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How to Write an Irresistible Apartment Rental Listing Ad

August 24, 2020

Write Rental Listing Ads to Attract the Best Tenants

As we progress through the turmoil caused by the Corona Virus, we’re back to finding good tenants who will be the basis of a profitable business.

Writing an effective apartment, condo, townhouse or house rental advertisement is the first step to landlord and property management success.  Your business potential is your tenants and how you serve them.

As rental turnover increases this fall and into 2021, we need to write better performing ads — that is ads that generate long term, profitable tenancies.  It only takes a little thought, a process, a model or template, and some creative writing skills.

And as you must relist, write ads, and rent the apartment or house again, you’ll want to do this well to ensure you don’t add a tenant who can’t pay the rent or is not going to be a good tenant.  Your old writing and placement habits might be creating a self-fulfilling spiral.  A new rental ad writing strategy helps you get the right tenant faster.

Location and Descriptions are Key

How and where you advertise your rental listing is important. Just throwing up a make do ad on Craigslist or putting up a lawn sign, might not be wise. Just because popular rental websites have a lot of traffic, doesn’t mean you don’t need to be strategic.

If you stop to consider that both the location of your advertisement and how you describe your rental unit might determine the result you get.  This post is about writing higher quality ads with more forethought.

Writing Great Rental Listing Ads

Your apartment rental listing is the first step in attracting the high quality tenants you need. It’s the foundation for the rest of your business going forward. Let’s find out how to write ads that attract and help convince the best candidates to view your available suite.

By writing ads correctly you will:

  • communicate the right message to the right candidate
  • avoid unwanted phone calls and applications
  • avoid future turnover and income losses
  • avoid extra administration and rent default processing time
  • get better quality leads, thus better results from your marketing budget
  • make prospects more excited about your rental property
  • improve your ROI
  • protect your current tenants from conflict and dangers
  • attract the right renters faster

Writing and placing ads with forethought has tremendous business value.

Whether you’re putting your ad on a rental listing portal, classified site, Facebook Ads, or Google Adwords, it’s important to match the value of your vacant suite to what renters dream of living in and can afford.

While you may have been advised to include everything in your rental ads, the right approach is to include only the vital benefits and features your target renters are wanting. You’re better to look at with a big picture overview rather than obsess over certain features.

If you’re desperately focusing on details, it could mean readers are not getting the over value they’re looking for.  Consider instead, removing anything that might turn off good quality renter applicants.

Stand Out and Make Your Unit Sound Irresistible

Here’s an example of a common ad that doesn’t get results. It doesn’t provide benefits, includes common, redundant info, and right away places a burden on the renter:

Charming, refurbished 2 bedroom flat on subway line. $3500 month plus security deposit. Renter supplies background screening check. References required.

If you were to imitate the majority of ads you see in the apartment rental classifieds, you’d not only not stand out, you’d be targeting a less desirable, mediocre tenant candidate. How about a plan to attract lots of inquiries from high quality tenants?

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Have a read of this 1 sentence advertisement placed recently on What kind of renter does this attract?

***LIVE WITH THE CELEBS***BARGAIN**SOHO-CENTRAL***JUNIOR 1 BED 1 BA***STEPS TO EXP TRAINS**NO FEE*** *****SOHO BARGAIN OF THE YEAR****NO BROKERS FEE**** *****AVAILABLE NOW****MUST SEE***** This cosy JUNIOR 1 BEDROOM 1 bathroom features hard-wood floors, over-sized windows with reflecting rays of natural sunlight, reg-sized open kitchen is with complete granite counter-tops, top of the line stainless steel appliances and plenty of cabinet space, bathroom is decor-ed with ceramic subway tiled walls with a mirror medicine cabinet and a sparkly finishing touch, bedroom can fit a single-to-just about a queen sized beds and has plenty of closet space, separate living-room can fit a sectional couch,coffee table, breakfast table and lots more living-space. ***NO BROKERS FEE*** ****WILL RENT FAST***

Attracting more tenants is a part of your marketing function and can help you create higher rent revenue. And good tenants are key to good cash flow and perhaps lower property management costs. But attracting them in the wrong way and in the wrong website ensures you’ll get the applicant you don’t want.

Why are your Writing Your Ad?

A rental listing ad is a sophisticated piece of copywriting that helps you screen in the good tenants and convince them to call and schedule to check out your available suite. How you express yourself, the words you choose, and present your selling proposition makes them believe your vacant suite is their dream apartment/condo. It fits them like a glove.

What Are You Selling?

Tenants want a great place to live in the ideal location to give them a lifestyle they dream of. You’re selling the solution to that dream. Your copy needs to offer the benefits they’re seeking, not necessarily the bland physical features of an apartment in a building.

We have to woo them with some scintillating copy and irresistible lifestyle benefits!

You’re not being deceptive, but rather describing the property in a pleasant way to screen in as many potential high quality renters as possible. If you word it wrong, prospects will be turned off and not investigate.

Too many rental ads are deceptive and they draw window shopping inquirers who waste of your busy landlord time. Other ads are boring and get no response because they fail to stand out.

