Newspaper classified ads are dead; long live the Internet! As property managers, we work in a world where renters are looking for dynamic content that gives them more than the number of bedrooms and baths. They want videos, rental reviews, social integration, 3D walk-thrus, real-time mapping, and interactive media.
Today’s renters are Internet savvy and accustomed to shopping and communicating online. They will likely visit many websites, not just one, so you need to increase your reach over as many of the top websites as possible.
The 5 optimum online locations for your property rental listings include:
1. Your Own Company Website
This may seem like a given, but many property management companies neglect to maximize the potential of this great asset. It is the one place where you have total control over the content. Use it to showcase your rentals in their best light. Give potential tenants all the information they need to make a decision as well as an opportunity to apply online. Capture prospective tenants here and you will most likely establish relationships before your competition does.
2. Free Internet Listing Services
There are many well-known free rental listing services. HotPads, Oodle, Trulia and Vast are some of the best known ones. There are a few drawbacks to these sites. It can be time consuming to create listings on each site for each property and your ads can quickly get buried among the other listings.
Craigslist is a free classified listing service, but its name recognition warrants a separate mention. It is one of the first places that potential tenants think of when searching for rentals. That means it should be on your radar as well. The volume of traffic will require you to post daily to keep your ads from getting buried, but it can be worth the effort. The service is free now, but rumor has it that they will be moving to a fee-based service in the future, as they already have in certain markets.
4. Paid Internet Listing Sites
Paid listing sites or services (Lovely, Trulia Pro, Rentals.com) will cost you money, but the advantages can make them worth it. Their marketing is more aggressive. Many of these sites invest heavily in search marketing and have top rankings under high traffic keywords. The exposure they offer as a premium ad source can lead to more and better quality leads. Check with your fellow property managers to find out which of these premium services generates the best results for your area and try them out. Make sure you have a good way to track all your leads and how many leases you convert.
5. Localized Property Listing Services
In some instances we hear there are certain local sites in specific cities that have a lot of traction for marketing rentals. These can rank from online newspaper classifieds, student housing sites, military housing, and others. It’s important to always look for these different places as many of them are free or very affordable. Don’t bank on a lot of lead volume, but overall quality and return on investment should be very good.