A Guide to Rental Advertising

It is important to remember that rental advertising is written and determined by individuals who treat the property like a business. Income properties, as they are called, can generate huge amounts of additional salary for landlords and owners. When your browse rental advertising, you need to take note of the nature of this business and use a discerning eye.

Where to Find Rental Ads

The local paper is always a good place to start. However, today, most people want to look for their rental units through online services. This is a fine option, but it is very easy to be mislead through these postings. Those sites that are subscription based, asking you to pay a small fee for a month of viewing, tend to screen their listings the best. Sites like Craigslist that allow for unlimited free postings result in frequent problems. Many times, the postings are expired. If you elect to use a free site, never pay money up front and never go to view the property alone.

Look for Feature, Not Flash

When you read the description of a property up for rent, you should not be distracted by words like "hard wood floors" or "upgrades." While all of these items are nice, none of them are necessary. Instead, focus on the description of features in the residence that make it more livable and safe. Landlord who pay close attention to safety codes will make adjustments to their property, and they will advertise these adjustments. Well-maintained properties advertise updated lighting, plumbing, windows or security doors. These features are not flashy, but they are actually more expensive to upgrade than surface changes like new appliances. They are also the features that will keep you safe and healthy in the apartment.

Look for Exclusive Listings

A landlord that places advertisements in every single location in order to rent an apartment may be desperate. You should look for landlords that have exclusive listings, electing only one or two sources to advertise their unit for rent. If you find the same unit advertised repeatedly on a single website or across websites, you can begin asking why this unit is still for rent given the vast amount of information about it. Quality rental units are often only advertised once before they are swept up by quality renters. Exclusive listings are your best bet for advertisements that are accurate in their description of the actual property.

Speak with Neighbors

Show up a few minutes early to any viewing of the property to see if you can speak with some of the neighbors. You do not have to ask a lot of questions to get a lot of information. For example, just asking, "how long have you lived here," can reveal a lot about the property. If the neighbors have stayed put for years, then you can be assured they are happy with their experience, and the advertisements you read are true. You can also learn what type of neighbors live in the area, giving you an idea if you will fit in.

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