Does your apartment ad stand out from the rest?

Writing to Your Audience

Visualize the type of person who would like to rent your unit. Speak directly to that renter profile. If it’s a single female, well educated professional, you can expect she’ll be more discerning of the quality of the apartment in the city, the people in the building, and the neighborhood.

If the target is a middle aged couple wanting a townhouse in the suburbs, you may indicate the square footage, rooms, open concept style, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, proximity to retail stores, safety features, and a small backyard for their bbq might be compelling for them.

But what is the essence of why they want to live there? It’s likely the roominess, safety, quiet, freedom to drive where they want, when they want, get kids to their sports or other activities, and commute to work quickly.

How you structure and write your listing predicts who will respond to it. You can write to an upscale audience by using elegant language that speaks of exquisite lifestyle benefits or to a downscale audience by using common, popular language describing more practical benefits such as affordability.

Your ad doesn’t have to be pretty and poetic, it just needs to get the right benefits across. The prospective tenant is intelligent and able to tally the key benefits they want. If the ad shows you understand the lifestyle, comfort and freedom they want, in a sensible order, it’s a logical next step to call you and be serious about it.

Where to Advertise? Rental listing sites? Craigslist?, local newspaper sites,, and other classifieds?  Where you advertise determines who applies. Some of them don’t allow descriptions which means you get hundreds of window shoppers and useless inquiries. These big sites attract volume not quality.

What’s your Value Proposition to Renters?

Diane Batayeh, CEO of Village Green, which operates in more than 30 U.S. cities, in a statement. “To maximize resident satisfaction, we need to ensure that renters [believe they’re] getting a special experience and living in an environment filled with sought-after amenities and the feel of home.” — excerpt from Multifamily Executive

What is it that this apartment or condo gives offers? It’s a good idea to list all the benefits so you can pick the most appealing. Here’s some ideas:

  • new stainless steel appliances
  • energy-star rated appliances
  • oversized suite
  • nearby, steps from, convenient
  • open concept floor plan
  • convenient location to work or important activities
  • new, renovated, modern design, contemporary kitchen, granite countertops
  • very clean and bright
  • parking, commuter friendly, highway access nearby
  • dishwasher and ensuite laundry
  • close space and storage
  • lots of light, nice view, panoramic, picturesque, near parks, green space
  • air conditioning
  • friendly, nice neighborhood
  • affordable rent
  • a community with a “home like feel”

If your building, neighborhood, and vacant apartment aren’t all that, you can still present it as a desirable, affordable place to live.

Keep it simple focused on the key benefits your renter profile is hunting for:

_______ adjective________type of place______ at ________ great location

expansive 2 bedrooms with big storage for the athletic type close to biking/jogging trails.

Prioritize their wants and needs — use the top 3 in the headline:

get to classes quick in this 1 bedroom condo, new energy star appliances, spotless bathroom and kitchen, near 4 colleges downtown. $1800/ month. Call Jackie before 5:00 at 555 405 0303.

Affordable studio apartment available now. In demand, modern building with convenient amenities, at unbeatable location, full fitness center, near to transit. $1800 per month.

A few words to avoid? Common, overused, out of style words can make readers gloss over your ad. Words such as spacious, cozy, charming, quaint, nice, unique, newly painted, must see, are fluffy and express weak value. And words like spotless can happen if you actually get your unit cleaned professionally and check it yourself. Cleanliness is a benefit everyone wants.

Some feel abbreviations are not advisable, however they do respect the readers time and shift focus to your descriptive, convincing words.

Have a good look at your newpaper classifieds or Craigslist and you’ll see for yourself words that are overused and untrustworthy — desperate landlords or owners trying to rent a place nobody wants.

Words you to include:

  • great views, comfortable, near green space, spotlessly clean, nice neighborhood, the price, the neighborhood name, subway stop, key intersection

The Call to Action

Do you need a strong to action? Apartments are scarce and they’re motivated, however you do need to give them the next step such as “Call Phil at 555 456 7657” or visit our website now.

Keep working on your ad to keep it brief, active, and encouraging. It should speak directly to your target audience with the key benefits they demand. General ads get general and time wasting inquiries.

It’s wise to have a rental website where you can communicate/verify that your properties have the features and benefits they’re looking for. A nice website communicates your professionalism and creates trust. You could carry video and high quality photographs to enhance your presentation.

Today, improving rental income, work efficiency, and consistent cash flow are top of mind to modern landlords and property managers.  Integrating property management software, landlord apps, and reducing tenant turnover are top of mind for landlord and property managers.

Check out the rental apartment market forecast and keep up to date on apartment rental price trends.


See also: Property Management SoftwareBest Property Management Software | Rental Listing Sites | Single Family House Rentals |  Apartment Management SoftwareApartments for Rent | Apartment Rental Prices | Best Cities to Buy Investment Property | Simple Property Management Software |  Reduce Tenant Turnover | Best Property Management Software | How to Screen Tenants | Raise Rent for Property Managers |  National Apartment Association | How to Increase Property Cash Flow | Rental Listing Sites |  ManageCasa Cloud Based Property Software

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