How to Write the Perfect Craigslist Listing

Even with so many online listing sites available today, landlords find that Craigslist can still be a successful way to find interested renters. The site is over 20 years old, and it surely has its drawbacks, but its price (free) and steady traffic has kept landlords coming back, and the bottom line: craigslist still works for rentals

But this popularity also means competition. It’s important to write the perfect property listing so that yours stands out among the crowd. Poorly crafted listings, or ones that appear to be a scam, will go unnoticed by prospective renters. 

It can be difficult to figure out what works and what doesn’t, especially on Craigslist. Below, we go over how to write the perfect craigslist listing. With these tips, you’ll be able to create effective listings that appeal to prospective renters. 

How to Post a Rental Listing on Craigslist 

Before we discuss writing the perfect listing, let’s go over how to post a listing on Craigslist in the first place. Follow these basic steps: 

  1. Make a Craigslist account. To begin, head to Craigslist and create an account. All you need to sign up is a valid email address. An email will then be sent so you can verify the account. 
  2. Create a posting. Click the “create a posting” option and input the location of your rental property. Then select “housing offered” to create a rental listing. 
  3. Select a housing type. Next, you will need to choose the type of property for the listing. You should select apartments and housing for rent, or the option that best applies. 
  4. Fill in the details. You will then fill out the details for the rental. These details will include rent price, bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, pets, availability, and square feet. You will also need to provide a description of the property and your contact information. 
  5. Add pictures. Once the details are input, you can add pictures of the property. Save the files on your computer, and follow the instructions on the site to upload and reorder them as you wish. 
  6. Review the listing. Once you’ve added everything, you should double and triple check the ad to make sure it looks exactly how you want and it is free of errors. 
  7. Confirm posting. The final step is to ensure your ad is posted. You will receive an email with a link to verify the post. Simply follow the link to confirm posting. 

Write the Perfect Craigslist Listing 

Now that you’re familiar with how to post a listing, let’s go over a few key tips to writing the perfect Craigslist listing. 

Eye-Catching Headlines 

The headline of a listing is more important than many landlords think. Because it’s the first thing renters see, you need to make sure it is attention-grabbing. Keep in mind, however, that eye-catching doesn’t necessarily mean overly exciting. It’s best to avoid all caps and exclamation points. Here’s what your heading should include: 

  • Price. The price is likely a renter’s biggest deciding factor, so it’s good to lead with it. And let’s be honest, you don’t want renters that can afford your rent anyways. 
  • Beds and baths. Providing the number of beds and baths in the headline allows renters to know right away if the unit will be a good fit for them. 
  • Type of building. For this, think apartment, house, condo, or duplex. This helps renters picture what exactly the rental offers. 
  • Neighborhood. Many renters are looking to live in a very specific neighborhood. Including the specific location helps draw in renters in your area. 
  • Best feature. Save the best for last. You should end your headline with the property’s best feature to encourage renters to click and learn more. 

In the end, your listing should look something like this: $1,500 — 2 Bed / 2 Bath apartment in Over-The-Rhine Cincinnati with impressive skyline view. 

High-Quality Photos 

Once renters click on a listing, the first thing they tend to look at is the pictures. Good photos help paint an accurate picture of the property. It’s a common misconception that you need expensive equipment or a professional photographer to capture high-quality photos of a property. In reality, good lighting, some strategic staging, and your phone’s camera can create good pictures for renters. 

Just be sure to upload the pictures in an order that will make sense to the renters. Follow the layout of the unit and be sure to feature the rooms that renters care about most. The better your pictures are, the more likely they will be to meet for a showing. 

Be Creative 

You don’t want your listing to be just like everyone else’s. Putting in the effort to be a little creative can go a long way in setting your listing apart from the others. Some creative things you can do are uploading pictures of the outside of the property or including a link to a video tour of the property. These small things can make a big difference in locking down applicants. 

Lead with Professionalism 

Over sensationalizing the property can be off-putting and cheesy for renters Lots of excited marks, flowery descriptions, and too much spin can make the listing seem like a scam, which renters are likely already weary of on Craigslist It’s okay to use adjectives and illustrative descriptions, just be sure not to over do it. Maintaining professionalism will encourage renters to take your property seriously and look further into the listing. 

Be Specific and Precise 

Renters want to know exactly what the property offers and what it doesn’t. Try to answer any questions the renter may have, and go beyond 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and the price. You should precisely state the square-footage, price, utilities not included in rent, lease length, amenities, property layout, location, and availability. 

You should also specifically explain advantageous features of the property such as pet-friendly, parking, age of appliances, number of windows in important rooms, amount of storage space, and more. 

Update Frequently 

Not only does Craigslist attract a large pool of renters, it also brings in plenty of landlords with lots of listings. In order to remain towards the top of the rental ads page, you should update your listing frequently. The rule of thumb is to update every 48 hours. You can do this by simply editing a sentence or adding another picture. This ensures that your listing won’t get lost at the bottom. 

Remove once the Vacancy is Filled 

It is important to remember to remove the listing once the vacancy is filled. Many landlords forget and leave it up, which leads to extra emails in your inbox and frustrated renters. If you never get back to renters who message you, it’s unlikely they’ll be interested in your future listings.  

Follow the Rules 

The last thing you want is for your perfect listing to be taken down because it violates community guidelines. You must follow Craigslist’s standards, as well as abide by the federal Fair Housing Act. Both state that you cannot discriminate against tenants on the basis of a protected class, which includes race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. Landlords cannot include statements about accepting only certain kinds of tenants. 

You must also be sure not to post too many listings in too short a time According to Craigslist guidelines, you cannot post more than once in a category in a given area within 48 hours. If you post too many ads, or ads that are too similar to one another, the ads will not be posted. 

Conclusion 

Hopefully you’re now feeling confident in your Craigslist marketing approach with these tips and tricks under your belt. It’s important to remember, however, that you are not limited to Craigslist when it comes to marketing your rentals. There are plenty of great places to market your rental across the web and we’ve compiled some of the best listing sites for you. If the idea of posting to all these places seems overwhelming, you may want to consider using listing syndication software. But no matter how you choose to market your rentals, be sure it’s the best fit for your rental business. 

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