Many landlords aren't very creative when it comes to advertising rentals. When you have a vacancy, it doesn't need to cost you much to find a new tenant. But if you want to fill that vacancy quickly, you should be using multiple advertising methods.
For Rent signs. This is the first step you should take. Put up a large for rent sign in front of the property. This works best if the street has a lot of foot and vehicle traffic. If the property is back in a neighborhood, look for an opportunity to place a sign outside of the neighborhood on an arterial street. Even signs in rural areas that are placed close to streets with the most traffic can be effective.
Online listings are your second choice. There are at least two online listings that you want to post to and maybe more. Start with your local newspaper. I suppose there is a local newspaper out there that hasn't gone online but there certainly aren't many. Some offer free online postings but most want a small fee of about a dollar a day. Don't forget the large national listing services like craigslist and Zillow. When it comes to renting a property, both of those have more online traffic than the local newspaper. Also, think about specialty housing. If you usually rent to college students, you should look into placing an ad with the school newspaper. With online advertising, you need to repost the ad on a regular basis to keep it near the top of the list because typically each new ad drives the older ads lower on the list.
Neighborhood Flyers. Look around the neighborhood for bulletin boards that you can post flyers on. Grocery stores, laundromats, and other high foot traffic areas often have bulletin boards for the public to post information. If the property is in a HOA, these also frequently have public bulletin boards.
Word of mouth. Although not the most effective, you can find tenants through word of mouth advertising. Don't only tell family and friends, if you have a multi-unit property, tell your other tenants that you have a vacancy coming up. You might even offer a small finder's fee.
Housing offices. Large corporations and universities often have housing offices to help transferring employees and new students find housing. These offices will list your rental without charging a fee. Corporate offices can be good choice for landlords because tenants coming from these usually have a good paying job and will be dependable about paying the rent.
Property Management. This is going to be your most expense choice. However, these people will do all of the work for you. They will do the advertising, show the property, and screen the tenant. They will also become the middleman to take care of most problems that might come up.
Real Estate Agents. Many real estate agents will take on the task of advertising and showing your property. In some cases, they may screen and even select your tenants. However, there is one caveat when it comes to real estate agents. They are always looking for clients they can sell a house to and might trying converting you best potential tenants into buyers.
Which of these types of advertising works best for you will depend on a combination of factors such as the type of property, location, your budget, how much time you can apply to the task, and how fast you want to get the property rented. There are several great rental property software programs available that can expedite several aspects. Most often a combination of these methods works best.
About the author: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.