Tips for Writing a Rental Property Listing to Land a Tenant

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With so many listings out there for prospective tenants to choose from, you need to have one that not only catches their attention but also holds their interest without making it feel like they are being taken for a ride. You need a listing that helps them imagine that your property could be just the place for them to live, just enough that they make an appointment to come see it.

With that in mind let’s go through some tips for writing just the right listing to land you a new tenant.

Use clear, everyday language.

This may sound over-the-top obvious, however, you’ve no doubt just come through months of learning about real estate, talking about real estate, and spending big chunks of time with real estate agents. As such, you have very likely picked up some of their buzz words. Ask yourself if you’ve found a few occasions to work “upgraded finishes” or “split level” into your vocabulary. And while it’s important to know what all these terms mean when you’re purchasing an investment property, they may not mean quite as much to prospective tenants. Once you’ve written your listing, it’s helpful to get feedback from a friend who is not interested in investment property to see if it all makes sense.

Get the price out there right away.

Occasionally new owners are reluctant to post the rental price for fear that it will drive away a potential tenant. The thinking goes that if you have an amazing ad for a great property a prospective tenant will fall in love with the place and then move heaven and earth to be sure they can afford the rent. That’s not how it works. You only want people to inquire if your property falls within their pre-established budget. It means fewer surprises for them, fewer surprises for you, and usually a lot less screening work for you to do.

Don’t shout at people.

It’s very easy to let your excitement get the best of you in type. You have a property that no doubt has some really great features that you are looking to make pop. And it used to be that you could use an all-caps sentence to draw particular attention to a point. Today you’re more like to likely to make the reader feel like they are being yelled as opposed to enticed. Try to avoid writing any sentences with the capslock on and instead use bolded, underlined, or coloured text to make things stand out. In the same way, you will want to be cautious about overusing exclamation marks. A good rule of thumb, is never more than one sentence in a paragraph should end with an exclamation mark; and there is no sentence so exciting that it ever needs more than one exclamation mark!! (The previous sentence is the exception that proves the rule.)

Winking is a bad idea in person and in rental listings.

Many people have gotten really comfortable with the ease of which you can convey emotion with a simple emoji. It works in text messages, Whatsapp, and Twitter but, winky faces should never find their way into your property listings. It’s important that you always remember that this is a business transaction and as such needs to come across in a professional manner. It helps the prospective tenant know they are dealing with someone who is serious about being a professional landlord. Let the home’s great features doing the heavy lifting and keep your quirky personality for your friends and family.

Write for the time of year.

Throughout the year, the things that are important to people change as each season brings it own challenges and opportunities. You want to make sure your listing is highlighting the features that take the best advantage of the time of year you’re in and tap into a prospective tenant’s imagination of their life right now. For example, a swimming pool, outdoor patio space, or garden would be star attractions in any listing being posted in the summer. While, a gas fireplace, spacious mud room, insulated windows make much better leads for a wintertime listing. It’s not to say that you would leave out any of those features based on the season, you simply lead with or draw particular attention to the features most relevant to the current moment.

Write to the pictures.

Let’s face it, photos are important. And staging and shooting your investment property is an article all it’s own! Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional if you don’t feel it’s up-your-alley. You will want to make sure that all the really great features of the property are captured and then write briefly about each of them in the listing. The images should help inspire the viewer to see themselves in the space, while the listing should confirm all that they are seeing and maybe suggest a few things they hadn’t thought of. For example, a great back patio can be an amazing space for entertaining friends, but also a carefree place for the children to play. It’s important that you take new photos every time a listing comes back on the market and revise the description to match. Don’t rely on pictures from a few years back when the property was last on the market as things may be quite different. Not only will up-to-date pictures help sell a prospective tenant on the property as it is now, it will force you to make sure you are doing everything you can to get your investment into to top notch shape.

Don’t overdo it.

This one can be tricky. There is nothing wrong with talking up your properties assets, but being too creative with your listing can leave the people who come to see it feeling letdown. If there is a new coat of paint throughout you should mention it. If you’ve installed new taps, or windows, or had the landscaping done you will want to write about that and use flourishes to help people see how these things will affect their lives. If the air conditioner is a modern, energy efficient model, you will want them to know it will keep their family comfortable while not costing them a small fortune to operate. However, try to go sparingly with phrases such as bathed in sunlight or words like lavish or unsurpassed as they create a mental image that may be difficult to fulfill once you have someone at the door.

In short.

Overall it’s important that the listing is professional, simple, and up to date. As best you can, create a picture with the words you use but try to avoid getting too flowery with your language so that the property can always live up to the listing. And always make sure the listing is highlighting the most relevant features of the property for the time of year it’s on the market.

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