If you own a rental property, you know how costly vacancies can be. On top of losing income, you need to pay for utilities, advertise your property, screen new tenants, and get them moved in.
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Today, rental listing sites do a lot of the heavy lifting for you by bringing in leads that best fit your properties. But no two rental listing sites are the same, and the last thing you want to do is waste time posting your listing on the wrong site.
In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of four of the top sites out there, the details on how to get the most out of each, and how to post your listings across popular sites in just a few clicks.
What Is a Rental Listing Site?
A rental listing site is an online platform where you can advertise your vacant property to prospective tenants. They allow you to highlight the best parts of your unit with high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, virtual tours, and information about the neighborhood and local amenities. Some sites offer additional services such as tenant screening, lease agreement facilitation, and communication tools for landlords and tenants to connect and interact directly.
The best rental listing sites make it convenient for renters to find your listings through filters that reflect their preferences, such as property type, price, size, location, and amenities. That helps match you with not only more renters, but renters that are a good fit for your properties.
What Is the Best Site to List Rental Property?
As you might have already guessed, there’s no single site that’s best to list your rental property. Instead, you should post listings on several of the most popular sites simultaneously, so that you can get the most eyes on your properties as possible.
Listing sites such as Zillow® Rental, Apartments.com®, Facebook Marketplace®, and Craigslist® are all well-known, and a great place to start, but you should also know how to use them properly to market your properties.. Each of these sites have their own unique features, pricing models, and online traffic . We’ll break down the intricacies of these four sites, so you can plan your listing strategy effectively.
Features of the Best Rental Listing Sites
Before we delve into each rental listing site in more detail, here are important features you should look out for:
- Search filters to narrow down listings by pet policies, size, price, location, and more
- Property listings that include photos, descriptions, floor plans, amenities
- Dynamic map search so users can search rentals by moving around an interactive map
- Neighborhood ratings that include information such as walkability, public transportation, schools, and crime rates
- Online applications and background checks
- Virtual tours such as 360 walkthroughs or videos
- Tenant reviews of properties
- Saved searches to save favorite listings for later
- Listing analytics such as listing views, applicants, and bookmarks
Zillow Rental is one of the leading online rental listing sites that allows rental property owners, managers, and agents to list and manage their rental properties in one place. With millions of monthly visitors, Zillow Rental is the popular choice for property managers and owners alike.
Features and Benefits of Zillow Rental
Zillow Rental boasts over 30 million monthly visitors, including through their sister brands, Trulia and HotPads. As one of the most populated online listing websites in the world, they own a wealth of data that other services don’t have access to. That data feeds their recommendation algorithm that provides personalized experiences that other services can’t offer.
How to Use Zillow Rental for Your Listings
Once you create an account on the Zillow Rental Manager page, click “post a listing” and fill out the details of your property.
Once you confirm your address, you can add additional details such as square footage, the number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms. Then you can add a property description where you can list the unique features that make your property attractive, such as the property’s proximity to transit, dining, shopping, and local attractions.
Then you can specify your rent price and security deposit. At this stage, the Rent Zestimate provides a suggested monthly rental price based on your property details like location and size.
Next, you can specify your pet policy and lease terms, such as utility and repairs, and deposit policies. Then, you can add photos and 3D tour files. After you list the amenities, you can specify the small details such as when the property will be available, lease duration, and what contact information you choose to show.
Upon completion, you’ll be sent to the dashboard where you can manage your listing, see inquiries, and manage applications in one place.
Pros and Cons of Zillow Rental
Zillow Rental has a wide suite of tools where property managers and owners can manage the lead-to-lease process on one platform, including online tenant screening and extensive analytics.
Owners and property managers can list their first unit for free, but every consequent listing is $9.99. Zillow Rental also charges $29 for applications and screenings—small fees that can add up if you have multiple properties.
More visitors means more competition. Agents and property owners can pay to have their listings show more prominently via the paid Premium ListingTM tier, which can be an additional cost that smaller property managers can’t keep up with. Premium Listing also provides property managers and owners with recommendations on how to optimize their listings to show more prominently, as well.
Apartments.com is another popular rental listing site that syndicates listings from its vast network of partners such as ForRent.com and ApartmentFinder. They offer tools to collect rent online, create leases, screen applicants, manage maintenance requests, and track expenses.
Features and Benefits of Apartments.com
Apartments.com sees over 81 million renter visits monthly, with 1 million property owners on the platform.
When creating a listing, Apartments.com automatically highlights the property’s unique features and nearby amenities, school ratings, and transportation options. Similar to Zillow’s Zestimate, they also offer a rent comparison report that factors in your location, nearby listing, bedrooms, and size.
Apartments.com also boasts that their national advertising campaign reaches 95% of U.S. renter households, making it one of the most trusted brands in America.
How to Use Apartments.com for Your Listings
Once you create an account on Apartments.com, you will be directed to upload your first property. Specify whether it’s a single family home, condo, townhome, or apartment and type in your address.
Then you will be directed to four different paths: create a listing, screen an applicant, invite renters to pay online, draft a new lease document. If you’re creating your first listing, choose “create a listing.”
