I am getting ready to advertise my first property, and I wanted to test the waters with craigslist. Looking through the current rentals, there are some really professional looking ads. I am wondering how to create a nice professional looking craigslist add and wondered if anyone has anything to share about making my rental stick out. Are there free templates that I can use for this?
I advertise on CL. The ad looks a lot like my newspaper ad. I place pictures of the house on it. I use one of the front and back and any features. The main thing I want for any ad is for people to go to the house. I give the address and directions. If they stand in front of the house most of the stupid question don’t get asked. They don’t ask you what color is the house is it close to the schools or near the park, they don’t ask it has a fence, etc. They know it all. They just have not been inside yet.
The problem with CL is that each ad that comes in behind yours goes on top of yours. If you place an ad within an hour or so it is not on the first page anymore. You also can’t place the same ad more than once a month. So you need four or five different ads of the same house so you can keep posting them to keep your place on top.
Lots of the professional ones are using property management software that exports a nice format to craigslist. Look at the bottom and it probably says something like “Powered by buildium.”. that’s what I use and I am very happy with the craigslist ads I make.
I definitely recommend postlets if you are trying to look professional however I have found that that I get a higher response rate from my more simple ads that are just text with pictures and nothing fancy.
I wouldn’t over complicate a Craigslist ad. People use that service because of it’s fast, free and simple design. It works well on cell phone browsers even. Just put a good description of the property in your ad, and upload the standard 4 pictures, and include your phone number and anonymous email address (included with each ad) and you’ll get tons of replies.
Tried a utility site that make my CL listing look pretty with highly formatted html and found my response rate went down. Found that CL users like a clean CL type listing. So now format mine using standard white background with as much information as possible. Then post about 8 to 10 pictures by uploading images to my website or a service like photobucket then insert html at bottom of my CL post to display those images.
Also at first I was paranoid to post the real property address on CL to avoid breakins during vacancy but it worked against me. A lot of good prospective tenants do drivebys before calling to view a proprety so I post the real address now.
I have been using CL to advertise my rentals for the past few years and here are some quick tips I’ve learned below:
Put out as much information as possible about your property and be detailed. People love to read and learn as much about the property as possible before they take the time to see it. And if you write creatively ‘to sell’ it will help excite potential tenants in seeing your property.
Takes lots of pictures and use only the best ones on the site. I recommend editing them too before posting them. The best ones to include (since you only get 4 to post per ad) is the Kitchen, The Exterior Front, The living room and either a bedroom/bath/ or back yard photo. These are the areas people are most interested in.
Make your title stand out… Instead of “3BR home w/ 2 baths” change to “Huge, Clean 3BR home Close Shopping!” or "Lovely Remodeled/Renovated Home with Large Fenced Backyard!!
And lastly, the key to success on CL is to renew/repost your ad every day or two. Yes, this may require two email accounts but unless someone searches specifically for your type of property, it will get ‘pushed off’ the first 100 listings after the first day so the chances of someone finding it are slim. Better to repost as often as you can. Best thing to do is make your CL in a Word Doc then you can easily upload with your photos
Hope this helps someone. I have used ONLY CL for renting my prop’s the past years and typically I can fill a unit within 10-14 days…For a free service, its second to none.
If you have a house that you are looking to rent to a working class family making $50k year where would that guy look for a rental in your town? In my town he would look in the Greensheet. I advertise in the Greensheet, Craigslist and a sign in the yard. I have gotten a lot of action recently from Craigslist. I also get a lot more flakes from Craigslist than the Greensheet.
Craigslist can be good and craigslist can be horrible (because of flaky people). There’s so much spam in the housing section in my area that my title reads “This is a real ad for a real house in XXXXX. HUD accepted.” There are so many junk ads on there that take people to generic websites. I don’t list the address on CL either because of people who may use that information to head over to our empty house and help themselves to the contents. I make people email me their phone number before they get that information. I also don’t use signs in the yard anymore. Even by taking this approach, we still don’t have long vacancies.
This has more of less been my strategy too. Most people on craigslist are lazy, so it doesn’t take a lot of marketing to sell the place. I’ve never found a place that I couldn’ way was near a park, school, downtown, etc. or had a large deck, finished basement, nice yard, and so on. It’s very easy to play it up and that’s what you need to do to get on the “short list” that people have. House shopping is a very emotional experience and it helps to have a “hook” to get them interested before they tour your property.
Be careful with these types of descriptions - listings can be discriminatory by saying something like “lots of room for kids to play.”