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The internet has made a significant impact on Real Estate marketing:
In the “For Sale” market, most buyers and sellers go on the internet to get educated as to neighborhoods and prices before they ever contact a Real Estate Agent.
In the “For Rent” market, in the past by it was the newspaper where most prospective tenants looked for rentals. For most, the internet is the first step. For renters, it has made finding good rental information more of a challenge. The choices usually fall into one of the following categories:
- Pre-paid Rental Listing Agencies
- Free To Search/Charge To Advertise – Rental Listing Agencies
- Free To Search/Free To Advertise – Rental Listing Sites
- Traditional Real Estate Offices
- Free Internet Classified
- Property Management Websites
- For Rent Signs
Pre-paid Rental Listing Agencies
These companies appear high on many internet searches for rental properties. They will give a prospective renter only a little bit of property information until you pay them a fee. The fee buys you more detailed information and addresses on available rentals. These companies get their listings from property owners and managers who advertise with them. Some charge to advertise, most do it for free. A few of these companies are very good, most are not. The biggest complaints we hear are that the information is so old that the properties are already rented, and that the fees are very high for information that could be found for free.
Free To Search/Charge to Advertise – Rental Listing Agencies
These companies are similar to the above except they don’t charge the prospective renters. Instead they often charge the owner or manager to advertise. Because they charge they have far less listings. Again, the listings are sometimes too old to be useful. The biggest complaint is that they predominately have listings only for large apartment complexes with very few for single family homes, condos, or small complexes.
Free to Search/Free to Advertise – Rental Listing Sites
These are growing in popularity with new sites popping up constantly. Some are very good like Zillow and Truilia. We advertise on virtually all of them we can find. At present, many of these sites still don’t come up too high in search engine results, especially locally oriented sites.
Traditional Real Estate Offices
Some real estate agents, who specialize in the “For Sale” market, will also list property for rent (Especially when sales are slow). These listings can be found on websites with MLS search capabilities. The number of listings you will find is generally limited, and they are usually for the higher end of the single family home market.
Free Internet Classified
The leader in this area is Craigslist. They are free to advertise and free to search. The biggest complaint for landlords who advertise is the tremendous amount of fraud and scammers who will contact you.
For most of our time in business the newspaper, especially the Sunday paper, was the best place to advertise. However, since the rise of the internet, newspapers have become almost completely ineffective in advertising rental properties and we typically no longer advertise in the paper. Many prospective tenants are going back to simply driving through neighborhoods where they would like to rent.
Property Management Websites
If you can find them on the web they will often have the best, most current information for prospective renters. They will have listings for houses, condos and small complexes. For landlords, if you use a property management company, make sure they have a website that lists their available properties and make sure those listings have photos. Serious prospective tenants require photos. At Cornerstone Property Management we have had a constant web presence for over 20 years. We get hundreds of unique visitors each day. In all our advertisements we refer prospects back to our website for the most up to date information.
We work constantly to keep our website easy to find and high on the page in search engines. We advertise with Google on a pay per click basis. Google’s adwords is not only incredibly effective, but it allows us to have access to Google’s data on our website. We monitor how many people are searching for rentals in any of the cities in which we manage properties. It helps us understand the market and give our clients appropriate advice and work most effectively.
For Rent Signs
Of course, “For Rent” signs still work well for most properties. We have found that the large real estate sales type signs, the ones you see in the front yard on a post, are not as effective as a small more traditional “For Rent” signs. We have a custom made “For Rent” sign that we have found to be the most effective as part of our marketing strategy for your property. Our “For Rent” signs are easy to see and help spread the word on your property’s availability.