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How to Write a Great Rental Ad

August 24, 2022

Write Rental Listing Ads to Attract the Best Tenants

Writing listing ads is both an art and science.  Your vacancy ad’s wording creates emotions and expectations.  And top online placement and presentation gets value propositions across to the best tenant prospects.

As we enter the fall leasing season, we should be creating ads that efficiently get the right message delivered (and reach a good audience). With a great listing technology plus great writing skills, you can make a substantial difference for your business.

As you improve, you’ll gain better respect for your role in producing great tenants and reducing time waste.

Many pros in the industry still find it difficult to understand that this business is about quality renters. Your vacancy ad is like the packaging you see on the retail store shelf. It should be inviting.  In one small ad, you either convey your property has minimal value or is the greatest living experience ever for them.

Your listing ads can waste your time, create more work, or quickly attract the precise tenant you want at the best price you can set for your unit. Good tenants give your business more potential in every possible way.

Rental Ads Launch Your Revenue Stream

Writing an effective apartment, condo, townhouse or house rental advertisement is the first step to landlord and property management success.  Plan it well, place in the right locations, and it sets your business forth on a successful, sustainable and profitable path. Do it wrong, and you head the other way.

As tenant churn increases due to economic/work trends this year, we need to write better performing ads.  It only takes a little thought, a process, a model or template, and some creative writing skills.  Your old writing and placement habits might be hurting your business, so a fresh, strategic approach might pay off very well.

You can create your listing ads and automate your advertisements to the best apartment listing sites online via your ManageCasa Account. Save time and get better results with good ads and the best syndicated visibility available.


Write Great Rental Listing Ads Well

Your apartment rental listing ad is a like a dinner bell sounding to draw in the ideal tenant.  You want it so that only your targeted tenant will hear it.  Your rental ads are an extension of your business and the type of tenant you ideally serve.  Have your ideal best tenant in mind as you write your advertisements and place them in the appropriate locations online.

By writing ads correctly you will:

  • attract the right renters faster
  • 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

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 this with a big picture overview rather than obsess over certain features.  Believe it or not, renter prospects seeing your ad will see the truth about the value of your rental unit in your copy.

If you’re desperately focusing on details, it may not communicate the picture of value that they are seeking.  Consider instead, removing anything that might turn off good quality renter applicants.  Gather your key value points and assemble them in an attractive way (e.g., safety, convenience, comfort, lifestyle, and a few amenities that prove it).

Make your Irresistible Ad Unique to Stand Out

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.

This ad says “we don’t care who rents this apartment just as long as someone vouches for them.”

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.

Have a read of this 1 sentence advertisement placed recently on This ad is completely desperate, stuffed with low value features.  It clamors desperately for attention, but it is impersonal and comes across as low value.  It attracts desperate bargain hunters, who may not have the financial capability to pay consistent rent over the next 5 years.

***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***

Why are your Writing Your Ad?

A rental listing ad is a sophisticated piece of copywriting that helps you screen in the good tenants, interest them viewing it online on your website, 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.

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 safety, 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 see and 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 newspaper 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.

Energizing Words 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? After your pitch, they’ll be pausing to consider your value proposition.  Those pauses and gaps can result in them leaving your ad/website.  It’s wise to nurture the flow of the experience by suggesting the next step such as “Call Phil at 555 456 7657” to inquire or visit our website now.

If your audience is well selected, and you’re confident, then you can be more assertive and allow them to book a viewing.  You can send them onto your renter application page so you can find out more about them, to pre-qualify them before they actually do choose a viewing date.

Check Out the ManageCasa Marketing Website Feature

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.

The ManageCasa marketing website offers those features and you can manage your listings, applications and viewings within your ManageCasa account. It’s a convenient, affordable all in one property management solution and is by far the best choice for your portfolio.


See also: Property Management Software | Property Accounting Tips | Property Accounting Software | Rental Listing Sites | Houses for Rent |  Apartment Management SoftwareApartment Rental Prices | Best Cities to Buy Investment Property | Tenant Electricity Bills | How to Screen Tenants | Raise Rent for Property Managers |  National Apartment AssociationRental Listing Sites

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