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What Renters Want To See In A Listing
The search for the perfect tenant begins with a quality listing. The more prospective renters you can attract with the listing, the bigger pool of qualified applicants you have to choose from.
So what, exactly, do renters look for when they’re browsing pages upon pages of listings – and how can your listing stand out?
Must-have listing details
When renters are shopping for a new place to call home, they’re constantly re-evaluating their list of “must have” and “nice to have” features. A listing that provides relevant information saves time for both you and the renter.
Include these details about the property to address renters’ priorities:
Be clear about the numbers: Renters browse listings with a budget and move-in date in mind. Make sure the renters who inquire about your property can afford the rent by clearly stating the asking rent. The application fee, security deposit, utility responsibilities, and lease term should also be included in the listing.
Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: Shoppers already have an idea of how many rooms they need and the minimum number of bathrooms they’d like to have. Many listing websites allow renters to filter listings by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, so state the specific number.
Look and feel: Including information about property updates helps shoppers get an idea of what the home feels like before attending a showing. If the home has special features or recent upgrades like hardwood floors or a remodeled bathroom, mention them!
Appliances: Top-priority amenities often include in-unit laundry, shared on-site laundry, a dishwasher, or air conditioning, so call these out in your listing to help renters narrow down if your property is a good fit. If a renter has in-unit laundry as a required amenity, you’ll save everyone’s time by explicitly stating if it is or isn’t included.
Natural light and storage: Having lots of windows, lots of closets, or a pantry can make a big difference in a home, especially if the property is smaller.
Parking: A garage or assigned parking spot is much more convenient than competing for street parking. Specify if a parking spot is included, requires a fee, or isn’t available.
Pet policy: Pet owners will immediately disqualify listings where pets are not negotiable. Clearly state if you allow pets on the property, and if there are any extra fees or deposits involved.
Square footage and floor plan: Help renters get an idea of how the square footage in the property is being used by posting a floor plan as well as the square footage. Providing the square footage gives shoppers a clear idea of the space and layout in the home that photos can’t provide.
Photos: The more, the better. High-quality photos help renters vet the properties that don’t fit their needs and help them decide which ones they want to reach out to for a showing. People want to see photos of the actual unit for rent, as opposed to photos of a model unit, which feel less personal and even misleading. Go the extra step with a virtual tour of the home to help renters save time and hassle during the shopping process.
Detailed property description: Beyond checking off boxes and filling out numbers on a listing form, write a description of the home to round out your listing. Renters want to know about the out-of-the-box qualities that make your property unique. The grammar and tone in your writing also allow renters to learn more about the landlord and what type of person they will be renting from. Clear, accurate descriptions of your property will also help your listing be found when users search using keywords on listing websites.
The rental shopping process moves fast, and renters are looking through hundreds of listings in their search. By making sure your listing addresses shopper preferences, you’ll cut down on the number of unqualified responses in your inbox.
Beyond the basics
Once shoppers have figured out how many bedrooms they want and whether or not they need in-unit laundry, there are more amenities to consider. Once you’ve addressed their primary concerns, disclose these additional details so renters can see if your property is the right fit for them:
Outdoor space: For renters who have pets, children, or like to entertain, having a yard or patio can be a huge draw.
Shared amenities: Convenience is part of the reason renters choose to rent, so make sure you list the amenities in your building, such as a swimming pool or fitness center.
Security: Some residents want more than a lock on the windows and doors, especially in urban areas. The presence of a security system, keycard entry, deadbolt locks, or fenced yard can help prospective applicants feel safer.
Landlord/property manager: Do you have one on-site? Some residents prefer a landlord or property manager that’s close by so repair requests can be taken care of quickly and the property will be well maintained.
Neighborhood: Renters prioritize location when they search, so identify local businesses and landmarks that make the home a convenient place to live. What is surrounding community like, and is it in a convenient location? Mention the shopping centers, schools, or grocery stores nearby. Some listing websites will also pull this information automatically, or pinpoint them in map view.
As renters shop and get a better idea of what they can get for their budget, they’re also making compromises to their list of “must haves.” Help your property stay out of the elimination by including the important details.
Where are renters searching?
Once you’ve put all this work into writing a listing, make sure it will be seen by posting your listings on high-traffic listing websites. Renters use a variety of sources to shop for their home, so make sure the website you advertise on has both mobile and desktop browsing capabilities.
Desktop: The large screen a desktop provides allows shoppers to have multiple windows open at once, see the details in photos, and view more inventory at once.
Mobile: Renters are browsing listings while they’re waiting in line, commuting, or walking by your “vacancy” sign. Make sure the listing website you advertise on has a user-friendly smartphone and tablet display.
Offline search: Don’t limit your advertising to the Internet. Post your vacancy on message boards at local schools, coffee shops, and supermarkets, or put up a sign in the window. Your future resident could be walking by on their daily commute or driving by to get a feel for the neighborhood.
Wendie Neely is licensed in both Kentucky and Ohio. Her background includes several years as a Real Estate Appraiser placing her in a unique position to help Buyers and Sellers understand property val....