‘Selling’ the benefits of Rental Properties online

The Internet is now by far the best medium to use to advertise available or vacant rental properties – without any doubt whatsoever. So how is your property manager promoting your property on the Internet?

Not so long ago the local newspaper was the medium of choice for real estate agents when advertising property.  Normally most advertising was done on a Saturday and as the cost was governed by the size of the ad and number of characters used, it was common practice to minimise the size of the advertisement. As a result it was normal to see ads promoting a “2Brm, 1Bath, SLUG unit in Smithsville @ $200pw” usually set under a company logo with a phone number at the bottom, fighting for attention in a block of similar ads. It was short, certainly to the point, but property managers held their fingers crossed hoping that prospective tenants would understand what a 2Brm was, or what was meant by a SLUG! (Single Lock-Up Garage, by the way!)

Looking back, this type of ad was not very professional and certainly didn’t do a lot to sell the features of either the property or the location. The cost of the ad was the main factor being considered – and as the size and abbreviations made it impossible to sell the benefits of any individual property, it was a lot more difficult to properly promote any available rental property.

But times have changed and definitely for the better. There is still a need in certain areas or in certain circumstances, where advertising a rental property in the newspaper is still a good option, but these properties may either be unique or extremely expensive. Even if they are advertised in the paper they will still be promoted on the Internet. It’s now the medium of choice for most prospective tenants so properties must be advertised on the Internet – but it must be done well.

Having recognised the power of the Internet and the extra options it provides to property managers, it is interesting to see how some Internet advertising is simply a wasted opportunity. For example, there is no real limit on how a property can be marketed online. The cost for Internet advertising is usually for a period of time, such as monthly, not for the size of the ad or the number of characters used – so why do so many property managers not use all the space they are allowed?

Industry sources advise that there is a preferred layout when compiling a rental ad for the Internet. It should contain:

  • A short, sharp heading that relates to the photos or something specific about the property itself.
  • An interesting introductory paragraph to begin with, including information on the location or the area, or even something unique about the property. This introduction should sell the ‘benefits’ of living at this particular property.
  • Bullet points that quickly and simply illustrate all the features of the property. Bullet points are recommended because they are easy to read and a lot quicker than ploughing through sentence after sentence.
  • Conclude with an invitation to inspect the property at the end of the ad, with something else about local amenities, facilities, schools etc.

The overall benefits and features of the property should always be included as part of the process of selling it to prospective tenants.
Sadly it’s still common to see rental ads on the Internet these days consisting of three lines plus a heading such as ‘3 Bedroom Home’ – how would that inspire anyone to attend an Open House? Again, industry sources advise that because most of the renting community is time poor, they need to know as much as there is to know about a property – before they commit to an inspection. These days a good Internet ad must include ALL the information about a property, not just that it has 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. What size are the bedrooms? Do they have good cupboard space? Ceiling fans? Heating? Are they carpeted? In fact anything that is included in the bedrooms should be included in the Internet ad. And it’s the same for the rest of the property. 

It’s important to use as much space as there is available, to provide as much information possible about the property. Prospective tenants won’t be attracted to inspect a property, unless a property manager sells it to them, through a well-written, fully descriptive online ad.


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