lack of calls from rent ads

I am working to rent out my first property and I am a bit thrown off by lack of calls from possible tenants.

Here is what I’ve done so far:
On Oct. 15th, I went to my rental property and place 4 rental signs I bought and put my phone # and put “3bd 2.5ba”
On Oct. 18th, I placed the ad to the military base newspaper that publishes every Thursday. (I signed up for 2 publication)
On Oct. 21st, I placed an sat/sun ad to the county newspaper for the next 3 weeks.

So far, I’ve gotten 2 calls, all from people driving by and seeing the rent sign, one who couldn’t afford first, last and $1000 deposit and the other with bad credit.

I’m getting nervous about lack of call. My first mortgage payment is on Dec., so I do have some time, but it would be nice to have tenant in there as soon as possible for the extra cash.

Following are the ads:
Near bases frwys schools
2001 3bd 2.5ba frpl 1500sqft
Nicely kept gated community
$1300 (xxx)xxx-xxxx

[city] 3bd 2.5ba
2 car gar, very new nice area
$1300 (xxx)xxx-xxxx

My first guess for the lack of call is the price. According to the property management company in my area, the rent goes for somewhere between $1200 and $1300.

So my question for you expert is… Do you see anything wrong with my ads? Any ways I can make it more appealing? If they look ok, should I look into lowering the rent a bit?

I heard that the rental market is slow in the area and it’s harder to rent during Oct, Nov, and Dec with holiday seasons.

Any adivce is appreciated.


What part of the country are you in? $1300 is a little high for most parts…I would give it another week and maybe throw in some adjectives to spice up the ad. When looking at ads myself I like to see which major cross streets it is near. Try if they have one for your area. Find some of those apartment hunter places and put them on the payroll. Worse comes to worse, drop the price to $1200 in 2 weeks. Gotta get that money in to help pay some bills! Remember you can always raise rent later…

Your ad is BORING! That’s the problem. You’re asking top rent, so your house must have some special qualities, what are they? Put them in the ad. For example:

Instead of:
[city] 3bd 2.5ba
2 car gar, very new nice area
$1300 (xxx)xxx-xxxx

Try something like this:
Absolutelyl beautiful, 3br, 2.5 ba home with 2 car garage, great neighborhood, new carpet, new paint, new appliances, large basement, WOW! Only $1,300! Call today XXX-XXXX

Of course, you will have to put in features that are pertinent to your house. It will cost a little more to run this ad because it is a little bigger, but it’s got some appeal and should do the job. Also, I run my ads for 30 days, not just a couple of weekends. I get more calls during the week than on the weekend.

Good Luck,


If you are near a military base, is you rent in line with the housing alowance that the mid-grade folks receive?

Where is this property? Like ca-jeff says, that’s high unless it’s in Southern California, New York, etc.

Here in this area, most folks are looking for $600-650 a month. We have a large 3 bedroom now for $850 and we’ve had over 70 calls since Friday with just a yard sign.


Thanks for everyone’s input.

This is in Washington state. From what I understand the rent allowance for the military folks are $1200. From bunch of folks I know, they are renting at $1250 a month.

From your experience, how long does it take for you to get the tenant in the property? Sounds like for Keith, it doesn’t take any time at all.

I don’t know your area, but around here rentals and for that matter home sales take a snooze around the holidays. From late October through the end of the year not many people are looking to move.

Military members (all services) draw a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) which is driven by their pay grade (rank) and the gerographical area they live in. I am assuming that this is the Tacoma area, so you have Fort Lewis and McChord AFB. As a sampling here is what some of them make for housing:

E-4 – $974
E-6 – $1271
E-7 – $1349
W-2 – $1385 (the USAF does not have this rank!)
Captain – $1485

These rates are to cover all housing expenses, including utilities (I never had housing allowance fully cover the expenditures).

I would recommend that you try to go on base to the"housing Referral Ofice and post your listing there. For the listing, you’ll probably need the address, the information on the house (size, ammenities, etc.), the schools (elementary, middle, HS) that kids living there would go to, and at least one good picture of the property. Ft. Lewis and McChord will each have their own housing office. You’ll probably have to sign some “non-discrimination” paperwork but it is common-sense stuff and I’m sure that you’re doing the “right thing” anyway!

I gotta stop giving away my best secrets! Robb sells his! LOL


You are always very informative and you know your stuff.

Is “house referral office” different than the military magazine from Ft Lewis Ranger? They told me that if you place the ad with them, military magazine ad goes out to both Ft. Lewis and McCord AFB.

If they are two different things, I should probably go for both.

When I am trying to separate someone from 1st last and security, I find it beneficial not to go cheap on the ads.

Propertymanager has the right idea.

Put your best foot forward, blow the competition out of the water with a juicy ad.

I use a toll free number to track my responses to ads. I get an average of 25 calls for a 3 day weekend ad.

