The blooming of cherry blossoms in the city may indicate more than just spring’s early arrival. In Ontario, they also signal a blossoming time in the real estate market. Landlords have begun to clean, furnish, and spruce up their properties in preparation of renting them out to prospective tenants. 

It’s not the first apartment showing where a prospective tenant will make their first impression on the apartment; it’s actually the rental’s website listing where they make their first judgement. The rental listing is an often overlooked part of the rental process in attracting the right people to your property. Designing your rental listing to stand out amongst a swarm of comparable and competitive listings during peak rental season can be challenging, especially for an individual or first-time landlord with limited resources or knowledge.

We have compiled 4 key rules that you should follow when creating your rental listing: 

1. Keep It (your headline) Simple, Stupid

Prospective tenants are not looking for anything but suitability in the headline: What type of home is it? How many bedrooms and bathrooms are there? Where is it located? What is the rental price? The order of the answers to these questions is immaterial, as long as they are answered clearly in the headline. 

You should convey the basic structural image of your home to your readers in a few words. Whether your home has stainless steel appliances or city skyline views is useful to know, of course, but the header is not the area to put this information in. Not only are these phrases overused and unnecessary, but they also detract from the key features that your home offers; after all, what’s a home with skyline views if the price is not within your reader’s budget? Don’t waste the reader’s time. Only put in the basic information needed so readers know if the home matches their criteria.

2. Choose Concise and Concrete Descriptors

Describe your home with meaningful, concrete words. You are selling readers on your rental home, not an Apple product, so be practical. Avoid descriptive words like “charming”, “luxurious”, and “high-quality”. These words are subjective and add no substance to your listing. 

Many online advertising platforms will allow you to choose tags or descriptive words to go with your listing. Select the most unique characteristics of your property and elaborate on those features. If your home is “spacious”, detail the square footage and relevant details of specific areas, such as common areas like the kitchen and living room.

Avoid descriptive words like “charming”, “luxurious”, and “high-quality”.

Before listing your property, you may have also done some renovations and re-furnishing. Take the opportunity to boast the hard work and care you’ve put in by highlighting any new improvements like the installation of new hardwood floors or a redesigned kitchen layout. Novelty matters, and the words you choose to reflect this do too.

3. Location, Location, Location  

A home is more than just the condo unit or the detached house: the neighbourhood speaks to the character of the listing and should match the prospective tenant’s lifestyle. If your home is located in a vibrant and fun neighbourhood, highlight the surrounding retail amenities, restaurants, and nightlife. If the area is family-friendly and quiet, detail the surrounding parks, schools, and grocery stores. 

Your rental listing should also provide guidance on the commute and nearby transportation. Most people who rent are working individuals, so the proximity of their workplace from their home and the commute options available are relevant. Readers want to know what’s around them, and how to get around as well.

4.Medium is the Message: Take Professional (or as close to as possible) Photos

When prospective tenants are looking for a place to live, they shouldn’t have to do extra work by asking you for clearer photos. Take photos from every major room, including the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and amenity areas. 

Whether you photograph with an iPhone or a Nikon, keep lighting and angles in mind. Tidy up your home, turn on the lights, and take photos when the sun is at its peak so that you can capture high-quality, professional photos. Well-lit photos allow readers to see the true magnificence of your home, and also communicates professionalism and care on your end.

Tidy up your home, turn on the lights, and take photos when the sun is at its peak so that you can capture high-quality, professional photos.

If your home comes unfurnished, consider professionally staging your home so that readers can get a sense of your home’s ambience without physically being there. When a home is staged immaculately, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Properly writing a rental listing takes time and effort, and like any organized piece of writing, proofreading, editing and revising will be necessary. As long as we live in a competitive market where attracting the right tenants remains difficult, it will be worthwhile to make your rental listing stand out with purpose and direction.

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