How to be transparent in your rental listings

Written on November 6, 2017 by , updated on December 3, 2019

rental listingIt may be tempting to say your rental property has “stunning ocean views” when you really have to go to the backyard, stand on tip-toe, and squint your eyes to maybe catch a glimpse of water.

While you may not have lied outright in your rental listing description, what you did was called “puffing.” People do it all the time to draw attention when selling something. The problem is that overselling could backfire on you. If people expect a view of the ocean and don’t really get it, they will be disappointed and might move on to a place that really does have a stunning ocean view.

It’s better to be transparent in your rental listings. That way, you’re showing your property to people who will be interested in what you have to offer.

Be factual

Instead of using worn-out adjectives in your rental listings—words like “stunning,” “amazing,” “beautiful,” and “wonderful”—let the desirable facts speak for themselves. Your rental property surely has something about it that will attract renters, which you can point out without resorting to puffing.

Related: Top 10 amenities renters can’t resist

  • Is your rental within walking distance to retail, restaurants, parks, schools, or medical centers? Say so. Walkability is a highly desirable feature for renters. If your property is more than a mile away, though, instead of saying “walking distance,” state the distance: “1.5 miles from Whole Foods,” for example.
  • Does your rental unit come with parking? This is a highly coveted amenity, particularly for urban dwellers, so state the type of parking you have.
  • Do you have a walk-in closet for your renter? Let them know in your listing.
  • If an in-unit washer/dryer is available, don’t keep that a secret. Say so in the listing.
  • Many renters own pets. If you allow animals, state that information in your listing—even better if you also have a fenced-in yard to point out.

Once you’ve decided which features to highlight in your rental listing, why not write about them in a compelling and captivating way? For example, instead of stating the property comes with a large yard, you might want to be more descriptive, like this: “This home’s spacious yard is perfect for hosting family barbecues.”

Related: How to craft captivating rental listings with emotional triggers

Take great photos

Although photographs taken from a professional photographer are fantastic, it’s not mandatory to use a pro to get eyes on your rental listing. You can attract just as many renters from photos you’ve snapped yourself using your smartphone.

The trick is to make the photos look inviting. A staged home photographs the best, but an empty rental unit photographs better than a messy one. Don’t even think about posting pictures of a bedroom with clothes strewn about the room or a bathroom with a close-up of an open toilet—yes these types of photos are all over the internet!

Here’s what you should do:

Related: How to shoot real estate photos like a pro

  • Remove all clutter, close all cabinet doors, and close all toilet seats.
  • Shoot with natural light if possible. If not, make the rooms you’re photographing as bright as you can by turning on lights.
  • Shoot from the doorway looking into the room.
  • Take lots of photos. That way you can choose the best ones to highlight in your rental listing. Be sure to include the exterior (front and back), kitchen and appliances, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

If you like to shoot videos, do that too. Walk around the property, pointing out all the best features as you go along.

The headline

Once you’ve mastered being transparent, letting the features of your property speak for themselves, make sure you write a good headline to maximize your views.

There’s an art to writing a good headline. Instead of going with the typical listing of, “3BD 2BA 1,000 SqFt home $1,500,” consider this: “Ultra-Quiet Apartment Near Med Center.” Once you’ve got someone’s attention by that great headline, you can tell the specifics in the subheading.

Related: Rental listing headlines that fill your vacancies fast

Undesirable features

Your rental unit may have undesirable features, such as a high level of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), for example. While you don’t need to feature that in the listing, you typically must disclose this (or other features that would make the unit uninhabitable) before your tenant moves in. States vary on what types of disclosures are required. So if you have a problem with your rental unit that you can’t cure, make sure you disclose it to be transparent.

Bottom line

Don’t resort to over exaggerating in your rental listings. By being transparent and pointing out your rental unit’s best features instead, you should have it rented in no time.

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