I hear how renters take a break during the holiday season.
This may be true but you only need ONE TENANT (at a time). Might as well stand out.

I have not had a problem renting during any month. But I do have slower responses during the 2nd and 3rd week of the month.

Go figure.

I vote for the beefed up non boring ad.

you might consider just taking a security deposit, or just " last " month’s rent instead of both,
people just can’t scrape up $3500 , plus there moving expenses, … i’ve alway’s had my best luck not running the " first , last , and security required,…but if your set on it, and you have a potential tenant that tells you they can’t afford the first , last , and security…tell them, just to give you first and last, and pay you another $50-100 a month that you’ll put toward security…
good luck with the new rental, … you’ll get a tenant in there soon…

All of the advice here is right on target. The ad should pop out on the page and you should post a flyer in places where your renters will be.

Do you have or other online classifieds in your area? There’s a tool called Postlets that you can use with Craigslist to create a really nice ad. I usually get renters from MLS, Craigslist, or a free local paper that most UT students read.

The base newspapers are commercial publications. The base Housing Referal Office (HRO) is a government-run office to assist newcomers to the base find adequate, safe housing. When I was in the military (it may have changed), it was against regulations to lease any housing unit without processing through HRO. You could find housing on your own, but you still had to inprocess through HRO. The HRO allows local landlords to advertise (for FREE!) for their properties. I always get some of the military folks to look at my properties because of it. They have no limit on words and will allow a few pictures of the property. For free, it’s great!


definitly take the last months payment out. I know I would not put up 3 payments at once, (Unless there were no other choices out there). LIke someone said, most people that are renting dont have that kind of money stashed away to put up $3,500 or whatever. Maybe say in your add that the last months rent is free or 1/2 price.

great feedback. Thank you all.

I called Tacoma News Tribune and the military magazine yesterday to change to ad to this:

Absolutely beautiful
Spanaway 3bd 2.5ba
Great Neigbhorhood
New carpet & paint, WOW!
Only $1250 xxx-xxx-xxxx

Absolutely beautiful home
Spanaway 3bd 2.5ba 2 gar
Great neighborhood, WOW!
$1250 xxx-xxx-xxxx

Is it still dull? Also for TNT, I have the ads running sat/sun for next 3 weekends. I’m considering changing it to 7 days a week if I the calls continues to be slow by end of the week. Any thoughts on this?

As you can see, I also dropped the price to $1250. As far as first, last, and deposit goes. I did not mention that in the ads and yet the lack of calls.

I do have my ad in Craigslist. I didn’t know about I’ll check that out today.

I’m with everyone who says to remove the last month’s rent. That is just too much money for anyone who can’t afford to purchase for themselves, to come up with – no one has that kind of money to rent. Most people down here can hardly come up with the first and security depost (requirement and I don’t take payments).

I LOVE propertymanagers’ ad. Jazz it up yours! I truly hope your house is rented before you read this. If not, consider phrases like:

Must see!
Won’t last for long at this price considering the value!
Entirely beautiful
Completely renovated
New everything!

I have a phone number on my signs that leads directly to a recording. There I list out all the INCREDIBLE aspects of the home for rent. Then they can leave me a message for a “private showing,” I find that when I am showing to more then one potential tenant, they distract each other and no one submits an application. I give myself 30 minutes per showing. My houses tend to show themselves once I can get them in the door – it’s the money they have to come up with that causes the problem. No last month’s rent LOL.

Also have you put signs out away from your property? If the city allows them, post all over the place pointing potential tenants towards your house. Also churches – call them ask if you can place an ad, in addition to the local grocery stores. Last resort, apartment buildings – gather their addresses and do a postcard mailing. You never know which apartment tenants would rather be in a house.

Good luck to you.

thanks for the tip Tami,

as I mentioned above, I have not mentioned that I require first, last, and security deposit. So possible tenants are not deterred by that. It must be something else.

Maybe the problem is that they cannot actually go look at the property since it’s gated community. I have the rental signs on the major streets outside of the community. Obviously it doesn’t make much sense to put the sign up on the front yard.

what do you guys do if you get a bunch of applications that all qualify to rent out the house. Can you get into like “auctioning off the monthly payment” or if you have say 5 good tennants that you accept their application, which one do you accept? Im not in this situation, but was just wondering how you all work this out.

i alway’s rent to the blonde’s…

We take all of the applications and make a list of PROs/CONs of each…use criteria like FICO scores, income, etc. then factor in general impression (I’m usuallly about 99% right on first impressions), ability to maintain the property (one of my recent applicants was in her 80s – she’s probably a great housekeeper but may have trouble with the yard work, etc.)…we also usually (not always) give a plus up to the military folks.


oh man… would I wish to be in that side of the table, having to chose which one I want to pick.

It doesn’t look like a good start on my first investment property. It’s discouraging.