking Great Photos

Another trend we’ve seen due to COVID-19 is that people are looking at fewer properties before making their final decision to rent.

What this means is that landlords are getting less opportunity to impress. The visual representation of your property should be eye-catching and show off all the rental’s best features. You could even include a floor plan in your listing to show off its layout and space.

In fact not including a floor plan is “one of the reasons that 1 in 5 buyers would ignore a property listing completely,” according to Rightmove.

It’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer for this process – however, it’s not always necessary if you know how to take great photos of your unit yourself. When taking the photos make sure the unit is clean and tidy, is well lit, and feels as homey as possible. You want your future tenants to feel like this might be their new home, rather than living in someone else’s.

Read our in-depth tenant screening guide to learn how to find great tenants.

Final Considerations

One of the final things to consider when advertising your rental property to avoid vacancies is setting a fair rental price. Too low and you are leaving money on the table, too high and you will likely put prospective tenants off who will feel like they can get a better deal elsewhere. To determine a fair rent amount you will want to compare your property with similar rentals in the area.

Once you’ve got your applicants you will then need to run them through your screening process including running a tenant screening report through Landlord Studio. This report will quickly give you important information such as their credit report, criminal history, and eviction record.

Finally, with the hard work over, your tenant selected and ready to move in you just need to set up an efficient method for collecting your rent. Thankfully, Landlord Studio has you covered here as well. Your tenants can set up automatic ACH payments through Landlord Studio. These payments will then automatically be reconciled in our income and expense tracking tool.

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Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, TechBullion, and Business Magazine.

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