Advertise your property, Attract new tenants

Every rental property owner wants to attract reliable, considerate tenants. The key is knowing where to advertise. With the myriad options available today—from traditional classifieds to specialized internet listings, choosing where and how to spend your ad dollars isn't always easy.

Newspaper Advertising

Probably one of the most common forms of advertising is placing an ad in the local newspaper. Most prospective tenants looking for a new residence will use their local paper to find a suitable property. With an effective ad, you can keep your vacancy rate low and your rental income high. So, your first step should be to make a list of each and every selling point. Think about everything from the updates you have made to the neighborhood location and the level of noise. Remember, the secret is in the listing.

It should also be noted that placing a newspaper ad can be pricey and, because of space constraints, newspaper ads are limited as to what you can say about your property. In addition, it is recommended that an ad should run at least a few weeks in order to find an appropriate tenant, which can also rack up advertising costs.

If your advertising budget is at a minimum, many property owners have found that simply advertising in the Sunday newspaper is enough. Although Sunday rates are usually higher, as an advertiser, you will save money because Sunday's readership is much higher than the daily editions.

Once you have decided to use newspaper advertising, check to see if they combine "paper" ads with ads on the newspaper website. Sometimes for an additional fee, you can advertise on the newspaper's internet site in addition to the paper version.

Internet Ads

There are many advantages to using property-based Internet advertising sites to attract new tenants, both locally and nationally. More individuals are using the Internet in lieu of the traditional newspaper ads to find a place to live. For example, if someone from California is looking to relocate to Pennsylvania they will probably use this sort of property search before trying to figure out what the local newspaper is in that area. In addition, the cost of an internet advertisement is usually a fraction of the cost of newspaper ads. There are even a few free community sites or city-specific bulletin boards such as www.craigslist.com.

Most Internet ads allow for much more description than newspaper ads, even newspaper internet ads which, many times, simply reprint the basic "3 bd, 2 ba, no pets" ad from the paper. Internet ads also allow property owners to describe all of the property's amenities that set it apart from other locations.

Finally, these types of ads also give the opportunity for a property owner to post several full-color photos per ad, further enticing the prospective tenant. Renters can view numerous pictures of a property and have nearly all of their questions answered without picking up the phone. In addition, the immediacy of the Internet allows you to modify and update your ad at any time from any computer immediately.

Apartment Guides

Apartment guides continue to be an inexpensive way to advertise properties. They are free to prospective tenants, making it more likely they will pick it up than paying for a newspaper, and they usually allow for more description than the traditional newspaper ad. Many times, apartment guides also offer ad-design assistance, willingness to change ads after submission and on-going customer service. Finally, apartment guides specifically target those looking for a new residence, unlike newspapers which have a more generalized readership.

For Rent Signs

For Rent signs are an effective and inexpensive way to promote a rental property. You can simply purchase the sign and stick it in front of the property, showing the phone number and any other necessary contact information. However, using for rent signs generally attract prospective tenants in the immediate area, significantly reducing the pool of potential renters.

Using a Real Estate Agent

Many property owners have not taken advantage of using a real estate agent to assist with advertising. Agents can advertise a property using both the newspaper and the Internet, usually at a more inexpensive price than if the owner was advertising the single property alone. And, since local agents receive a consistent flow of prospective tenants, they will generally attract a higher quality tenant as there are more to choose from.

Agents do require commission, however, and a property owner should check his or her overall advertising budget to make sure it's lucrative to pay an agent for the convenience of the agent's services.

Where Do I Begin?

Finding a newspaper or real estate agent is easy; simply contact your local paper's classified contact, or look in the phone book for an agent. The yellow pages can even be used to find an affordable sign maker if you're simply putting up a for sale sign.

Finding the right Internet advertiser may be trickier, as there are thousands of advertising sites. The best way to begin is to use a search engine such as Yahoo! or Google to search "advertise a property" and your local area. This is the first step to finding a site that's convenient, affordable, and will give you the most bang for your buck.