Best Places to Find Tenants for Your Rental

Finding a Tenant for Your Rental

A couple unpacking boxes on the floor of an empty kitchen
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Landlords need tenants and tenants need landlords, but finding each other can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately, landlords have numerous good options for finding prospective renters for their properties when they have vacancies to fill.

The internet offers a goldmine of opportunities, and the value of word-of-mouth recommendations can't be overlooked.

Rental Websites

You can advertise an apartment for rent at numerous sites online, and many of them are free. Some websites allow tenants to narrow their searches based on area, price, and number of bedrooms and baths. Others offer some nice perks for landlords.

Some great places to advertise a vacancy include:

  • Zillow Rental Manager allows you to post a free ad as long as you have an account. The ad will automatically populate to other rental sites, too, such as Hotpads and Trulia.
  • Landlords can post apartments for rent in a specific area of the country with a free account on Craigslist. Photos of the apartment can also be included.
  • Cozy is a resource for landlords that offers many free features, including apartment listing. The listing will then populate to sites such as Realtor.com and Doorsteps.
  • Socialserve.com can help you reach the proper market if you're interested in accepting government-subsidized housing, such as Section 8.
  • Avail provides numerous tools to help you get your rental listings out there, and it's free. You can even use the site to collect rent and sign leases after you find tenants.

Consider developing your own website as well, particularly if you own more than one property. Hire a professional if you're not tech-savvy. The cost doesn't have to be prohibitive. Maintaining a website can providing credibility and a strong advertising option in addition to other methods.

Social Media

Millions of people use social media sites as a matter of daily routine. Create a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a Twitter account for your company if you have one. Otherwise, use your personal accounts to let people know you have a property for rent.

You can list your property on Facebook Marketplace, post a status update on your account, post a photo of the rental on Instagram, or send out a tweet to your followers via Twitter.

The Newspaper

The newspaper can still be a viable option for advertising your rental, depending on the area of the country where your property is located.

You'll want to advertise your vacancy on weekends, and on Sundays in particular. This is when newspapers see the most traffic.

Rental ads in newspapers are tiny, so you'll only have a few lines to make your property stand out. Use abbreviations for words like bedroom (BR) and washer/dryer (W/D) to save space. 

Placing an ad in the newspaper will cost a little, but it's a good way to increase exposure for your property.

Local Bulletin Boards

Put up flyers for your rental in the community where your property is located. This can include colleges, grocery stores, places of worship, community centers, laundromats, and bus stops.

People will be passing by the flyer quickly, so use a bold headline and large color photographs to catch their attention. Include tear-offs with your contact information on the bottom of the flyer so people can grab them on the run.

These tear-offs can also include the property address and a little additional information, such as the number of bedrooms.

Word of Mouth

Don’t underestimate the power of the spoken word. Let current tenants know that you have a vacancy. They might have a sister, cousin, or brother who's looking for a place to live.

Tell everyone you know that you have a property for rent. Always have flyers with you so you can hand them out if the opportunity presents itself. You can even offer a referral fee to give a greater incentive.

Post a "For Rent" Sign at the Property

Many tenants move to a new property within their current area. Posting a "for rent" sign will catch this type of renter, and others who are passing by might be interested or might know of someone who's looking to rent in the area.

Make sure your phone number can be clearly read from the street.

Pass the Responsibility to a Realtor

Brokers typically charge a commission of about one month’s rent for their services, and sometimes more, so this might be a last resort. It might be the most expensive way to advertise your property, but look at the bright side. It can save you a lot of the hassle and headaches that come with dealing with prospective tenants yourself.

Your property can be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) if you use a realtor, which will increase exposure.

Respond Promptly to Prospective Tenants

Respond to prospective tenants immediately. You can set up a free Google Voice account which will assign you a phone number that can be set to ring to your existing phone lines if you don't want to give out your personal number.

You can even set up a toll-free number for a small monthly fee using websites such as Kall8.com, including voicemail. Similar options exist for email.

Always Screen Prospective Tenants

You should screen every tenant who expresses interest in renting your property, but make sure you have the same qualifying standards for all tenants. Become familiar with the Fair Housing Act so you're not accused of discrimination.