how to write an advertisement for a rental listing

How to Write an Effective Rental Ad



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No landlord wants to lose money or pay out of pocket to keep a rental business afloat, yet this can happen if you have a property sitting vacant for too long. Effective marketing is one key to renting a property quickly, and to avoid accruing expenses associated with vacancy.

The right marketing copy works twofold: it gets a renter’s attention and screens out tenants who aren’t interested. If you’re creating your rental listing and stuck on copy, check out our tips for writing an effective rental ad including word choice options that you can use when describing a rental property, along with our helpful list of “must-haves” for persuasive rental listings.

The Headline

A great headline is key to getting people to read the rest of the ad, so you want a headline that stands out. The headline is so important that CopyBlogger recommends spending half of the entire time it takes to write your rental ad on the headline itself.

Rentalutions suggests a formula that includes the key information tenants are looking for (rent, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location) plus one feature of the property that is unique or exceptional.

Another formula is to use sales tactics and allow the reader to use their imagination. Realtor Magazine advises that powerful headlines should contain:

  • A stated or implied benefit to the renter
  • Something that is novel
  • A curiosity element (without resorting to gimmicks)
key points to make a rental ad

Key Features of a Rental Ad

Know what features tenants want in a property and be sure to advertise those features in your ads. Make sure to point out both the positive and negative aspects to the apartment, so you don’t waste anyone’s time by showing prospective renters a property that isn’t right for their needs. For example, if a renter absolutely requires a parking space, there’s no sense in showing them your property with no off-street parking. 

RentPrep suggests that you consider the type of renter your unit will attract to help you write the type of copy that will entice them to respond to your rental ad. For example, walkability is of major importance to millennial renters and baby boomer renters. So, if a grocery store or local restaurants are nearby, make sure to mention that in your rental ad. If families tend to rent in your neighborhood, you may want to point out the quality of the school district.

use descriptors that will distinguish the rental listing without embellishing

Word Choice

According to Buildium, you can create a visual representation of your property with the use of carefully chosen, specific adjectives.

Zillow and Rentalutions offer suggestions on which words could add value to your listing, as long as it is an accurate description of your property.

  • Beautiful
  • Captivating
  • Charming
  • Classic
  • Cozy
  • Funky
  • Impeccable
  • Intimate
  • Landscaped
  • Luxurious
  • Modern
  • Open space
  • Private
  • Quiet
  • Remodel
  • Spacious
  • Spotless
  • Tasteful
  • Traditional
  • Unique
  • Upgraded
  • Vintage
  • Warm

Zillow also points out that you’ll want to avoid generic descriptors such as “nice,” which are open to interpretation.

Finally, The Balance reminds landlords to check out competitors’ rental ads, so you can avoid using the same adjectives as everyone else. 

Detailed Property Description

Make sure details of the property are clearly outlined in the advertisement. This will prevent you from wasting time on showing the property to applicants who are looking for more bedrooms, storage space, etc.

Disclose all necessary information about the unit in the advertisement, and set expectations upfront about other requirements for renting your unit. Be sure to include your pet policy, and list other deal breakers if you have them.

UpNest advises landlords to be specific in their phrasing, and to avoid subjective and non-descriptive phrases. If you have a brick patio, call attention to it rather than simply suggest that an apartment is great for outdoors entertaining.

Zillow gives tips on essential information to include in your rental listing, such as:

  • Rent
  • Security deposit
  • Application fee
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Length of lease term
  • City/neighborhood
  • Contact information for landlord or property manager
  • Move-in date available
  • Square footage/floor plan
  • If pets are allowed
  • If heat and hot water are included
  • Appliances
  • Natural light
  • Storage
  • Parking
professional-quality photos and video will help the ad standout

Photos and Videos

The old adage “a picture tells a thousand words” still holds true. Your rental ad copy will be greatly enhanced with clear, professional-quality photos and/or videos.

Rev N You suggests that when your property is empty, spend the time to take professional photos that can be used each time there is tenant turnover. Professional photos are much more appealing for renters, and being prepared ahead of time prevents you from having to enter the unit when tenants are living there.


Attractive advertisements go a long way in increasing your chances of finding a good tenant in a reasonable amount of time. If you cast a wide net, you attract a larger pool of renters. This allows you to be choosy when it comes to finding a new tenant, and to thoroughly screen your prospective tenants without losing precious time.

The fastest way to vet your tenants is with TransUnion SmartMove, which delivers comprehensive reports in a matter of minutes.

TransUnion SmartMove is the landlord’s solution for great reports, great convenience, and great tenants. Landlords receive a renter credit report formatted exclusively for rental screening, a rental criminal background check drawing from millions of criminal records, an eviction report, a ResidentScore, and a custom leasing recommendation. Renters get the peace of mind that only TransUnion, and not their landlord, will have access to their sensitive personal information.

Know your applicant.

invisible renter

Additional Disclosure:

Remember that this material is intended to provide you with helpful information and is not to be relied upon to make decisions, nor is this material intended to be or construed as legal advice. You are encouraged to consult your legal counsel for advice on your specific business operations and responsibilities under applicable law. Trademarks used in this material are the property of their respective owners and no affiliation or endorsement is implied.