A Landlord’s Website Checklist

Posted by Teresa on March 23, 2010 under General | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

computer-screen-300x300Having a website to highlight your rental properties is an effective tool to keep in your marketing toolbox. If you have a working knowledge of blog site platforms, like WordPress, you could set a site up yourself in minutes. Or, hire a web developer and designer to create a custom site for your business.

What are important factors to consider when setting up a rental property website?

  1. Determine what you want the site to do for you. Do you want to communicate securely with tenants? Accept online rent payments or maintenance requests? What about making standard forms available for download? Or a classifieds area for your tenants, where they can advertise items to buy or sell? Or do you just want to promote and highlight your rental properties? Knowing exactly what you want will help your developer plan the site properly.
  2. Make sure you can update the site yourself. Most sites these days are built on Content Management Systems (CMS). These database-driven platforms enable users to easily change and update content—with new text, photos, news, blog posts and articles.
  3. Invest in a decent camera. You’ll want a wide range of quality photos to display your properties in their best possible light. Don’t forget to add captions so visitors know what they’re looking at. Make the descriptions inviting; keep in mind what your target tenants are looking for and use sales language that will appeal to them.
  4. Be sensitive to discriminatory language and photos. Keep the Fair Housing Act (FHA) top of mind while putting together your website. Include a statement that your company does not discriminate against tenants based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, family status, or disability. Include an Equal Housing Logo if you’d like. And if your photos show people, include a diverse assortment to make everyone feel welcome.
  5. Do not include photos of tenants without their permission. And never feature photos of children on your website. This might seem to contradict the idea of showing a diverse range of people, but most parents do not want their children’s photos to appear on the internet where predators can find them. Stock photos are available online that feature models who have signed releases for publishing—these are a safer bet.
  6. Be ready to promote your site. Don’t expect rental home hunters to just find it. Keep posting to Craigslist.com and any other advertising outlets your currently use, and link to your new site in every ad.
  7. Finally, consider a “contact us” form. You want to make it easy for prospective tenants to find you. Be sure you’re ready to respond quickly to each inquiry. Your web developer can explain how this interface works, and how to set up an automatic reply.

Websites are powerful marketing tools for businesses of all sizes—consider developing one for your rental property business.

Pre-screen all tenants as part of your standard application process. Background and credit checks will help ensure you rent to qualified tenants. For more landlord resources, including forms and information on tenant screening, turn to E-Renter.com.