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Advertising Rental Property

The goal of owning rental property is to make money. Many properties are real estate investments, and rent payments help landlords reap the benefits. Advertising rental properties helps to attract great tenants who can afford the rent. It is one marketing strategy to help property owners find the best renter for the rental unit.

This article explores different aspects of advertising rental property.

How to Advertise Rental Property

Your rental property advertisement should show off the best aspects of the rental unit. You should include information about the floor plan, plus:

  • Number of bedrooms
  • Location
  • Rent price

A rental listing should accurately reflect the current condition of the property. Include quality photos on every rental listing site. You can film a virtual tour of your rental unit and focus on upgrades to attract prospective tenants.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Under the federal Fair Housing Act and local anti-discrimination laws, rental property listings and rental advertisements cannot discriminate based on protected characteristics. That means:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Familial status
  • National origin

Property owners and real estate investors should avoid running afoul of housing discrimination laws because of the reputational and financial harm that violations can cause.

Use a 'For Rent' Sign

Using a "For Rent" sign in the window of a property is one of the best ways to advertise a rental unit in areas with heavy foot and automobile traffic. Because potential renters see the building as they pass it, this method is most effective when the exterior of the building has excellent curb appeal.

Advertising Rental Property Online

Listing your rental online is a great way to reach a broad range of renters. Check local real estate sites and national listing websites to determine the best option for your rental property. These websites are also a good gauge of the local rental market.

These online listing websites include:

  • Craigslist
  • Zillow (using Zillow rental manager)
  • Social media
  • Zumper
  • Apartment List
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Trulia
  • Hotpads

The Zillow Group owns Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads.

Place an Ad in the Newspaper

Local newspapers can now reach more quality tenants because of their online editions.

Make Neighborhood Flyers

The neighborhood surrounding the property is often one of the best places to advertise a vacancy. Try a simple rental ad with the property owner's phone number included on detachable tabs. Placed on a bulletin board in a grocery store or at a school, your flyer can attract prospective tenants.


Word-of-mouth is often the best advertising. People tend to place great value on the recommendations of family and friends. Friends, neighbors, family members, and colleagues can spread the word to potential tenants. A landlord can also tell current tenants about the vacancy and encourage them to tell friends, relatives, and co-workers. Most tenants would rather have a friend or acquaintance as a neighbor than a stranger. You should offer a finder's fee for a referral as an incentive.

Post Notices at Universities or in Corporate Housing Offices

Many universities and corporations keep a list of available rentals nearby. A landlord can usually list a property for free or for a small fee. Prospective renters employed by the corporation are suitable applicants since the employer has already performed screening and background checks.

Advertising High-End Rentals and Multiple Units

Not every advertising method is appropriate for all rental units. Higher-end rentals and landlords with multiple properties often use different advertising strategies. These strategies include:

  • Advertise in rental magazines. A national rental magazine is a strong option for landlords with multiple residential properties. These listings usually contain advertisements for large rental units.
  • Employ a property management company. A landlord can hire a company to handle all aspects of renting a property. That typically covers advertising, tenant screening, rental applications, collecting security deposits and rent, and handling repairs.
  • Employ a real estate agency. A landlord can pay a real estate agent — typically for 10% of the rent or one month's rent — to advertise and show a property. If you prefer, the agent can also select the best tenant.

Get Help

Advertising rental properties is a serious aspect of renting a property. Local and federal laws play a role in advertising rental properties, and real estate attorneys can help. An experienced local real estate attorney can advise you throughout the process.

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