Chapter 3

How to Write an Impressive Rental Listing Description

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The Complete Guide to Finding Tenants

Rental Description Image

You wrote a great rental listing title. Now, your next task is writing a stellar description of the property you’re renting. Some landlords miss the opportunity to sell their properties with a great description, assuming tenants are more interested in rental price, photos, or location instead. But the description has the power to win over tenants.

The description should complement the photos and other features of your listing while demonstrating you’re a sophisticated landlord. If it’s well-written and contains compelling language, it’s a huge selling point. Instead of writing a bland description, like “Remarkable two bedroom,” try something more persuasive, like:

“Your private two-bedroom sanctuary fifteen minutes from downtown.”

Magic Formula for Writing Rental Listing Descriptions

Here at Rentalutions, we help you build an effective online rental listing. Our magic formula has helped thousands of landlords write a great description- simply add your unit’s details shown in blue.

{One Great Feature}: {Adjective}, {Adjective} {# of beds} bedroom {# of baths} bathroom {type of house} in {your neighborhood}, available {date available}. Close to {a few of the awesome things nearby, like restaurants, shops, etc}. Has {List of some distinct features in the property, like hardwood floors, balconies, etc}. {Is / Is not } pet-friendly. {Rent-amount}/month, {number of months deposit} month security deposit. Utilities {list of utilities} included. Applicants are required to complete a rental application and authorize a $45 credit and background check. Call {your first name} at {your phone number}.

Our formula is useful for a few reasons. There’s a continuous balance between features and information. It’s mainly business (rental price, number of bedrooms, type of house, date available), but there’s also fun (features and amenities).

While it’s important to list rental price and other pertinent information, it doesn’t have to be in the first sentence because those are key aspects of your rental listing title.

The perfect description ends with contact information because the desired next step is the tenant reaching out to you!

A clear call to action, like “Call John at 312-345-6798,” converts viewers into tenant leads.

Here’s an example of the formula in use:

Great for entertaining: spacious, updated 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment in Lakeview, available May 1st. Close to nightlife with private backyard. $2000.00/mo, $200.00 move-in fee. Building is pet friendly with heat included. This property is managed by a responsible landlord using Rentalutions landlord software. Applicants are required to complete a rental application and authorize a $45 credit and background check. Call John at 312-345-6798.

When you highlight that you use Rentalutions, you show that you are a professional using industry software. The benefit of highlighting the credit and background check is that it will discourage unqualified tenants from contacting you. While it is beneficial to have numerous leads, you ultimately want quality tenant leads.

Highlighting that the credit and background check costs $45 is informative and discourages anyone who isn’t seriously interested. (Keep in mind that you can offer to reduce first month’s rent by $45 if you choose to accept the tenant). Creating a listing that attracts the most qualified tenants will save you time in the long run.

Originality

Apartment searching can be exciting for tenants- it’s an opportunity for tenants to upgrade their life. Writing a description is a way to sell a lifestyle you can provide. Tenants will be thrilled to find a better location, a better price, better amenities…or a better landlord. And you can provide that for them.

Keep in mind that tenants will read a lot of listings. It can start to feel like each description contains the same promises. Avoid phrases like, ‘ great amenities’ or ‘convenient location.’ It’s more impactful to describe unique attributes of your unit.

Highlight popular features if you have them. Zillow published trends for 2016, including farmhouse sinks, barn doors, subway tiles, and quartz. Units with these features are renting faster and for more money, so be sure to highlight popular features in your listing description if you have them.

Style

Be specific. If your unit is luxurious because it is fully updated, then describe what is updated. It’s more effective to highlight what your unit offers a tenant: maybe it’s a faster commute because your unit is close to the train. Or maybe it’s a fun neighborhood with bars nearby.

Likewise, exclamation points and all caps often have the opposite effect than you desire. If you want to stir up excitement, then write what’s great about your unit. You also don’t have to be a salesperson- be straightforward and genuine. Remember that word choice and descriptors are powerful. You can say “large family room,” but it’s better to say, “spacious family room with bay windows overlooking Clark street.” Painting a picture in the tenant’s mind is effective.

Description Length and Format

The ideal description is 4-6 sentences. Pick two of your best features and one exciting attraction nearby. Short, informative sentences are all you need.
Rental listing descriptions are best formatted as a paragraph. Bullet-points are great for lists, but the description is not a list- it should be full of useful, persuasive information. It’s a more professional format.

Fair Housing Laws

Be sure to comply with all laws throughout your search for a new tenant. It’s a violation of Fair Housing Laws to mention national origin, race, gender, disability, or familial status anywhere in your description. For instance, you can’t write, “Looking for young couple.” This is true throughout the entire rental process. As you’re showing your rental property, it’s illegal to say, “This building is perfect for a family with kids.” This is illegal because it means you are selecting tenants based on discriminating factors (age, familial status, etc).

Options to Add to Your Description

  • How is maintenance handled: Is the tenant expected to fix things? Do you have a contractor?
  • Your email: Some tenants will be more comfortable reaching out by email.

Contact Info

A common question we get here at Rentalutions is ‘What if I don’t want to leave my personal email or phone number?’ We recommend creating a separate Gmail Account for your rental listings. For example, your email address could be 123mainstreet@gmail.com. That way, you can manage your tenant leads in one place without personal emails in the way and it’s not attached to your name.

If you don’t want to leave your phone number, you can set up Google Voice. It provides an alternate phone number, but the texts and calls come through your phone. When people call your Google Voice number, it pops up on your phone as the account name- for instance, “123 Main Street.” That way, you know if an unknown number is a prospective tenant who found your listing.

And last, it’s important for you to be available. If you list an email address, it should be an account you check frequently. Creating tenant interest is useless if you don’t follow up with them. Answering phone calls, or getting back to people at a reasonable time (within a day or two), is crucial to being an outstanding landlord and keeping your tenant interested.

Property Address

While some landlords are hesitant to include the property address, it is best to include it. Most tenants do a map-based search, meaning they are looking for a property in a specific location. You want tenants to be able to find your unit in that location. It’s also more informative. Tenants will typically skip a listing if the address isn’t specified.

Things to Avoid

  • Saying what kind of tenants you are looking for
  • All caps
  • Exclamation points
  • Bland adjectives

Final Thoughts

The description is the biggest piece of content in your listing, so it’s important to do it well. Keep it simple, paint a picture, and highlight your top selling points. We recommend a 4-6 sentence paragraph with persuasive word choices and proper grammar. You’re selling your unit, but also showcasing yourself as a professional landlord.

If you sign up for Rentalutions then you’ll not only have the ability to quickly post your listing on multiple sites with the push of a button, but you’ll also have tools to create your listing like our Magic Formula for Rental Descriptions at your fingertips!

After writing a great description, read below to learn how to take photos that rent your unit fast.

 

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