For most people, the most challenging part of owning a rental property is finding great tenants. It can seem overwhelming and I find that people are not even sure where to begin.
There are many places where you can advertise your rental property:
- Sign on the Lawn: This is what most “old school” landlords do, and it’s as simple as it sounds. You grab a “For Rent” sign, write in your phone number, and place the sign on the lawn in front of the property. This is relatively easy to implement and is also very cheap. However, you are not exposing your property to a very wide audience this way. People will not know your place is for rent, unless they happen to drive by it. I’ve seen mixed results with this method, and I think there are some better options out there.
- Local Newspaper: Surprisingly, many people still look in the local newspaper to find a rental. You get more exposure than putting a sign on the lawn, but not as much as online options. This option is also the most expensive, and it’s not uncommon to pay up to $100 a week just to advertise your property. These costs can add up quickly. One thing that you may not know is that often there is an online only advertising option that can be very low cost (often free). The online only option can be a great way to give more information about your property and you can often include pictures.
- Zillow: This is a great way to get your property exposed to a wide audience…for free! We love using Zillow because we can put a great description of our rental and include as many photos as we want. People can search for our rental, even if they don’t currently live in the area. Our Zillow ad can also be posted on other sites, which ensures that we are getting seen by as many people as possible.
- Facebook Groups: There are Facebook groups for almost every interest, including people looking for rentals. To find one for your area, you can type in “city or county name for rent” into the group search option on Facebook to see if there are any rental groups for your area. We live in a small town but have a very active Facebook rental group for the area. The best part about this option, is that it is of course, free. You are also able to browse through the profiles of those who inquire about your rental, which is a quick and easy way to see if a potential tenant might be a good fit for your property.
- Craigslist: Surely everyone knows about Craigslist. It has many of the benefits of advertising in a Facebook Group. However, there are more negatives to Craigslist, since there tends to be quite a few spammers on there. I think the response you will get, really depends on the area you live in, as I know some people have had great success using Craigslist to find potential tenants.
- Large Local Businesses: We have a large hospital in our area as well as a college, so we have found that a great way to find renters is to let the hiring managers of large local businesses know the type of rentals that we own. When they are hiring new people, they have our information that they can give to people relocating to the area, and we get quite a few people who call to see if we have anything available. Sometimes, we don’t have anything available, but there have been times where we have something coming up that we haven’t had a chance to advertise through our normal routes, and we have a renter secured before we have had a chance to get the word out. We have a lot of success renting through these channels, as we have found that these people are moving to our area because they already have secured a job, and the company has done much of the hard work of screening the candidate for us.
For our rentals, we use a combination of a few of the above methods. We will typically take many pictures of a property and include that information in a Zillow ad. Then, we can use the Zillow ad to post to local Facebook For Rent Groups. We will also post an ad to the local papers online section only (which is free), and include pictures there as well. We have built relationships with a few local businesses over the years, and get some referrals from them as well. Hopefully, these tips will help you find some great rental candidates for almost no money!