The Best Places to List and Advertise Your Rental Property (Some Free!)

Advertise Your Rental PropertyIf you’re anything like me, one of your biggest fears with owning a rental property is that you will not be able to find a quality tenant quickly.

Taking two or three months to find a quality renter (or spending too much on advertising to do so) could easily ruin your chances of a positive cash flow rental property.

You’ve got to get a quality renter into the property…and quick.

Here are some options for advertising your rental property in the most cost effective manner (beyond putting a sign in your yard).

The Best Places to Advertise Your Rental Property

  • Consider an agent. Real estate agents have access to the MLS system and can list your property in the database, which is then searchable by all tenant agents. Since it usually doesn’t cost a potential renter much if anything at all to work with an agent, many do.

Agents aren’t cheap though. Most will charge you a month’s rent to get your property rented out. The benefits of working with an agent go well beyond just an MLS listing though. Agents will market your rental property across all of their channels (direct mail, websites, social media, etc.).  They will also give you advice on what you need to do to get your investment rental property in the best shape to attract more potential renters.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, an agent will handle the renter vetting and agreement. The agent is familiar with State regulations and has the forms (and systems) in place to find the best tenant and sign them up correctly.

We opted not to use an agent. After looking at the numbers behind my potential rental property, I decided that I didn’t have it in the budget to pay an agent. I decided to take my chances on less expensive advertising.

  • Flat fee listing on MLS. If you don’t want to pay for the full range of agent services but just want a listing on MLS you can pay a flat fee to have your rental property listed.

This is likely frowned upon by real estate agents, but I know there is a market for this service and you should be able to find a service in your area. The services I’ve seen start around $99 for a month of listing.  At this point I haven’t tried this service. But I may if my leads from the free services below start drying up.

  • List for free using Zillow.com. Zillow, in my opinion, has become the online marketplace for all things real estate. That’s where I search for rental property and it’s what I use to help estimate the value of my home, both for sale and rent.  Zillow is free to use and the process is very simple. Just create an account, create your listing, upload some pictures, and you’re done. As an extra step you can post your Zillow.com listing on Craigslist for free.  Even if you plan on just using Craigslist, sign up with Zillow.com first. They will prepare a custom html code to place into the Craigslist, which makes the listing look professional.
  • A service similar to Zillow.com is Trulia.com. From my vantage point, using their listing service is very comparable to Zillow.com. They also have a free “post to Craigslist tool”.
Trulia Rental Property Listing

My free rental property listing on Trulia.com.

  • List for free using Craigslist. Craigslist is another high-traffic place online to place your rental property advertisement. Simply navigate to “apts/housing for rent” and click on the post link.
  • Let everyone in your network know. Don’t forget the easiest step in advertising your rental property: Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about your available unit. Use social media to get the word out too.

Okay, that’s all I got. So far my advertising efforts have attracted 4 potential renters. I’m still vetting the renters (i.e. credit and background checks), but I’ll be back with another post to let you know about that process.

Think you know the best place to advertise your rental property? Let us know in the comments below.

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Last Edited: July 7, 2014 @ 1:43 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Let me put in a military plug for the military’s Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN.com).  It’s rolling out nationwide but it’s probably only available if there’s a military base within an hour or two of your address.  
     
    Any landlord (civilian or military) can list their rental property on AHRN.com, but only military (verified ID) can browse the listings.  The advantage of a military tenant, of course, is that they have a housing allowance (market rent) and job security (no layoffs).  They also know how to move into & out of a rental property, they know how to make a fast decision when they see the right answer, and they might be interested in signing a multi-year lease.  
     
    A drawback is the possibility that they’ll be ordered to a new duty station, which by law allows them to depart in the middle of a lease.
     
    We’ve used AHRN for several years and have had high-quality tenants both times.  We haven’t even bothered to ask for a credit check.

  2. Jay T from ZIllow here. Thanks for the kind words about Zillow Philip! Great timing as just today Zillow announced a partnership with Yahoo! to be the exclusive provider of rental listings to Yahoo! Homes. http://www.zillow.com/blog/2012-07-03/zillow-now-exclusive-provider-of-rental-listings-to-yahoo-homes/

  3. I always thought I’d use craigslist if I ever needed to rent a house but Zillow sounds like a good option too! I always looked for rentals on hotpads and trulia but don’t know if you can post rentals there or if they are just aggregators.

  4. BradAndersohn says:

    Hi Philip – Brad from Zillow here. Thanks for the kudos and kind words about Zillow. I am currently using our site to market one of my own rental properties and I’m getting lots of contacts from having the property listed there. Thanks to Zillow I hope to have it rented out by the end of the month. Woohoo!  :-)

  5. We listed ours on Craigslist and had a good response.

  6. stilbonsam says:

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    http://rent4free.com.au/blog/

  7. stilbonsam says:

    Thank you for another wonderful article. Wherever else could anyone have that type of info on this kind of a perfect way with words? I have a presentation in a few days, and Im around the look for these info.
    http://rent4free.com.au/blog/