The Best Place to List a Rental Property in 2024

Best Place to List a Rental Property

If 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 the best places to list a rental property most cost-effectively (beyond putting a sign in your yard).

What’s the Best Place to List a Rental Property?

1. 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 rent your property. The benefits of working with an agent go well beyond just an MLS listing.

Agents will market your rental property across all channels (direct mail, websites, social media, etc.).  They will also advise you on how 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 I didn’t have it in the budget to pay an agent. I decided to take my chances on less expensive advertising.

2. Flat Fee Listing on MLS

If you don’t want to pay for the full range of agent services but 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.

3. 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, which 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.  If you plan on using Craigslist, sign up with Zillow.com first. They will prepare a custom HTML code to place into Craigslist, which makes the listing look professional.

4. List for Free Using Avail

Avail, while not as popular of a marketplace for real estate listings, has a far more robust set of tools for landlords. By listing your rental property on Avail, you’ll have access to tenant screening, rent collection, maintenance management, and more. Most of the service is free to use. Listings are free.

5. List for Free Using Craigslist

Craigslist is another high-traffic place online to place your rental property advertisement. Navigate to “apartments/housing for rent” and click on the post link.

6. 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 four 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 my real estate investment process.

Related: The Best Landlord Insurance Companies

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

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7 Comments

  1. Avatar OneSmartDollar says:

    We listed ours on Craigslist and had a good response.

  2. Avatar 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!¬† ūüôā

  3. Avatar Money Life and More says:

    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. Avatar Jay Thompson says:

    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/

    1. Avatar Philip Taylor says:

       @Jay Thompson Will my listing on Zillow be automatically fed to the Yahoo! listings?

      1. Avatar Jay Thompson says:

        @Philip Taylor that’s my understanding!

  5. 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.

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