List your unit name, date available, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, size, monthly rent, deposit, lease length, photos, amenities, and description. You can check off additional amenities like AC, elevators, fireplace, swimming pool, etc, as well. You can also specify whether you allow dogs or cats.
Upon completion, upload photos of your rental properties. Adding videos requires a premium upgrade. Additionally, you may include any rent specials and application screening.
Pros and Cons of Apartments.com
Apartments.com has a giant network of prospective tenants and property owners alike, offering an enticing opportunity to list your rental properties. It offers the right amount of tools to make the leasing process easier, although some of the features feel underwhelming. The biggest downside is the lack of transparent pricing. To sign up for its premium features, you’ll need to contact their sales team for custom pricing packages.
Facebook Marketplace is the biggest social network marketplace, home to billions of users per month. As a completely free-to-use service, Facebook rental marketplace can be a great place to list your rental property.
Features and Benefits of Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace’s features are very straightforward: you list the property and communicate directly with your applicants. Ultimately, the biggest benefit of the platform is the simplicity of the platform and the volume of users.
Facebook marketplace has an interactive map where prospective tenants can save, manage, and be notified of listings in their neighborhoods of interest. Once you create your listing, you can share it with different groups, your colleagues, and your friends.
How to Use Facebook Marketplace for Your Listings
Login to your Facebook account and head over to Facebook Marketplace. On the left side menu, hit “+ Create new listing.” Choose the category “New Home Listing.”
The rest of this process is a very simple, 2-step process. You can upload photos and videos on your computer or directly from your phone. Then proceed to the form where you can fill out details such as property type, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, price, address, and description. Once complete, you can publish and choose to share it with your groups of choice to increase visibility.
Pros and Cons of Facebook Marketplace
There’s a very low barrier to entry to list a rental property. Anyone with a Facebook account can list a property in minutes in just two steps. You can easily add photos, descriptions, and videos as well, along with advanced details such as square footage, parking, air conditioning, and heating—all for free.
But this comes at a different cost. Without any background checks or verification process, Facebook marketplace users can be more wary of trusting listings due to how easily they can be listed illegitimately. Some property managers and owners may not feel comfortable tying their listings with their personal Facebook accounts as well.
Craigslist is the most bare-bones, no-frills option for property managers and owners to list their vacancies in a public forum.
Features and Benefits of Craigslist Rentals
Out of every rental listing site, Craigslist has the lowest barrier of entry. Making an account and creating a listing takes minutes—with no verification required. As a free market, anyone can post a listing and anyone can apply, which also comes with safety concerns that we’ll cover later.
Craigslist allows you to upload photos and videos of the apartment, basic rental unit details, and set your location. You can also add details like square footage, housing type, and pet policies. Private landlords may choose to go with Craigslist for its high visibility, no-fees, and bypassing broker fees. They also provide a unique email that forwards applications to your actual email without revealing your personal information.
How to Use Craigslist Rentals for Your Listings
The first step is to choose your property’s location. Then create an account. Once redirected to your local homepage, you’ll see “post an ad” on the left side of the page.
You’ll be prompted to choose a location that fits best. Then choose the category “housing offered” and “apartments / housing for rent.”
Then you’ll see a form where you can add a title, city or neighborhood, zip code, and description. Your title should include rent and an enticing description such as “$3,500 Sun-Drenched LIC Luxury Apartment with Stunning Views.”
The description should be as detailed as possible, including facts such as:
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Square footage
- Proximity to trains, eateries, activities
- Down payment policies
- Broker fees
Then you can add in details such as rent, square footage, housing type, laundry, parking, bedrooms, bathrooms, pets, accessibility, available date, and open house dates. You also have the option to show your phone number if you want to be contacted directly.
In the last step, you can choose to list the exact address or approximate address. You may also add images before finalizing the listing.
Pros and Cons of Craigslist Rentals
Craigslist has over 250 million monthly users and is one of the simplest ways to get your rental properties listed online. You can also communicate directly with potential applicants without having to pay for a broker.
But because of how inexpensive it is to list a property, there is a high risk of scams. For example, some scammers may steal listings from other syndicated websites and list it as their own. Additionally, you may get scam applications as well from non-serious renters or scammers phishing for your information. Ultimately, using Craigslist requires a much higher level of awareness and caution, while being the most affordable way to advertise your property.
Syndicate Across the Best Rental Listing Sites with Buildium
Each rental listing site has a different approach to helping property managers and owners advertise their vacant properties. On top of the popular options we’ve already covered, there are several others that can be valuable to your marketing efforts, each with their own distinct visitors and benefits. With so many options to choose from, you may be wondering which one works best for you.
Buildium makes that decision easy with its rental listing syndication feature. Upload your property once, and Buildium effortlessly list your property to your sites of choice including: Apartments.com, Apartment List, the entire Zillow Rental Network, Zumper, and even Craigslist, to get your vacancies in front of millions of prospective renters.
Buildium also streamlines the rest of the lead-to-lease process. You can manage online rental applications, conduct tenant background checks, and communicate directly with prospective tenants all in one platform.
You can even test out Buildium with a free 14-day trial, no credit card required to start enhancing your listings and marketing efforts today.Read more on Marketing