Advertising Rental Property Tips
The elements included when advertising rental property can be the difference between good tenants and destructive ones. Use your advertising wisely to attract the tenants that are right for you. Additionally, you want to include accurate information that isn't misleading or deceptive--a problem that gets many landlords in legal trouble. Consider what the most important provisions of your lease agreement are and provide that information in your advertisement. The following are great examples of what many savvy landlords include in their rental property advertisement.
Rent: When advertising rental property, be careful and only charge the market rent, or slightly less. This is regardless of what overhead or costs are attached to the property. Tenants will be familiar with the market and may not even look into your unit if the price is too high above market. Most lease agreements include a security deposit in case of damage beyond wear and tear or unpaid rent. Be sure to check your state's laws, because many put a cap on how much of a security deposit landlords can require. Typically, it is twice the monthly rent.
Size: Most landlords just list the square footage. Some even provide a small blueprint of the unit, so that potential tenants can see the layout and dimensions. Be sure to be honest and not to embellish.
Location: With the technology of GPS, it is usually adequate to put the actual address when advertising rental property. It is also wise to include the cross-streets. Some landlords only include a general area or cross-streets for fear of burglary. Know your area and keep this in mind when listing your advertisement.
Year or month-to-month rental agreement: In a tough market, the assurance of binding your tenant to a full year is wise. On the contrary, if you want to be able to raise the rent to a reasonably higher rate within that year, a month-to-month lease might be better (remember that you will have to give reasonable notice--usually 30 days). The other appeal of a month-to-month lease is that if a tenant is problematic, it is easier to get them out--simply give a notice to end the lease.
Special features: Special features, especially updated kitchens and bathrooms and new appliances, are a great advertising mechanism. Also be sure to list things like patios/decks, furniture, washer/dryer, dishwasher, hardwood floors, new carpet, etc.
Number of tenants allowed: Considering the size and number of bedrooms in your unit, decide on how many people you will allow to occupy the rental property. A good guideline is to allow two tenants per bedroom. Be sure to check your state's laws and housing codes on this, because some states and ordinances require you to allow more or even disallow too many.
Whether pets are allowed: Allowing pets will open your unit up to more potential tenants, especially in a market where not every rental property allows pets. Many landlords who allow pets also require an additional security deposit or nonrefundable fee for any pet damage. Of course, you can prohibit pets as long as the pet is not a service animal registered to a disabled person.
Contact information: The more available you are, the more potential tenants will trust you as a responsible and conscientious landlord. Provide a phone number where you know someone will always be able to answer. If you are away from your phone frequently, see if you can have your calls forwarded so that potential renters can speak to someone live and ask any questions. You may also want to include an email address, since so many people prefer to do all of their correspondence via email.
Date and time of any open house: Open houses are a great way to get publicity and to accommodate showing the unit to many people at the same time. Be prepared for your open house, by being early and be ready to answer any potential questions that are thrown at you. Bring business cards and information about how to obtain a rental application. Many landlords have stopped passing out paper applications so freely as to save on paper. However, printing off a few flyers with the rental property information and passing these out at the open house is a great idea.