In 2018, the internet has become the starting point for almost every real estate search. Regardless if you are a buyer or a renter you will probably start your housing search somewhere online. As a landlord, it is essential that you understand there is immense competition and do everything to make your listing stand out. It is not enough to simply throw your listing online without giving it any thought or strategy. A listing without quality pictures and sharp descriptions will leave you wondering why your phone isn’t ringing. The internet and popularity in real estate specific websites aren’t going away any time soon. Here are five tips to help take advantage of the internet and make your online listing stand out.
- Pictures and videos. With any online ad the goal is to provide enough information so the reader can make a decision and act quickly. It doesn’t do you any good posting a half-hearted ad without quality pictures. It is not uncommon for a prospective tenant to skip through the description and jump right to the pictures. The pictures you provide should tell an honest and accurate portrayal of the property. If you have painted the living room or made significant changes since the last time you took pictures for the house you need to update your photos. The same is the case in reverse if your pictures are dated or poor quality. Don’t be afraid to include as many new photos as the website allows. You should include all the bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and living area. If your phone doesn’t take good pictures, find something that does. The quality of your photos can make or break the demand and ultimately how long it takes to find a tenant.
- Detailed listing. The pictures you supply are paramount in attracting tenants, however they are far from the only important item. Pictures will help keep readers interested but the description will prompt them to take action. In your listing you need to include every pertinent piece of information you can think of. Never shy away from adding the monthly rent amount or address. You should also include the square footage, room count and number of bedrooms, even if you think it is a detriment. Also include any amenities you can think of. A driveway, garage, washer/dryer, hardwood flooring and attic storage may not seem like much but could help separate your property from the competition. Instead of writing these out in paragraph form you should list them in bullet points. Make them easy for prospective tenants to read and figure out which items are important to them. Don’t be afraid to list as much info on the property as you can think of. You don’t want to field calls all day from people asking you questions. With the right description the calls you get will be from people who are really interested.
- Link to apply. It is not enough to get a call from an interested party and schedule a showing. You need to know exactly who you are renting to and whether they are qualified. In your ad you should include a link to your website or a landing page where they can apply. Your application shouldn’t be overly daunting but should have enough information to leave you satisfied. At the completion of the application you should be ready to move forward with the tenant if they want the property. By adding a link you save yourself hours of headaches answering questions and showing the property. Experienced tenants know and understand there is a process that must be followed and will do it if they like what they see online. You may lose some people who don’t feel they need to apply, but the ones that do are the ones you should focus on.
- Clever headline. Depending on your market there may be intense rental competition. With the recent increase in interest rates this may be a trend that isn’t going away any time soon. Your pictures and descriptions may be top notch, but if your headline is poor nobody will ever know. You need to come up with a headline for your property that is accurate and catchy. Let’s say your property is in a college town and students are your target market. A headline saying how far the property is to campus or something simple like “perfect student rental” will work. If you have rented to families in the past you could say “ideal for new families.” You should review RESPA policies on what you can and cannot say. Don’t dismiss just how important the headline is to your ad. In some cases, it could make or break the appeal.
- Call to action. Any good sales copy ends with a call to action. For a real estate listing you need to create a sense of urgency and a feeling that the rental is in high demand. Don’t be afraid to come right out and say that the rental will not last long and to click the link to apply today. Be specific with dates and say that you will only show the property on a date in the future. The more urgency you can create with the ad, the more likely your phone will ring.
Your online presence is something that must be treated with seriousness. The quality of your property listing can help find good tenants who want to stay as long as possible. Spend a little more time creating the right ad that says everything you want about your rental.