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Writing a rental advert

You’ve made the decision to let your rental property yourself and not use a letting agent.

Time to write a rental advert

The good news when writing a rental advert is that you don’t need to be Dylan Thomas or Shakespeare to pen an effective rental advert.

Having said that. There is a knack in conveying the critical information that will hook in a prospective tenant to want to find out more.

The essential thing to remember, is that letting a buy-to-let property is a competitive business. There is a lot of rental property out there and the purpose of any rental advert is to make it stand out from the competition.

Essential information in a Rental Advert

There is certain information that should be considered to be essential, and without which the tenant will be unable to make an informed decision about the rental property, so will just move on to the next rental advert.

Locality is obviously one. We all know that when it comes to property it’s Location, Location, Location, so don’t forget to let prospective tenants know where the property is.

It’s advisable to include a postcode as many tenants will search online letting sites, such as Zoopla, by postcode,.

Bare facts for a Rental Advert

In describing your rental property a landlord needs to give some brief details about the size and type of property. Is it an apartment or house? How many bedrooms does it have? What about other rooms – lounge, separate diner. etc

Parking is often a critical consideration for many renters, particularly professional tenants where they use their car every day for work.

Don’t forget the rent! Any decision a prospective tenant makes, will be guided by the rental cost so you need to include a clear figure. Remember, many tenants are acutely aware of how competitive a market it is right now, and will not over pay on the rent.

When it comes to rental levels a landlord can approach rent setting in two ways. Advertising a rent that they anticipate could be subject to a reduction; or using a competitive rent which they hope will attract a high number of tenants, but which they will not go below. These important decisions will be down to a landlord’s individual business judgement but can be critical in securing a tenant.

Embellish with description

Having given the prospective tenant some bare facts a landlord should try and embellish their rental advert with some description highlighting the most attractive features of the rental property.

For instance is the lounge particularly spacious, is it bright and well lit, or has a great view over a local park. A garage is often a real selling point for many tenants as it offers an opportunity not only to get their car off the road, but also to store various possessions such as bikes and packing boxes!

One picture is worth a 1000 words

Landlords using a letting agent have always being able to use photos to help advertise their rental property. These pictures taken by the letting agent are used to highlight the properties interior and most attractive features. Now increasingly landlords who produce their own rental advert are using their own photographic skills to highlight the attractive aspects of their rental property.

Greg Morall of letting site Letuself highlights a couple of key aspects about including photos with a landlords rental advert:

“Use great photos – internal and external. Clear all clutter before taking the photos,
removing coats from hooks, and moving the car from the driveway (unless it’s a Ferrari) etc.

Make sure that the photos fit the season (e.g. no snow in the garden during August).

An attractively furnished/lit corner of a room that suggests a lifestyle can be more
compelling than a picture of the whole room. Likewise, photos of the local park
within five minutes walk can be a useful way of promoting the location.”

Cutting your words and characters by using abbreviations

Some rental adverts, particularly the ones in newspapers charge on the basis of the number of characters used. This means that there is an incentive to use as few characters as possible in the rental advert. One way of doing this is to use abbreviations in the rental advert.

Where to place my rental advert.

There are a numerous online options available to landlords to display their rental advert.

Some of the widely used free listing sites are Gumtree, and Craigslist which are both worth a try.

The essential thing for landlords in deciding where to advertise their rental advert is getting their property in front of as many ‘propspective tenant’s eyeballs’ as possible, and to do this requires a rental advert to be placed on the big property portals such as Rightmove , Propertyfinder, Fish4Homes and friends.

In order to do this a landlord will have to pay to advertise, there are a number of online services that offer a ‘tenant find service’, this enables a landlord to upload an advert which will then be shared across a number of letting portals, the biggest and best is Rightmove and unless this is included in the package I would maybe move along to an alternative service.

Sites offering this service include Landlord Direct, which enables landlords to advertise their property until let for £29. A similar service is also offered by Lettingaproperty, which have recently being nominated a finalist in the UK buy-to-let awards and charge £29.95. Another site, Upad is currently offering a 2 for 1 BOGOF deal on its’ service at £59 until the end of September 2009.

Landlords looking to let to a specialist tenant market such as student tenants, may be better off advertising on a specialist letting site such as Accommodation for Students

So landlords – are you ready for the challenge? – Quills at the ready and get scribbling!

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