One of the most important parts of the leasing process is marketing. When you market your rental home effectively, you identify and place a well-qualified tenant. You avoid long vacancies and begin collecting rent as soon as possible. A good marketing process will allow you to seamlessly advertise your home, show it, and collect applications from interested parties.
It seems simple. You take some pictures, you write a description, you post the listing on all the popular websites. Then, you wait for people to call or message or schedule a visit.
It’s not always so easy. While technology helps us to market San Francisco rental properties more effectively than ever, it also opens owners and tenants up to the potential for scams. A property that isn’t priced according to the market might not get any attention at all. You may find you’re getting a lot of interest but zero applications. Good marketing requires effort.
When you market your property, you’re targeting quality tenants. You don’t want to waste your time showing a property and collecting applications from people who simply will not qualify to rent your home.
Let’s talk about how to market your San Francisco rental property, and lets zero in on how to make sure your marketing strategies attract the high-quality, well-qualified residents you’re looking for.
Include Your Rental Price in Every Listing
One of the most important pieces of information in your rental property marketing is the price of your home. You need to have that information prominently located on your listing. This is how tenants will decide which properties they want to see. It’s often a filter that tenants will use to search on some rental websites.
There’s absolutely no benefit to not listing your rental price in your advertising.
Let tenants know:
- How much the monthly rent is.
- How much of a security deposit is required.
- What kind of financial or income criteria must be met in order to be approved for your property.
All of this information can and should be included in your listing. By establishing how much the rental costs and what you’re looking for in terms of qualifying rental criteria, you’re limiting the people who request showings and applications to those who actually stand a chance of being approved. It saves you and your potential tenants a lot of time. It also cuts down on the number of times you’re asked about how much the rent is.
Where should your pricing land?
That depends on the market. Your rental value needs to reflect what homes similar to yours are renting for right now. Pricing is an important part of the marketing process not only in the way you include the price in your listing, but also because you’re demonstrating value. Tenants are going to make price one of the first factors that determine whether they see a home. They won’t waste time on homes outside of their price range. And, they won’t waste time on homes that are overpriced.
Conduct a thorough and detailed rental analysis before you list your rental home in San Francisco at a certain price point. Are you pulling any arbitrary number out of the air? Are you charging an amount that will cover your monthly expenses? That’s not the best way to do it.
Instead, investigate the competition. Find out what they’re offering and what they’re charging. You don’t want to under-price your property. That’s an instant loss, and it will take you longer than necessary to catch up to market rents, especially with limits in place on how much you can raise the rent every year.
Overpricing is just as dangerous, and potentially even more expensive. Tenants know the market. They know what kind of rents they should be paying. An overpriced rental property will stay on the market, unoccupied, for longer. That’s less income for you. It’s money that you won’t be able to recoup as long as you can’t get a tenant placed.
Check in with a San Francisco property manager. You can usually find a number of companies willing to offer you a free rental analysis. Get an idea of what the range is for your property. Assign a rental value that falls within that range.
Good marketing begins with an accurate rental price. Always make sure your listing includes that price.
Focus on Photos with San Francisco Rental Marketing
High quality tenants are looking for homes that provide value. Once you align your price with your ideal tenant, you can move on to attracting that tenant.
Excellent tenants will notice your photos before they read your description.
The photos allow you to connect emotionally with potential residents. Make an effort when you’re taking pictures. Hiring a professional photographer is a fantastic idea, but you don’t have to be or have a professional in order to leverage the photos you take for your listing.
Here are some tip to excellent rental marketing photos:
- Pay attention to lighting. Make good use of all the natural lighting you have. Open the windows. Pull up the blinds. Let all that light in before you take photos.
- Focus on your angles. As you take pictures of the kitchen, stand on different sides of it. Take shots from various angles so you can settle on the photos that give tenants the best idea of how the kitchen looks.
- Clean up. You don’t want marketing photos that show a lot of clutter, debris, or mess. Close those toilet seats before you take pictures of the bathrooms. Move the empty hangers out of the closets.
Take abundant photos, too. Most listing sites allow you to post a dozen or more photos. Good tenants will want to see the outside of the property, the kitchen and common areas, and the bedrooms and bathrooms. Photograph any special features, too, such as a garden tub in a bathroom or new appliances in a kitchen.
Keep the Description Concise and Engaging
We often see rental property descriptions that are only a few lines (too short) or a novel-in-progress (too long). Don’t make those mistakes. Write a description that includes all of the pertinent information about your property, but don’t write endless paragraphs. Attention spans are short. Grab the attention of those quality tenants you want to attract, and give them enough information to motivate them to schedule a showing. Don’t bore them into passing your listing and moving on to the next.
- Square footage
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Information about parking
- Location and neighborhood information
- Whether there’s a balcony, patio, or or indoor space
- Rental amount and any rental terms
If there are special selling points about your San Francisco rental property, make sure you highlight those in your listing as well. Any remodeling that’s been done recently should be mentioned. If you have brand new energy-efficient appliances, include that. A video doorbell? Prospective tenants will find that attractive. If your rental home is located in a particularly desirable school district, include that information as well.
It’s important to be accurate. Don’t turn good tenants away by promising something in your listing and then not delivering when they show up to see the property.
Where to List a San Francisco Rental Home
More rental sites than ever before can be found on the internet. You’ll want to syndicate your listing out to as many of those as possible. Tenants are using PadMapper, HotPads, Rentals.com, Zillow, Zumper, and dozens of others. You can focus on a few or you can work with a San Francisco property manager who has the software and the technology to blast your listing out to all of those relevant sites.
Quality tenants are looking online. They’re also scrolling through social media. Post your home for rent on your social sites and ask people in your network to share that listing. Someone always knows someone else who is looking for a new home. Generate as much traffic as you can so you’re casting a wide net and welcoming inquiries from well-qualified renters.
Always Be Responsive to Prospective Tenants
High quality tenants have options when it comes to choosing where they’ll live.
These tenants are not going to chase you.
When you begin to receive inquiries, be responsive. We are always surprised to hear from tenants that many times they’ll call or send a message about a home and never get a response. This is no way to market a home. You have to answer these calls. You have to respond to these messages.
Set up a dedicated phone number, if you can. A dedicated email address will help, too. You’ll know that when communication comes into one of those outlets, it’s a matter of urgency. Schedule showings at times that are convenient for your renters. Quality tenants are looking for self-showings. They want flexibility. If you can provide it, you’re more likely to get those residents into your rental home.
We understand the importance of effective marketing. It’s a huge part of the leasing services we provide as your San Francisco property management resource. If you’d like some assistance marketing your property to well-qualified renters, we can help. Contact us at Sharevest Property Management.