Rental ads speak to your prospective tenants in ways you may not realize. An unprofessional ad sends a message to bad tenants to take advantage, while a well-crafted ad attracts quality renters.
Yet, some landlords don’t take the time necessary at this crucial stage in the leasing process to send the right message.
It doesn’t matter whether the rental market is tight or if vacancies are high. The volume of applications does not automatically translate into qualified prospects. Tenant screening is much easier when the applicant pool consists of highly-qualified prospects. The rental ad matters, because you can use it to screen out the worst prospects, and spend your valuable time choosing the best.
Here are some tips to improve your rental ads:
Pay Attention to the Photos
The quality of the photos is crucially important. No one expects you to be a professional photographer, but you can incorporate some of professional strategies. For instance:
1. Take the photos in the light of day, with the shades open. Natural lighting makes the space more welcoming.
2. Find a focal point in each room to be photographed and center that in the photo. Empty space is confusing, and can appear warped depending upon your camera angle.
3. Experiment with horizontal, wide angle, and landscape settings.
4. Consider the value of staging the space. Furnishings, especially bright colors, always look good in the bathroom and kitchen. A dining set can define an open area. If staging is not in the budget, at the very least, make sure the unit is clean and there is nothing unsightly in the background of your photos.
Equally important, make sure that your photos are uploaded properly on the advertising site. The viewer should not have to struggle to adjust the position or to see the image.
Some landlords make the mistake of overselling a property in the rental ads, typically to compensate for a negative feature. Overselling does two things: it sets the stage for a contentious relationship with the tenant who isn’t sure that you can be trusted, and it wastes your time providing tours to applicants who will walk away.
The rental ad should be designed so that tenants can self-screen. You won’t be able to hide the fact that the kitchen window looks out over a brick wall, or that the closets are cramped. Your tenants might not mind that, though. But, they don’t like being played. Be realistic, and your prospective renters will have come to terms with the negatives of the property before they contact you.
Lay Down the Law
Let your prospective tenants know that you require a tenant background check. Good tenants are watching for it. They want to know that other tenants were screened, and that you follow good management practices. It makes them feel safe.
If you offer smoke-free housing, by all means, advertise that. It will attract good tenants.
Include the relevant terms so that tenants will see if they are qualified. Don’t be generic, or you’ll be inundated with unqualified applicants. It would be ideal if your ad attracted one or two highly-qualified prospects rather than two dozen unqualified ones.
Leave Out the Commentary
Don’t fall into the trap of describing who you think will be interested in the property. For example, no “good situation for roommates”, or “close to the university.”
Every descriptive phrase attracts some while repelling others. In some cases, it’s a matter of getting what you ask for. Advertising the proximity to a rowdy bar will attract rowdy tenants, and discourage others. You don’t want to limit your rental pool with unnecessary information. Stick with the things that most people want, like proximity to grocery stores or public transportation.
Make your ads do some of the work for you, and you can improve your efficiency, while still enjoying successful tenancies.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.