Marketing Your Rental Property in a Tough Economy

Posted by Teresa on February 11, 2009 under General, Landlord Tips, Marketing for Landlords | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Part 2 of 2: Cost-effective ways to advertise

There is a lot of movement in the rental market right now. Renters living in recently-foreclosed homes are being forced to move. Homeowners who cannot afford rising mortgage payments are becoming renters again.

Now is not the time to be passive in your advertising efforts. The good news is you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Once you’ve prepared your property, get the word out with these cost-effective advertising tips.

Advertising is good; free advertising is even better: If you haven’t tried Craigslist yet, don’t let another day go by without posting your property on the site. Craigslist is free, easy to use and immensely popular—three very good reasons to check it out!Other websites offer free listings, too—but these vary. Some require that you pay for each subsequent contact. Let your budget be your guide as you Google “Free For Rent Listings.”  Wherever you list your rental, include photos! Take the time to shoot at least one exterior and several interior pictures of your property. Include the kitchen and bathrooms, closets, and any unique features that will attract your ideal tenant.

Double your efforts with some low-tech methods, too. Write up your listing, and print it out. Repeat your phone number all across the bottom of the page. Cut strips between the numbers so interested folks can tear one off. Many grocery stores, coffee shops, and community centers allow fliers on their bulletin boards, so visit a few around your rental property to see how others post their rentals. Why reinvent the wheel when you can copy a good idea?

Local community publications are another good option for free or low-cost advertising. You might hesitate to advertise a downtown high-rise condo in a farm community paper, but the idea is to get the word out and let others do your advertising for you. You don’t know where your next tenant will hear about your property, so why not try a scattershot approach?

Don’t Forget Signage. Easy to read signs or banners will send the message that your property is available. While hardware stores carry the standard “For Rent” signs, you might want to investigate the options at your local sign and banner store. To make your contact info easy to read, you may need a larger sign or banner—and since they last for years, signs are a one-time investment.

Host an Open House: They’re free, and can be a great way to gather potential tenants all in one afternoon. The key is to advertise well in advance: again, use Craigslist, fliers, and signage to get the word out. Enlist some help so visitors are all greeted and shown the property. Have a contact sheet ready at the door to gather names, phone numbers, and emails for each person so you can follow up after the open house. 

Utilize the Best Form of Advertising: Word of Mouth! Ask your friends and family, your hair stylist or barber, your manicurist and the home and garden store guy if they know anyone looking for a rental property. You may be surprised at the response this easy form of networking can bring.

After all your money-saving efforts pay off and you have some great possibilities, take the next step to ensure you’re choosing the right tenant. Tenant screening is easy and fast. Proper tenant screening also gives you peace of mind—and it’s impossible to put a price tag on that!