What Makes An Effective ‘For Lease’ Listing, And Why Landlords Should Browse Them

By Sharon Fox-Slater on 25 Jul 2014
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Like everyone else, tenants value their time – and personally inspecting rental properties is time-consuming.

That means listings need to give them all the information they need to decide if the property is potentially suitable before they hop in the car to take a look. And yet many listings fall short, to the disadvantage of the owners.

A badly-listed property is likely to take longer to rent out. It also increases the risk of a poor quality tenant who may have fewer choices and is therefore less discerning about the condition of the property or the facilities it offers.

“A great advertisement makes the appeal and lifestyle benefits of living in the property obvious.”

When you are selecting a manager for your investment property, it is worth looking through the rental advertisements for properties similar to your own.

Not only can you get a feel for where the rent should be set, and which agents have the most listings in the area, but also which agents have the most effective advertisements.

What you may save in management fees by choosing a cheaper agency can quickly be eaten up by longer vacancy periods with no rent.

Photos

Multiple, in-focus, well-lit photographs of the house are vital – including the exterior, kitchen, bathroom/s and outdoor living spaces.  

It is a big plus if a wide angle lens is used and/or attractive furniture is included in the photos. Virtual furniture can also be added to pictures of empty rooms so tenants can envisage the size of the space.

The lead photo should showcase the home’s best feature, which is not always the commonly-used exterior shot.

If you ever need to make a claim on your landlord insurance, these photos can also come in handy as a record of the property’s condition before a tenancy.

Headline

The headline in an advertisement should be simple, direct and describe the home’s best aspect.

For example, a search of homes to rent in Brunswick, Victoria revealed the following laudable example: “Amazing views, sunny balcony and lots of space”. This is far better than the uninspired “Two bedrooms and study” and more informative than “A beautiful heart”.

Layout

A listing should do more than cite the number of bedrooms and living spaces. Prospective tenants care how those spaces are arranged and the property’s orientation.

Ideally, include a floor plan.

“A badly-listed property is likely to take longer to rent out.”

Otherwise, the listing will need to describe the layout in words – are bedrooms upstairs or downstairs or both, is there a line of sight from the kitchen to the back garden, are the bedrooms well separated for privacy?

Lifestyle

A great advertisement makes the appeal and lifestyle benefits of living in the property obvious. What does living in this home have to offer? How will it make the tenant feel?

Neighbourhood

A great home isn’t just about the bricks and mortar, but also about location. For apartments, is there a pool or gym available? Otherwise, what amenities are nearby? Is it on a leafy street? Close to shops? Near a park?

Full disclosure

It is important to disclose all the relevant details such as the rent sought, the address, information on where and when to find inspection times, whether pets can be accommodated, and when the property will become available.

About the Author

Sharon Fox-Slater is the Executive General Manager of RentCover, a division of EBM Insurance Brokers which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia. With 20 years’ experience in landlord insurance, Sharon’s top priority is customer service and positive customer comments are her biggest marker of success. Despite leaving school at 15, Sharon has forged a ground-breaking career – she was the first woman to become a Fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association. Sharon was recently honoured to have been included in Insurance Business magazine’s Elite Brokers 2013 list.

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