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19 Tried And True Online Property Marketing Tips to Fill Rental Vacancies Fast

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Attracting new tenants to fill rental vacancies quickly is critical for maintaining a steady revenue stream from your property. So what's the secret to getting a great new tenant into your rental property faster? Two words: online marketing.

Whether you've been marketing properties online for years, or have just begun experimenting with digital marketing, it can be difficult and time-consuming to effectively promote your rental units online. Which online rental listing sites are worth the time? How much do you really need to spend on photos to attract enough attention?

Balancing the need to attract high-quality applicants on one hand with the need to get your property in front of a wide-enough audience on the other is always tough.

But if you get that balance just right, you can get the right tenants into your rental units faster and at a lower cost.

We wanted to know which strategies work best, so we asked several Property Management experts what they do to get vacancies filled up quickly — here's what they said:

Photos of the Property Matter — A Lot.

1. "Tenants want a clear, appealing view of the property so they can picture what it's like to move in. Don't skimp on these photographs — hire a professional photographer to bring out the best in your property. Professional photography is an investment that pays off in the long run, since you can use the photos for as long as you're managing the property."

- Davis Pratt
Property Management Inc.

2. "When advertising a property online, the single most important things are the pictures. You cannot have enough, and don't skimp on hiring a professional photographer. As well as renting out properties, I've also been a renter as well and I can tell you from firsthand experience that if a property doesn't have enough photos or high-quality photos, I skip right over it. I've actually tested this and increasing the photo volume and quality increases leads every single time. I have never had it lose a test with fewer pictures and lower quality."

- James Pollard
Marketing Consultancy Owner and Landlord
TheAdvisorCoach.com

3. "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of high-quality photos...The best property listings are ones with a large number of high-quality photos and a brief but clear description. I urge landlords to take the time to shoot photos of every room with good lighting. A picture is worth more than a thousand words in real estate."

- Sarnen Steinbarth
CEO/Founder of TurboTenant and Longtime Landlord/Property Manager
www.turbotenant.com

4. "For my postings, I make sure and include as many pictures as I can. I also have noticed that posting pictures of a vacant (or very little furniture) works much better. Take a picture of each room, amenities (pools, clubhouse), decks, porches, yards and parking, where applicable.

Many of my peers feel taking pictures with a phone is a big no-no. I disagree, wholeheartedly. Nowadays, phones have superior photo taking ability and I am not about spending money for professional photos. I have never had issue renting using phone pics. And frankly, I want to get the unit listed as quick as possible and my phone is always there."

- Denise Supplee
Property Management Specialist and Real Estate Investment Educator
SparkRental.com

Be Strategic When Choosing Which Online Platforms to Post Your Listing On

5. "I also would encourage landlords and property managers to streamline their rental listing process through the awesome technology on the market today. When it comes to marketing your rental property, the more places you list it the better. There is no 1 magic bullet. The wider your audience, the better chance you have of finding the truly qualified renter you want to place in the property. The good news is, with modern technology, you can utilize free software to syndicate your listing across multiple listing sites at once with one click of a button."

- Sarnen Steinbarth
CEO/Founder of TurboTenant and Longtime Landlord/Property Manager
www.turbotenant.com

6. "I used to post my rental listings to several sites individually. However, with Zillow Rental Manager, which is free (it used to be called Postlets), I enter my property info and it remains. So, should I have a need to have to rent again, voila! Info is already there. And it goes further, it syndicates my listing out to other popular websites such as Trulia and Hotpads. I still use Craigslist, however, I have noticed that I am not getting the response I used to from that venue."

- Denise Supplee
Property Management Specialist and Real Estate Investment Educator
SparkRental.com

7. "We rent a few hundred apartments each year in the competitive NYC market… although StreetEasy had been the website of choice until they started charging, we are now seeing more traffic from Hotpads and apartments.com. Video on YouTube is also helpful, especially when we're offering a premium product which is frequently the case. Syndicating the listings through our property management software, AppFolio, makes the distribution far easier."

- Adam Jernow
WayFinderPM.com

8. "Here is what I've found - Craigslist works well with lower income properties. I'm not exactly sure why, but the higher-end rentals don't get as many leads through Craigslist. Rent.com tends to work well with all properties and I think that's because people can filter by price."

- James Pollard
Marketing Consultancy Owner and Landlord
TheAdvisorCoach.com

Want to Write a Good Property Description? Tell a Story.

