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Optimizing Online Listings for San Mateo Rental Properties - Article Banner

The online rental space is pretty crowded, and if you have a San Mateo property for rent, you’ll need to make sure your listing stands out among all the others. 

Prospective tenants are serious about finding a great place to live, but they don’t exactly have large attention spans. They’re scrolling through the listings they find on sites like Zillow and Zumper and HotPads, and after a while, each property likely starts to resemble the one before it and the one after it. 

You need to attract some attention to your specific rental home. 

We’re talking about optimizing online listings today. As San Mateo property managers, we take marketing very seriously because we understand its importance within the leasing process. With a solid marketing strategy, you’re going to attract well-qualified tenants quickly, avoiding lengthy and expensive vacancy periods. 

Here’s what we recommend when we’re talking about improving your online listing. 

Write a Good Headline 

The headline or the title of your listing is an introduction to what you’re about to share. It has to count, and most of the headlines we see on the average rental listing are mediocre. You can make a difference in the homes you’re renting out by crafting a headline that grabs attention. 

Your headline needs to be professional. It shouldn’t sound gimmicky. But, it also needs to share the most important details of your property as well as the price. Make sure there’s a keyword or two in the title as well. Say what kind of property it is. A single-family home? Condo? Townhome? You want to start with specifics. 

Pay attention to details. A misspelling, commas in odd places, and grammar that doesn’t make sense will only turn people off. There are a number of rental scams out there. If your headline is plagued with spelling errors and oddities, people will assume it’s not real. 

Here’s a sample headline that’s likely to get the attention of great tenants: 

Charming, Pet-friendly Single-Family Home with 3 Bedrooms and 2 Bathrooms, High-End Finishes, and an Attached 2-Car Garage for $3,850/month

You get some good details and special features in there as well as the basics: number of bedrooms and rental price

Put some effort into your listing’s title. You’ll immediately optimize it and get the attention of tenants who want to be persuaded to click on your ad.

Formatting and Length 

Once the title is written, you’ll be ready to go into the body of the listing. Before you think about the description and the photos, you need to plan for the formatting, the structure, and even the length of your listing. 

The ideal description will be around six sentences. If it’s any longer, tenants will simply stop reading. No one wants to peruse an essay. So, pick a handful of your property’s best features to showcase in the listing, and maybe consider mentioning the location if it’s especially desirable. You don’t necessarily need or want to give the exact address. Instead, mention a local landmark or a park that’s close. Short, informative sentences are best.

Rental listing descriptions are best formatted as a paragraph. Bullet-points are great for lists, and they can work well if you’re going to simply list the things people might like about your property. But, to optimize this listing, you’ll want a useful and persuasive description. That’s going to require a short and professional paragraph. 

Photos in San Mateo Rental Listings 

To effectively market your rental property and create an online listing that counts, it’s important to make your home appear presentable and highly desirable. 

Photos are important. Prospective tenants will almost always look at the pictures before they read the description. So, make sure your listing includes high quality photos which will give your prospective tenants a good idea of what the home looks like. If tenants come across a listing that doesn’t include photographs, they are not likely to remain interested in the property. Photos can be a reflection of your rental home’s curb appeal; they create a first impression that will either attract or repel good renters.

Here’s how to make sure your photographs are helping, and not hurting, your online listing.

  • Consider Working with a Professional Photographer

Professional photography doesn’t require a huge investment, and it’s a great way to really optimize your listing. The photos that work well online have the right lighting and they’re shot from the right angles. A professional will understand how to take perfect shots that create a welcoming and inviting look to your investment.  

  • Setting a Photo-Friendly Scene

Whether you’re working with a pro or taking the pictures yourself, make sure the property is camera-ready. We recommend that you eliminate clutter in the home before capturing the right shots. Make the home look like a place that renters would want to live. Your photos must:

  • Set an appealing scene
  • Use lighting – both natural and artificial – to the advantage of your property.
  • Get clear, clean shots that reflect the best parts of your home. 
  • Include photos of the interior and exterior. 
  • Take a large number of photos to ensure we have plenty to choose from when we’re putting together the listing.

  • Clean Your Rental Home

Tidy up your property and clean the home. You don’t want any personal belongings in the way of capturing good, clear shots of the property you’re renting out. The property needs to look clean and empty before photos are taken. Make sure all of the dust is cleared away, crumbs are wiped off of appliances, and the floors are clear of dirt and stains. Polish the sinks and hardware. All of these cleaning and tidying efforts will make the pictures look great.  

  • Time Your Photo Shoot Effectively

It’s best to take photos when the natural light is the best. Open up the blinds. All the natural light that flows in through the windows should be put to its best use. Make sure the curtains are open as well. This will make your property look larger and brighter in the photographs. 

Pay attention to details. In the bathrooms, put your toilet seats down. Clean the mirrors and scrub any soap from the shower doors. If the shower has nice tiles or special features, open the shower door or pull back the shower curtain before the photos are taken. 

San Mateo Rental Property Descriptions 

We’ve talked about the importance of crisp, disciplined formatting when you’re writing your online listing. You also have to think about the content of that listing. Writing a clear and detailed property description is a big part of optimizing your online listing. 

Provide a thorough description of the property without taking up too much space or driving away the attention of tenants. You’ll want to include details such as: 

  • Square footage. How much space will be available to tenants? Is it an open floor plan?
  • Number of bathrooms and bedrooms, including half-baths and flex space that could be used as an additional bedroom.
  • Price. Include the rental amount and the amount you’ll collect as a security deposit.
  • Date the property is available for move-in.
  • Whether pets are allowed or considered.

Mention any special amenities such as a pool or an attached parking garage. You want your description to be easy to read, appealing, and full of details that show off the best aspects of your rental property.

Fair Housing and Screening Requirements 

Fair Housing LawCalifornia has some of the most expansive fair housing laws in the country. Actually, our state laws go further in protecting tenants than federal laws do. One area where it’s easy to make a fair housing mistake is your rental listing. You are working hard to optimize that listing and how it attracts good attention. You don’t want it to attract bad attention. 

Make sure you’re following all fair housing laws when you write your description. You don’t want to find yourself appearing to prefer one “type” of tenant over another. This seems like an easy mistake to avoid, but choosing the wrong language in your listing can set off fair housing alarm bells. 

You don’t want to say that a property is close to a specific house of worship, for example. You don’t want to say it would be “best for single professionals without kids.” Your listing’s language can discriminate even without intending to. Instead of calling out what specific groups of people will like about your rental home, stick to what everyone will appreciate about your property. 

You might want to include some of your standard rental criteria in your listing as well. This could save you time, as some unqualified prospective tenants might self-screen and decide not to pursue renting your home. For example, if you say the rental amount is $3,000 and monthly income must be at least three times that amount, tenants who earn less will not get in touch. 

There are many ways to make your rental listing stand out in a crowded online market. Let’s talk about our marketing strategy and how it can help you rent your San Mateo property to great tenants. Contact us at Sharevest Property Management.