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5 Tips for Effective Online Rental Ads

by Andrew C. MacDonald on February 25, 2010

A couple weeks Carla Johnson, Author of Magnetic Real Estate Photography shared her real estate photography expertise in the form of a guest post at The Rentables (an online rental listings site). To return the favor I wrote the following post entitled 5 Tips for Effective Online Rental Ads on behalf of The Rentables as a guest post for Carla’s blog. Be sure to check out her site for lots of great real estate photography tips to attract the tenant or buyer you’re looking for.

 As the search for rental listings moves online and ads become more standardized, you want to make sure you stand out from the crowd – in a good way. In this article we’ll review 5 ways you can make the right impression when you post online rental ads.

1. Consider your target
The first thing to do when writing your rental ad is to determine the type of tenant you want to attract. Once you know your target audience, you can tailor your ad to that crowd. When you focus your ad on attracting the type of tenants you want, the ad itself will do some of the screening for you.

2. Use good photos
These days, photos are a must for an effective rental ad. Many users skip over ads without photos, especially good tenants looking for a place to call home. Often users will assume ads with no photos mean the landlord either doesn’t care or has something to hide – neither of which will help you rent your unit.

In the online world, the first thing prospective tenants see are the photos you post along with your ad, and no matter how fantastic your ad copy is, your photos do most of the talking. Use your photos to showcase how great it would be to live in your unit. Check out Carla’s tips for taking Magnetic Real Estate Photos that will attract the tenants you want.

3. Be specific
Are you looking for lots of phone calls and emails, or lots of interested renters? If you want to skip straight to the interested tenants and avoid taking a bunch of calls from tire kickers looking for more information, be specific with your ad and provide all of the details up front.

Unlike rental ads in the classified section of local newspapers which often charge by the letter, most online sites offer plenty of space for you to provide all of the details. Take advantage of this space to provide the information tenants are looking for up front. Along with great photos, the most important details to include are location and price. Be sure to fill out all of the fields when posting your ads, list all of the amenities, and be clear on the terms. If you require a 1 year lease or utilities are extra, just state this upfront.

4. Avoid cliches
There are several cliches to be avoided when posting online rental listings:

  • Avoid All CAPS – Maybe writing ads with CAPSLOCK was a clever marketing tactic at one point, but this cliche is often screened out by the younger generation and can make you look either angry or desperate .
  • Avoid empty phrases – In real estate ads there are many overused words such as “nice, great, and beautiful” which have become “empty” words. Look for alternatives which really describe what your unit has to offer.
  • Avoid abbreviations – Most sites give you plenty of space for your ad copy, so there is no need to use abbreviations. In your online ads opt for terms like “dishwasher” over “d/w” and “finished basement” over “fin bsmt.”

5. Choose your words wisely
When posting rental ads online you have more room to work with, but you should still use that space wisely. Use terms tenants love such as “free” and “all inclusive” to draw renters in.

When writing your ad be sure to “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” In other words, don’t just sell the features of your unit, sell the benefits those features provide. A dishwasher is a nice feature, but the luxury of never having to scrub dishes by hand is an even better benefit. Use your ad to paint a picture that makes the viewer want to move in today.

Finally, wrap up your ad with a strong call to action. Be clear on what you want the tenant to do next, and give them a reason to take action immediately.

Make the right impression
Your rental ad is the first thing prospective tenants see, so you must use your ad to peak the interest of the type of tenant you are looking for. Renters will form their first impression of both the property and the landlord from what they see in your ad, so use the 5 tips above to ensure that the first impression you make is good one.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul D Reynolds March 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm

A study was conducted in Canada [ Link: http://www.fsbomarketplace.com/blog/how-to-write-effective-property-descriptions/ ] a number of years ago to determine what words work best to sell a home. Here are the results:
‘Beautiful’ homes sold 15 percent faster and for 5 percent higher in price than the average. ‘Good value’ homes sold for 5 percent less.
The verbiage ‘must see’ was about as popular as a telemarketer at dinnertime, but didn’t significantly impact the number of days on the market.
Use of the word ‘landscaping’ related to homes selling 20 percent faster than the average, while homes using ‘move-in condition’ took 12 percent less time to sell.
Paul@PropertyPlace.ca

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