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Income Property Tenants: Advice for Placing Your For-Rent Ad

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Let’s be honest here; probably the worst aspect of managing income property is finding new tenants for vacant units.  Fielding dozens of phone calls only to find about 5% of them are actually qualified, and then conducting countless showings of the unit, can be a real drag.  Luckily, you can reduce some of this angst by leveraging a few best practices when placing your for-rent ads in the local newspaper.

The most obvious tip is to clearly lay out the features and requirements of the unit in your ad so that you cut out phone calls from people who are not appropriate for the unit.  Use the ad to communicate the number of bedrooms, key features of the property, the monthly rent and utilities, the date available, and your security deposit requirements.  It is also a good idea to tell people that you do tenant verification checks.  Adding these details will prevent you from getting calls from people who need more or less bedrooms, who cannot afford the monthly rent, who have deal-breaking credit histories, etc.

Yes, adding this level of detail will increase your cost, as many newspapers charge by the word or letter.  But by filtering out unqualified applicants without even talking to them, in a sense you automate some of the screening process.  This will save you time, and I assume that the value of your time is far greater than the extra few bucks it might cost you to add more words or letters to your advertisement.

If a newspaper ad is beyond your budget, you can apply these same principles to a standard For Rent sign placed at the property.  Again, the more details you can provide on your sign, the better.  Other options to find new tenants include placing an online ad (cheap but terrible response rates), contacting your local Section 8 office, hiring your investment property agent to fill the vacancy, or asking current tenants (the good ones of course) if they have any referrals. 

The bottom line is that you must use your ads to pre-screen tenants.  Doing this will cut down 90% of the calls you receive, which will save time as well as your sanity!

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