The Right Way to List a Rental

by Shannyn Laird

 

Not too many years ago, advertising a property for rent was treated as a passing thought by most owners. Landlords were more concerned about price and timing, so the listing ended up being some matter-of-fact text accompanied by one of two photos; and I understand why. You’d be showing a prospective tenant through a potential rental, and while they might set out the pros and cons of the property, the underlying text was always, “Well… It’s not like were buying the place.”

In other words, tenants were willing to sacrifice some of their desired inclusions for the convenience of securing a property in a particular location for a short while. However, I’ve noticed a distinct change over the past half-decade, where rental properties need to step up their game in order to secure the right tenants.

 

Why the change?

Taking on a rental is no small thing – and there are several reasons why a landlord needs to put their best foot forward.

For starters, there are an increasing number of career professionals joining the renter ranks. Taking out a lease is no longer the primary domain of share-house university students or lower-income households finding it tough to purchase a home of their own.

In addition, the idea of ‘rentvesting’ is not limited to 20-somethings looking to build a property portfolio by buying affordable housing in a fringe suburb, while renting acceptable accommodation in inner-city urban hotspots. In fact, there are plenty that are well into their career and who understand the sense of investing their income elsewhere while renting where they want to live.

The idea of long-term renting in a family setting isn’t so weird nowadays. For a start, we have a more transient professional population. We see middle and upper-level management folk regularly shift across borders to jump on job opportunities. They see that renting makes good sense.

Then there’s the huge impost of moving to a rental which sees tenants stay longer. The cost of packing up and shifting a household is just the start. How about the outlay for bond cleaners, not to mention lost income from taking days off to manage the shift.

So now tenants are looking to commit for longer with leases regularly extending well beyond six months or even a year. The tenant is viewing a property as their long-term home where they can become part of the community. This is why tenants are becoming more selective about what they rent. They are getting super picky, and they have better accessibility to a wide range of rental listings via the web too.

 

How to stand out

First up – you need to advertise properly.

Long gone are the days of appearing on an agent’s ‘for lease’ sheet of A4 paper and waiting for tenants to walk through the door. Unlike vendors looking to sell, many landlords feel they can escape being too particular about advertising, but in the online era, you must make your property stand out among the pack.

Most tenants looking on the property portals don’t scroll past page two of the listings and if potential tenants aren’t seeing effort on realestate.com.au, they just aren’t enthusiastic about leasing your home. Therefore, you cannot afford to say no to professional photos and a high-visibility listing.

This is also where your experienced property manager will step up. They should be advising on what work you should do prior to advertising your rental. It doesn’t need to be major – a garden revamp, or a bit of painting here and there might be all that’s necessary for maximising interest and landing the right tenant.

 

Descriptions are key

Here’s one area where advertising a sale and advertising a rental differs. With sales, you want to be more emotive. The listing will highlight a home’s most dramatic feature (e.g. views, architectural design, convenience) in order to push a buyer’s hot button and help them fall in love with the home.

By subtle contrast, rental listing will provide more details of a property’s practicalities. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still room for emotion with a rental, but tenants often like to get to the ‘nuts and bolts’ fast. Number of bedrooms and bathrooms, car accommodation, location to services etc. Not too much chat on ‘ambiance’ or ‘serenity’ is needed. And, as mentioned, high-quality professional photos are a must to show off the property.

In fact, my experience shows you can draw a mark along gender lines when looking at advertising rentals. Women tend to be visual and are more likely to build attraction via the pictures, while men to enjoy scrolling through the dot-point facts on features and layout. So, make sure you appeal to both.

When it comes to advertising your rental, give it the attention it deserves. This is your major asset – and somebody else’s new home. Rely on the advice of your property manager and you’ll undoubtedly walk away with the best possible result.