Today’s renter has the convenience of comparing several properties of interest from the comfort of their phone or computer. If your property listing fails to attract their attention, they may skip your ad for one that does.
If you want to fill your vacancies quickly, it’s worth following some simple steps to ensure your property listing stands out. Here are some top tips from rent.com.au.
Preparation is key.
Before you get started, write a list of the property’s key features. Note down things that are likely to attract a prospective tenant (dishwasher, new stove and oven). Don’t forget useful information about its location – i.e. the bus stop is only 100 metres from the property.
Think about the things a renter wants in a home. If the property has it, flaunt it! Including this information is the best way to attract a good, long-term tenant for a decent return.
But what do renters want from their next home?
Rent.com.au surveyed renters about the features they most wanted in a home. Top of the list was a good kitchen, the ability to have a pet, a dishwasher and do things with their garden. Does your owner’s property have any of these, or allow pets? Make sure you mention it in the ad.
Put some effort into your headline.
Apple founder Steve Jobs was an expert at the ‘less is more’ concept. When Apple launched its iPod, they described it as “1,000 songs in your pocket”.
Try to avoid using flowery filler words (yes, that means your go-to ‘gorgeous, fantastic and cosy’). Put more focus on the home’s key features: “A 10-minute stroll from the shops”, “Large family room,” “A pet-friendly home,” “Newly renovated kitchen.”
Using all caps is generally discouraged because it looks like you’re shouting – not the welcoming impression you want to offer a prospective tenant. All caps will usually yield poorer results because it’s also harder to read on-screen.
At the end of the day: Pick your best feature and make it your headline.
Work on your property description.
Online advertising has many perks, but one key benefit is being able to add plenty of descriptive text. The property description is your opportunity to highlight the features on offer. The better you describe the home, the fewer timewaster calls and enquiries you’ll receive. A good property description is going to improve your chances of finding the tenant you want.
Renters won’t react well to apparent sales pitches, so avoid using words like “special” or “bargain”. But DO describe the property’s benefits. Phrases like: “Large, easy-care backyard,” “Sunny north-facing living area,” “Big garden/storage shed,” or “Freshly painted” are both informative and highlight key features.
Don’t forget to look at the additional information options. This section will allow you to mark internal and external features. If you use a portal upload system, make sure you use the extended features to have them appear in your property listing.
Find the right rent for the property.
Every week that a property sits vacant can mean hundreds of dollars of lost income. You want the best outcome for your owners, but it may not be worth holding out for a higher rent.
Do your research and look for similar properties advertised in the area on rent.com.au. How do their features compare? Remember, tenants are renting – not buying. The features your owners feel were worth paying extra for as a buyer may not warrant the additional cost for a renter. Re-consider the need to hike up the price for the cedar front door, marble entrance or fountain in the front yard.
Use an independent market report to illustrate to the landlord what competition they’re up against in the suburb and set a realistic rental price. For a full picture of what’s happening in your suburb, grab the latest rental suburb report from rent.com.au. This report gives you a complete pricing overview, whether rents are trending up (or down) and time on market averages for your suburb. Suburb reports are included from in our Premium plans.
Add your inspection times.
When you set your inspection times, make sure you’ve allowed enough time for prospective tenants to ask you questions about the property. A common complaint from renters is that inspection times are too short to get a good feel for the property. Can you be flexible with your open times or allow for weekend viewings? Given most people work on weekdays, be flexible or try to book viewings closer to the start or finish of the day, or even lunchtime.
Add a virtual tour or video tour to your listing.
One of the best ways to help a renter determine a property’s suitability is by providing a virtual tour or walk-through video on your listing. A video will give a better idea of the layout, the room size and property’s features, as well as the overall fit for their needs. If you’d like more information about adding virtual tours and videos to your rent.com.au property ad, click here.
Are pets allowed?
Should you or shouldn’t you? Today more than 60% of Australian households own a pet. If the property in question is suitable for pets, by allowing them you’ll open your rental to a far larger renter pool, and with a couple of added benefits:
- It’s much harder for renters to find pet-friendly homes, so they’ll be less inclined to move often and will make a good longer-term tenant.
- In most cases, you can ask for a higher rent. In some states, you can ask for a pet bond in addition to the rental bond. Check your state/territory legislation for more information.
In fairness, balance these factors against the potential risks a pet poses to the property. Always ask the applicant to provide a Pet Resume or reference, and consider checking out the pet in question first.
Something worth noting is that you may not be allowed to refuse the applicant from having a pet unless you have an exemption. This is only legislated in some states and territories. Make sure you know the rules that apply and be prepared to explain these to your owners.
If you choose to allow pets, then mention this fact in the property description. Don’t forget to check the Pets Allowed feature when uploading your ad – it will ensure the property comes up with the Pets Allowed filter in suburb searches.
Photos are one of your best assets.
It’s simple logic: A rental property listed with photos will be viewed more times than a property which is left blank. If you haven’t had time to take pictures of the property, a temporary option is to include a photo of a feature in the area. Look for a scenic lake, a park, a golf course or even a shopping centre. As soon as you’ve taken your photos, load them up to your listing – the more photos, the better.
Hot tips for taking property photos:
- Higher quality is better. If you can afford a professional photographer, do it.
- Take (and include) a lot of photos. On rent.com.au, you can add up to 26 images if you manually load.
- Don’t take a photo of the front of the house from your car window (even if it’s raining!)
- Highlight the main features in your rooms. Don’t miss the fireplace, built-in robes and dishwasher. If the property has a view, show it off!
- When taking photos of key features, shoot them from an angle, rather than directly in front. It will help to reduce the effect of making the room look smaller than it is.
- Do you have an image of the floorplan? Include it!
- If you’re running out of ideas for photos, add pictures of the area. If there’s a park with a playground close by, add it in.
- Always have the light behind you. Don’t take photos with the camera pointed directly at a light source.
- If you have a wide-angle lens, use it.
If you take high-quality images and your photos are large, you may want to reduce their size before you load them to rent.com.au. Don’t have software to do this? You can download a free software package from Irfanview here.
To resize to the best image size for rent.com.au, open your image file in Irfanview. From the image menu, select Resize. Change the file size to 800 x 600 pixels for a landscape photo, or 600 x 800 for a portrait photo.
Does your property ad stand out?
You want your property advertisement to stand out and attract more renter enquiries. Once you’ve followed all the above steps, there’s a simple way to improve how your ads look on rent.com.au. Consider making your property an Enhanced Property, or a Feature Listing (top of the results page) for an edge. More prominent ads will always get more views than regular ads. For more information on building your presence on rent.com.au, get in touch or look at our upgrade plans.
As a founding employee, David Berridge has been responsible for helping real estate and property management agencies reach the large renter and landlord rent.com.au audience. Outside of work, he enjoys a round of golf, the beach, and travelling the world.