Becoming a Landlord: Part 5 – Listing Your Property

listing your propertyLast week I talked about how important finding the right tenant is for your rental property. But how do you attract the right tenant? You’ll want to make sure you represent your property well – and in the right places – in order to get that great renter for the place you’ve worked so hard on. So here’s how to make sure you do this all important step well.

Write a good listing. Accentuate the great things about your place. Is it walking distance to some great restaurants? Maybe you updated the bathroom recently. List all of the features that might peak the interest of prospective renters. You’ll certainly want to document the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but don’t forget to tell the renter what sort of appliances and energy efficiencies your home has. Lower monthly energy bills are a huge selling point. Don’t forget the great lifestyle benefits that your place has too. Including those will make your place stand out from the pack. If you are in a great school district or even just super close to the best ice cream in town (like I am), make sure your audience knows that. These intangibles really help make a house feel like a home which is what you are trying to do.

Offering extras. With my rental property I listed the extras that I offer. I do the lawn maintenance and take care of the pest control. Lots of landlords don’t include either of these. The tenant is totally on their own. My current tenant has a high powered job and she is gone a lot. Lawn maintenance is something that she just isn’t up for. These added perks really helped my place stand out. Make sure to add those into your listing. The added benefit to me is that I know the lawn maintenance is kept up. I’m not depending on the renter to keep my property looking good. And I get to see the house every other week when I’m there. I like that because I have a lot of money invested in it!

Take good photos. Everyone loves a good picture. Don’t run through the house taking pics with your smartphone. You’ll regret it. Get a good camera – borrow if you have to – and make sure your house is well lit. Mow the grass and trim the bushes. Make sure the sun is out in full force for a great curb appeal picture. Good pictures will create that emotional appeal that makes tenants want to come and kick the tires in person.

List your property in the right places. Craigslist is going to be the go-to for the younger generation. I know lots of folks are hesitant about using Craigslist. Don’t be. It is the single best place to list your property. And it’s free! Here’s a funny article from Gizmodo on writing the perfect Craiglist ad to help get you started. All the great listing services are free by the way. Zillow is another service you’ll want to make sure your property is listed on (also free). Don’t forget to go old fashioned too. “For rent” signs in the front yard can go a long way – especially in a neighborhood with lots of foot traffic. Your neighbors have a vested interest in having someone awesome rent your place. Let them know you are renting it out. I’ve seen places rented to great tenants with only a little “for rent” sign in the front yard and word of mouth from the neighbors.

Respond in timely manner. People understand that you might not e-mail back between the hours of 8 and 5. But don’t be that guy who doesn’t respond for days. The people that are interested in your place need a place to live soon and will quickly move on to something else. You don’t want to lose good tenants because you forget to check your e-mail or are just too busy to write back. Also, have a few different times within that next week that you are open to showing the property. People responding to your post will most likely want to see the place soon in order to make a decision. Don’t put them off!

If you follow these rules of listing your property you will definitely stick out from the pack. A good listing can nab you the great tenant that you are looking for. And remember, a good tenant is half the battle. Doing the listing halfway could bring some unfortunate results.

[photo courtesy of Daniel]

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