Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to advertise properties for rent

You've all seen them, the ad reads:

 "3Br, close to shops and kindy, open fire. Avail now, suit QUIET professionals. No pets or smokers. Bond 4 weeks, plus 2 weeks rent to be paid in advance."

What exactly is in this for the tenant?  It's a good property from which they can set up a sniper position to pick off preschoolers? (Read it again, hear the command).  Tenants who shout 'Quiet!' frequently would be great?  I once saw an ad that mentioned it was close to the bottle shop.  Were they seeking alcoholics in particular?  I can only wonder why.

Obviously there is a bit of an art to writing good ad copy.  There's also an art to taking great photos, but that a topic for another post.

Put yourself in your ideal tenants shoes.  Don't know what your ideal tenant looks like, or what their footwear preference is?  If that's the case, and you are genuinely stumped, we can help with that.  We love the challenge of making your property appeal to great tenants.

Who are great tenants?  Ones who pay the rent when it is due, don't damage the property in any way, keep it clean and tidy, especially when they leave, and don't annoy the neighbours or yourself.  Sounds fairly achievable really, anyone should be able to do that.  Sadly, they don't.  There are also nuances of great, and good copy gets the really outstanding ones excited to see your property.

How do we get to them?  We sell the property to them with love.  We seduce them with the aspects of the property that will give them the life they always dreamed of.  We appeal to their imagination and their intellect.  We flatter them.  We nurture their desire to be special.  We tap into their desire.

Exactly how do we do that?  Your property is more than the bricks and mortar that makes it.  It is the location, the aspect, the way it relates to its section and the neighbours.  It is the people around it.  It is how they get to work and play.  It is what makes your property fit in, and stand out.  It is the value as opposed to cost.  We tap into that and talk about more than the number of bedrooms the house has, because all properties have something to offer the occupant.

What we don't do is turn people off.  It doesn't mean lie or obscure bad aspects, but instead find the upside.  It has a lot of stairs?   "Save gym fees, get a great workout each time you walk to your front door".  Its got a tiny outdoor space? "Easy care courtyard makes weekends all pleasure, not work mowing"... you get the idea.  It's standard 'real estate speak', and it works.

Don't punish new tenants for the crimes of old ones.  Leave out the bits that clearly show you had a bad experience ("clean and tidy tenants wanted"), instead be the landlord you want to be, the one who has a great professional relationship with your tenants.  Make it clear your ideal tenant is the one that the property best suits.  This makes tenants put their best foot forward, and they'll be oohing and ahhing at your showings to show you they love it, and you'll love them.

I notice some landlords don't seem to love their properties.  While you should never buy an investment based on emotion, you should be excited about some aspect of it, even if that is the return it brings you.  If you truly can't find something about the property that could excite you or anyone else, have someone else have a crack at it.  We have a rule in our office.  If you don't love the property, you don't write the advert for it.  How you feel about a property will show in your writing, so we make sure we manage properties we have a reason to love.  And not surprisingly, we get lots of great tenants wanting to see the properties we advertise.

Things you shouldn't say in the advert include matters of bond and rent as they can be worked out when tenants see the property.  If you are adamant on no pets, then sure, have that in there.  Likewise you can discriminate about smokers.  Any other choices you make to thin out prospective tenants needs to pass the 'Human Rights Act'.  So, you can't say 'no children', or 'married couples preferred', or 'Christians ideal' or 'no Australians'.  Trust me, I've had thousands of tenants.  Good tenants, and bad, exist in every way age shape and form, so forget your biases.  You can't even say 'professionals' because that implies blue collar workers are not going to get a look in.  What you mean is 'someone who won't go into rent arrears', and again, that doesn't need to be said as it is an expectation of every landlord.  If you really don't want children in your property (and I honestly can't understand why not, there are good ones) then only buy one bedroom places and limit the number of occupants to one person only.  You can't reasonably limit the number of occupants in a three bedroom place to just one or two, so don't try.

We love using video to promote our properties, and we use it whenever we can to really get someone 'in the moment' of being there.  Again, there is an art to doing this well, which there isn't room to go into in this post.  Video really solves the problem viewers have of 'how does this photo relate to the others?' and you'll get committed prospects turning up to see it.

Make sure you have clear contact details so people can see the property and apply.  I've seen plenty of ads where the only way to contact the landlord was via email, which could be too slow for tenants looking at many properties at once.  What's wrong with taking some calls? A very successful landlord friend of mine has it down to an art and in under a minute can give prospective tenants all the key points they need to know.  We use a cool booking system to get tenants to property showings, it works really well to reduce no-shows and saves us buckets of time.

If you want to see examples of our great ads in action, please view our Trademe listings here.  If this doesn't bring up any properties, it's because they've already been snapped up by eager and awesome tenants.  Contact us to have the same happen for you.

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