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Advertising Secrets to Find Top Tenants

by Dana Dunford

This post was written for CIC, Apply Connect

As an experienced landlord and real estate investor, you understand that qualified tenants bring a steady cash flow. And, a difficult or unqualified tenant will cost you everything. Hopefully you are set up with background and credit check reporting, which will mitigate your risk during the screening process.

How do you make sure that the rest of your marketing and leasing process is also effective? Here are some tips on advertising your rental property to attract top tenants and reduce time spent on unnecessary and unqualified tenants.

An online presence is necessary

84 percent of renters (90 percent for Millennial renters) search online, according to Zillow’s latest marketplace report. You want to make sure that you focus your attention on the internet.

How do you know that you are attracting enough tenants to get qualified prospects? Well, most tenants search at least two rental listing websites for a property. Some rental listing websites gain more traction than other websites. But, you do not want to lose a qualified tenant, because you listed your rental on a website that the top tenant did not search.

I have realized quantity matters for advertising your rental. You need a professional page for the property, as well as a presence on many rental listing websites. You never want to blame marketing as a reason for failed leasing. It is easily solved through a property management system that advertises your property on all of the advertising websites.

Tenants don’t read

I get a bit discouraged when landlords tell me that they do not want to take the time to create a professional ad. And then, they spend an hour each day responding to unqualified tenants’ emails ...

My recommendation is to spend the time up front to create a professional advertising process with software. Make sure that you have beautiful photos that explain the entire property. The photos should explain whether a parking spot and/or washing machine is provided. Tenants will not read long paragraphs to get this information.

In addition to your photos, you should use bullet points to list features, amenities, lease details, etc.. If you put this information in paragraph form, the tenant is more likely to not read your advertisement and respond with questions that have already been answered. Your rental advertisement should make it easy to understand the property and its amenities.

You want to also provide concrete information on qualifications for the property. These qualifications should state the minimum credit score and required monthly income for the property. Why? You do not want to waste time with someone who does not qualify for your property. It is better to have a vacant rental without income than a rental with a tenant going through an eviction.

Excuses waste time

When tenants call to tell you how wonderful they are, do not be fooled. It is a good salesperson with bad credit. They will give you every excuse on why their credit is bad, from a divorce to having been “young and dumb.” The truth remains - credit is a good indication of someone’s ability to pay their bills on time and responsibly. And, whenever you accept tenants with low credit, you are subjecting yourself to high risk or more involvement in rent collection.

Before you get to the ApplyConnect process, you want to pre-qualify those tenants who are going to your property showings. Why waste an hour of your day to show the property to a bad tenant, when you could be spending more time advertising your property to qualified tenants?

Speed is everything

While renters contact an average of 5 landlords, they only tour 3 homes before making a decision. You want your home to be the one toured, which requires a fast response to schedule a showing. Tenants who are high quality expect you to be on top of the process.

I recommend the initial email is personalized, yet automatically generated, to explain the next steps. It should contain a link to schedule the showing, while also providing reminders on the qualifications. You can even add the custom link to generate the application from ApplyConnect.

A system to automatically schedule showings provides miracles to getting great tenants. Qualified tenants find the process seamless when they can immediately book a showing. These systems will send the tenant a calendar invite, text reminder, and follow up emails. This approach gives you a huge advantage over other rentals in your area.


The secret to finding great tenants are:

  • Advertise and market your rental on as many top listing websites as possible
  • Automatically filter out the unqualified leads and don’t waste your time
  • Provide a quick and seamless experience for qualified prospects to book showings
  • Perform a background and credit check on the tenants

If you can follow the recommendations above and these four steps, then you are on your way to a much smoother and seamless rental experience.