9. "Photos are important, but you shouldn't neglect the marketing text. People respond to a narrative, so tell your tenants a story of what the property can offer them, with engaging, descriptive language. Tenants are especially interested in the details of your property's bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Location matters too, make sure to list what highways, shopping centers, or parks are nearby, but be careful since only some location descriptions are allowed for managers with a real estate license. It pays to double check."

- Davis Pratt
Property Management Inc.

10. "If you are looking for quality applicants, don't waste your time screening dozens of unqualified renters. The best way to do this is to create an ad with clear qualifications. If you require a credit score of 600 or above, put it in your ad. This will help deter those who know they won't meet your qualifications. And as always, be sure you follow Fair Housing Laws when creating your criteria and listing."

- Sarnen Steinbarth
CEO/Founder of TurboTenant and Longtime Landlord/Property Manager
www.turbotenant.com

11. "Focus on one or two assets of your rental. Is it located near public transportation? Is it close to major highways? Great schools? Does it have a beautiful patio? You get the gist."

- Denise Supplee
Property Management Specialist and Real Estate Investment Educator
SparkRental.com

12. "With the online marketing copy, target the property toward a specific group or groups of potential tenants. Don't discriminate, but realize that certain people are looking for specific features — a large house near a school is good for children, or an older house with a yard might be good for people with pets. This may sound elementary but it's surprising how many landlords don't do this."

- Jeff Rohde
Real Estate Investor, Author of The Real Estate Property Management Guide
JScottDigital.com

Use Social Media as a Powerful Tool to Attract Tenants

13. "I also use social media. It is becoming a force in the business of real estate and I found my tenant from Facebook. Not only do I just post to my page, but there is now the Facebook marketplace."

- Denise Supplee
Property Management Specialist and Real Estate Investment Educator
SparkRental.com

14. "I've been experimenting with Facebook ads and I've had some success there as well. What I do is I filter by geographic area, age, and income. This works well because it means I'm only attracting people who are less likely to be transient, in my area, and can afford the rent."

- James Pollard
Marketing Consultancy Owner and Landlord
TheAdvisorCoach.com

Qualify Tenants With a Compelling Property Website

15. "Do not tell the whole story on an online website. Instead, set up a very basic website for the property and link back to it. This simple website should include a detailed property description, lots of photos, what the rental requirements are, and a rental application that can be downloaded. This accomplishes many things, and it especially helps in qualifying the prospective tenant."

Jeff Rohde
Real Estate Investor, Author of The Real Estate Property Management Guide
JScottDigital.com

Stay on Top of Your Pricing Strategy

16. "Track activity on your properties online. If a property is stagnating, especially when others are lighting up, the pricing may be too high. If this persists, drop the property's price after a week. Begin marketing your property prepared that you may have to adjust the price, pricing is an important part of marketing."

Davis Pratt
Property Management Inc.

Advertise the Unique Benefits That Differentiate Your Property

17. "Good online marketing can be a cost-effective tool to reduce vacancy rates. However, it's important that you develop a strategy that not only ensures you reach the right audience, but also differentiates your property from all the others... One example we've seen from a variety of property managers is to reduce the barrier of entry by offering ancillary services to entice lease signatures as part of their online marketing campaign... One trend we see among landlords and property managers is partnering with truck-sharing services to offer move discounts for prospective tenants."

Michael Decatur
Chief Marketing Officer
Truxx, Inc

Give Tenants the Opportunity to Build Their Credit By Paying Rent

18. "One of the best ways to differentiate your property is to offer benefits that other rentals in your area don't — like rent reporting. You're probably already familiar with reporting tenants who don't pay to credit bureaus. But, you can report tenant's on-time rent payments every month, too. This helps them to get a significant credit score boost, and it shows them you're looking out for their best interest. I'm obviously biased, but with a platform like RentTrack there's no added work for you at the end of the month. On-time payments are automatically reported to all three bureaus. Plus, tenants are more likely to pay online with a strong incentive like rent reporting. So, you win again with high online payment adoption rates. Highlighting rent reporting in your online marketing will not only help you attract more tenants — you'll also get more responsible applicants."

Brad Batesole
Chief Marketing Officer
RentTrack

19. "We have used RentTrack for several years now and our tenants love it. The opportunity to pay rent and build your credit at the same time is an amazing tool we offer our tenants and hopefully future home buyers. Our agents have used it to promote our rentals and it just makes us more competitive in this world of fast moving technology."

Katja Hom
VP Business Development
AveryHess.com

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