Real Estate Business: Considering Your Advertising Options

Should you put the word out via the Internet or the local paper? Would you do best with a simple “for rent” sign outside the property, or a banner down the side of the building? How and where you choose to advertise your vacancies will go a long way to determining what kind of applicants you attract. It may also determine how soon you fill vacancies, reducing the impact on your cash flow.Several resources exist for advertising a vacancy, some of which may be better suited to certain segments of the market than others. Common advertising venues include the following:Newspaper advertisements: Classified ads are the time-honoured and still-popular venue for apartment rental ads for both landlords and tenants.Many newspapers offer their print ads online, occasionally partnering with major listing sites such as GottaRent.com. Some of the larger media groups host sites that include listings from regional or community papers, giving you access to a larger potential audience than any one paper’s pages could offer. Don’t forget newspapers targeting a specific segment of the population, such as student and institutional papers.Online advertisements: One of the biggest changes for landlords in the past five years has been the rise of sophisticated online listing sites, and social media venues such as Facebook. Barebones sites such as Craigslist.org have given way to GottaRent.com, ViewIt.ca, and Renters.ca. GottaRent.com has also established relationships with newspapers, melding novel and traditional advertising venues and audiences.Many of the listing sites give landlords the option of targeting ads and tracking page views and responses, giving them insights into how to improve advertising strategies. Targeted advertising helps pre-select applicants who are best suited to the property. This is especially true of Facebook, where many large companies have garnered profitable tenancies for just pennies a listing.Signage: Many prospective tenants walk around neighbourhoods looking for vacancies. Posting a sign announcing an opening in your building is a great way to attract tenants who are seriously looking for a suite, want to be in your neighbourhood, and are diligent enough to walk the streets to find a place. On the other hand, you may also get a lot of calls from people who see the sign but have nothing more than a passing interest… so to speak.Tenant agencies: Some tenants will sign up with an agency that matches tenants with landlords. This reduces the legwork the tenant usually does to find a suite, and an agent can also give the landlord a better chance of finding a tenant who suits a particular property.No single advertising method will guarantee you the tenant that will suit your property. Rather than focus on one medium, use a mix of advertising that attracts a good assortment of applicants, but not more than you can handle.Advertising vacancies to your existing tenants may help you find a tenant not unlike the ones you’ve got. This could help preserve a balance in the building dynamic, ensuring stability and fewer hassles for you. Offering your existing tenants a “finder’s fee,” either in the form of cash or some other desirable prize, may encourage them to provide leads or tip off friends and colleagues of rooms to rent.