Great Ways to Find Tenants for Your Rental

Great Ways to Advertise Your Vacancy

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Prospective tenants have to be able to find prospective landlords. They're not going to magically show up at your property. You must draw a figurative map to lead them there. Several methods are at your disposal to help you reach the most people possible as quickly as possible. After all, time is money when you're looking for tenants.

Find Tenants on Rental Websites

The Internet is a great way to reach the masses. Sites such as Craigslist and Trulia allow you to post free rental listings that are visible to anyone with Internet access who's looking for an apartment in your area. The prospective tenant can narrow her search criteria based on rental price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, or any other features or factors she deems to be important.

Sites such as Socialserve.com can help you reach the proper market if you're interested in accepting government subsidized housing such as Section-8.

Be sure to reference your website URL in your ads if you have your own website, and make sure you list the property there as well.

Use Social Media

Millions of people use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 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’s 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.

Find Tenants Through the Newspaper

Some prospective tenants still look for rental properties in newspapers. Advertise your vacancy on a weekend, and on a Sunday 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.

Advertise on Local Bulletin Boards

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

People will be passing by the flyer quickly, so use a bold headline and large color photographs to catch their interest. 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 information, such as the number of bedrooms.

Find Tenants by Word of Mouth

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

Tell your brother, sister, hairdresser, boss, and mechanic 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.

Place a "For Rent" Sign in the Window

You won’t reach the masses this way, but there's no harm in trying. A passerby might be interested or might know someone who's looking to rent in the area. Make sure a phone number can be clearly read from the street.

Let a Realtor Find Tenants for You

Brokers typically charge a commission of about one month’s rent for their services, and sometimes even more. This might be the most expensive way to advertise your property, but it can save you a lot of the hassle and headaches that come with dealing with prospective tenants yourself. Your property will also be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which will increase exposure.

You might want to interview two or more realtors to find the one you're most comfortable listing with.

Find Tenants by Offering Incentives

People always like the idea of getting a deal or a discount. You can offer a free TV or discounted rent for the first month if a tenant moves in by a certain date. A $500 television might seem expensive, but if you’re charging $1,000 in rent and the TV gets someone to move in a month earlier, you're actually saving yourself $500. And as an added bonus, the television will be a tax write-off for the rental property.

Respond Quickly to Prospective Tenants

You should respond to prospective tenants immediately. If you don’t call or email back promptly, another landlord or realtor will.

You can set up a free Google Voice account which will assign you a new 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, including voicemail, for your rentals using websites such as Kall8.com. Similar options exist for email.

Don't Be Too Eager

Take your time with each applicant, no matter how desperate you are to rent out your property. A little caution will serve you well in the end. It's necessary to screen each and every potential tenant, using the same standards for each so you don't run afoul of discrimination laws. In fact, you'll want to familiarize yourself with all federal, state, and local laws and rules in advance.

Tenants are not always impeccably honest about their backgrounds or past problems, so take the time to investigate. Do that credit check and maybe a criminal background check as well, and let them know that these are prerequisites before agreeing to a lease for all tenants. Several Internet sites, such as RentPrep.com, offer this service for a small fee.

Ask for the names of applicants' employers...then call them. Ask about past landlords, then reach out to them as well. Now you're ready to hand over the keys.