Advertising Rental Property:  best methods for finding your new tenant

Advertising Rental Property
with Family, Friends, Co-Workers

Cost: FREE

Advertising rental property should start out with the FREE and easy stuff first! Send out an email to everyone you know, telling them you have a vacant rental property available. Give them details, add a few photos. Use your social media network to share the details. Just be careful... we HIGHLY recommend NOT renting to family or friends. Renting should be looked at as a business - and you'll put yourself in a bad position. Rent to someone that comes recommended, but that you won't have an issue with if things go wrong. Because the definitely CAN GO WRONG!

Print classifieds in Newspapers, Direct Mail Flyers

Cost: approximately $50-$200 depending on size and frequency

This method of advertising rental property used to be a great way to get lots of potential renters to call. However, fewer people read print ads anymore. Often, the people that respond to the ad aren't serious renters. For the cost, we don't recommend this method of advertising as the best in promoting your rental vacancy.

Community bulletin boards

Cost: FREE (usually), with permission

We LOVE this method! Why? If the rental property is in a condo or homeowners community and there is a bulletin board, chances are it's located in a terrific high traffic spot!

The bulletin board will most likely be near the mailboxes, or the elevators, or near the entrance/exit of the community. Post a great eye-catching flier if possible. IF it's a glass encased bulletin board (most are) you'll need to get permission and have the property manager put it up. Usually they'll keep it up for 30 days, then you can simply ask for another 30 days if you still need to advertise. And in that case, change the flier (photo, font size and color) because those that have looked at for the past 30 days will start ignoring it.

You'll catch the attention of any current renters living there, that may have a lease ending soon, or are looking to stay in the community but want to move to a larger unit. They are already approved! It makes for a great, easy transition.

Also, you'll attract the attention of people who have friends or family that also want to live in this community. Again, people already familiar with the community will make for a better pool of potential tenants to choose from.

Direct Mail

Cost: printing/copying plus postage, or time to deliver by hand

We don't recommend this method of advertising rental property. It's not cost effective, and doesn't reach as large a number of people that you can with other methods.


Cost:  FREE to $100

We aren't aware of any studies done letting us know how many renters start their search online. But we think it's 99.99%!!  There are a bunch of free websites you can advertise your rental vacancy (see below list to start).

Items to include in an online rental listing:

  • Photo of front exterior
  • Name of neighborhood OR actual address
  • Rental asking price
  • # bedrooms / bathrooms
  • other: garage, gated, pool, lake, etc
  • pets allowed (yes, no, yes with restrictions)
  • tenant requirements*
  • your contact information (phone, email)

* Does the condo association have a 650 minimum credit score requirement? Do you want tenants to provide proof of income/credit report/police report, ID?

Local colleges, churches websites

If your rental property is located near any community colleges, colleges or universities... they will probably have a free classified section on their website you can post to. But be careful to only use this method if you are open to renting to college students and/or seasonal (vs. annual) occupancy. Also, nearby churches may have free classifieds that you can post to. There are many people that like to live near their church, especially if they offer day care or preschool, etc.

Other websites to post to, most for free:

Other online ways of advertising rental property:

There are more renters than property owners. You shouldn't have too great a difficulty in finding a good tenant. However, if you aren't getting enough interest, or the quality of prospects aren't what you're looking for... consider a few things:

Rental price too high?
Condition of the property?
Allow pets?

You may want to search other rentals in your area. If you are priced too high, renters know and won't contact you. Consider adjusting your rental amount down a little and see if that increases your rental prospect activity.

Have you shown the property to prospective tenants, but they just haven't been interested enough to fill out a tenant application? Make sure the condition of the rental is comparable to other area rentals. If you haven't yet: have the unit professionally cleaned. It's inexpensive and makes a big difference! Have the walls painted a light neutral color. Freshly painted, professional cleaned rental units ALWAYS attract better and more renters!!

Consider allowing pets? If your rental unit has a fenced yard, or the community is pet-friendly, consider allowing pets. There are some really great renters (great credit score, great income) that are pet owners. Give them a chance. There are ways to help minimize the risk of allowing pets.