How to Create a Rental Listing: The Basics

Landlords use listings to advertise their rental properties. If you’re unfamiliar, a rental listing is a short article that uses a catchy headline, professional pictures, and a detailed description of the vacancy to attract renters. 

Having an attention-grabbing listing allows you to be noticed by potential tenants. On average, you are competing with about 100 other properties. Creating a competitive listing is necessary in order to secure prospective renters. 

Quality listings garner attention quicker than subpar listings — this makes sense. As a result, creating an eye-catching listing allows you to fill your vacancy more quickly. 

What’s more, a good listing will attract a higher quantity of renters. This gives you a larger pool of applicants to choose from, increasing your chances of finding a high-quality tenant to lease your property to. 

It should be obvious that the listing creation process must be taken seriously if you want to fill your vacancies quickly and with high-quality renters. Below, we go over everything you need to know about creating perfect rental listings

Components of Listings 

There are four main components of listings: 

  • Headlines 
  • Pictures 
  • Descriptions 
  • Prices 

Each of these components play a key role in creating quality listings, so it’s important to pay each the attention they deserve. Let’s take a look at these four components and the process required for each. 

Headlines 

A listing’s headline is its most critical component. The headline is the first thing renters see. They immediately form an opinion of the property based on what the heading contains. Because headlines are so short, many landlords think of them as just the cherry on top, but the reality is that the headline is the whole sundae. 

Process 

Because headlines carry so much of the listing’s weight, it can be daunting to try to create the perfect header. However, if you stick to the following tips, you will have an attention-grabbing header every time. 

  1. Price. The first thing your headline should include is the price. Because the price is the determining factor for most renters, it’s best to provide it upfront. And let’s be honest, you don’t want a renter who can’t afford your rent anyways. 
  2. Beds and baths. Next you should mention the number of beds and baths the unit has. This basic information allows the renter to know right away if your property could be the right fit for them. 
  3. Type of building. You should also provide the type of building your rental the property is. For this, think apartment, house, condo, or duplex. The housing type allows the renter to start forming a picture of the property. 
  4. Neighborhood. Many renters are interested in living in a specific neighborhood, not just a certain city. Including the neighborhood capitalizes on the benefits of your property’s location. 
  5. Best feature. You should end your headline with the property’s #1 feature. This is the aspect of the unit that sets it apart from other comparable rentals. Once you determine what makes your property special, be sure to highlight it throughout the listing. 
  6. Avoid caps and exclamation marks. Although it can be tempting to write your listing in all caps and include exclamation marks to make it seem more exciting, all this really does is make it look cheesy. A professional headline will encourage renters to take your property seriously. 

In the end, your headline should look something like this: 

$1,500 — 2 Bed / 2 Bath apartment in Over-The-Rhine Cincinnati with impressive skyline view. 

Photos 

When it comes to listings, a picture really is worth a thousand words. According to the National Association of Realtors, over 85% of renters say the listing’s photos are the deciding factor when it comes to choosing which properties to view. With those numbers, it’s clear that the photo-taking process deserves your attention. 

Process 

There are an infinite number of tips and tricks for taking the perfect photos of your rental property. The reality is that with some decent equipment, good lighting, and an emphasis on the important features of the rental, you’ll likely be in good shape. Below, we provide a simple guide for taking the perfect picture for your rental listing

  1. High quality files. There’s simply no point in putting in the work to capture beautiful photos if your equipment isn’t up to par. Cameras, lenses, and tripods can be expensive, but high-quality photos are worth the investment. 
  2. Use natural light. Renters aren’t going to have a professional lighting set-up when they move in, so there’s no need to have one for your pictures. The most flattering light is often natural light. 
  3. Emphasize important rooms. There are often limits on how many photos you can include in a listing, so be sure to highlight the important rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and bedroom. If you can include more photos, then move on to less important rooms. 
  4. Include floor plans. In order for renters to create an informed opinion of your rental property, it’s good to include floor plans in your listings. This extra step goes a long way in winning over renters. 

Descriptions 

Descriptions make up the meat of listings. Once a renter has been drawn in by the headline and impressed by the photos, they move on to the description to learn more about the rental property. As such, it is important that your descriptions answer all of the questions that a potential renter might have. 

Process 

Below we go over all of the major components that your description should include, as well as a few tips for creating a successful listing description. 

What to Feature in Your Listing Descriptions: 
  1. Amenities. Even if your rental property isn’t the newest or biggest property in town, you can lock down renters with good amenities. Be sure to include specifics about amenities like the property’s in-suite laundry room, gym access, and outdoor space. 
  2. Specs. Renters look to the listing’s description to learn about the specific details of the rental. This includes the property’s condition (new, old, modern), the property’s layout (floor plan and size of rooms), an itemized list of the property’s rooms, and the bills included in the property’s rent (heat, water, electricity, parking). 
  3. Pet policy. Many renters are on the hunt for pet-friendly living spaces, so be sure to mention your pet policy in your description. If you require a down payment, pet rent, and/or pet fees, include your specific policy in your description. 
  4. Location. Renters tend to be interested in living in a very specific area. As such, it is important to include the exact location of the property. This also gives them the chance to scope it out on their own from a distance before setting up an official showing. 
  5. Lease terms. It’s good practice to include the important terms of the property’s lease, like if it’s a month-to-month lease or a yearly lease. This allows renters to gauge if the lease and property will be a good fit for them. 
  6. Contact information. If you don’t provide your contact information, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll hear from interested renters. Be sure to include your name, phone number, and email address so that renters can get ahold of you. 
Tips for Writing Listing Descriptions: 
  1. Bulleted lists. Instead of including disconnected information in large paragraphs, try using bulleted lists. This helps the renter find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. 
  2. Exact numbers. Being wishy-washy about information can be frustrating for renters and instills a sense of distrust right from the start. Use exact numbers when it comes to rent price, square-footage, security deposits, and more. 
  3. Rich adjectives. It’s important to make sure that every adjective you use adds value to your descriptions. Using too many adjectives that lack genuine purpose make a listing seem cheap and unprofessional. 
  4. Punctuation. Try to avoid using too many exclamation points, but don’t be afraid to utilize punctuation. Long, run-on sentences can be confusing for renters. Once you’re done writing the description, go back through break up sentences that are too long. 
  5. Express value and emotion. A successful technique for creating rich and engaging descriptions is to relate the property’s features to benefits of the listing. From there, you should connect benefits to emotional sentiments. This technique adds true value to the description. 

Prices 

Now let’s talk prices. The rent price and utilities for a property will likely be the factors that ultimately determine whether or not a renter will sign a lease. As a result, it’s important to price your rental property fairly, while also ensuring that you’re turning a profit in the process. 

Process 

There are a couple key tips to keep in mind when settling on a rental price.  

  1. Analyze comparable properties. Do some market research and figure out what other landlords are charging for rent for comparable properties in your area. This allows you to ensure that your prices are competitive, while also being appropriate for the location and property. 

Conclusion 

Despite what you may have previously thought, creating rental listings isn’t complicated. As long as you know what your property has to offer and what potential renters need to know, you should have no problem creating effective listings. 

Having a great rental listing isn’t enough, though. You need to be sure you post your listings where renters are looking, otherwise all of your hard work will be for nothing. To help make the best decision for your real estate business, check out our article on the best websites to list your rental listings

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