Good Ad, Bad Ad: Tips for Renting Your House on Craigslist

| October 23, 2011 More

Just like your mother probably told you, (likely more than once), (unless you grew up under a rock, that is), you never get a second chance to make a first impression. ┬áRoll your eyes if you must, but when it comes to marketing your rental property in an increasingly competitive market, this advice rings especially true. With new “house for rent” ads popping up on Craigslist every five minutes, many produced by experienced professionals, getting the details of your ad right—then re-posting it often, but that’s a story for another day—is an easy way to make your rental stand out from the crowd.

In today’s installment of “Good Ad, Bad Ad,” we’ll review ads for three Chicago apartments in the $2000/per-month price range. All of these ads are currently running on Craigslist.

Rental Ad #1:

This ad gets a few things right—the tagline includes the bedroom and bathroom count, the location, and the nice perk of having “utilities included”—but for over $2,000, I’m going to need some pictures before I pick up the phone. And speaking of the phone, where’s the agent’s phone number? Buried in a paragraph near the end of the ad. Not only is that key piece of information hard to find, it’s difficult to pick out the key features of this apartment, such as what type of security deposit is required, whether pets are allowed, whether parking is available. I’d like to have that “potential deal breaker” information up front. Not that “spacious floor plans” and “24 hour doormen” aren’t nice, but that’s what they all say, you know?

Chicago - luxury market - bad ad

Rental Ad #2:

This ad does better. Much better. The agent’s phone number is right at the top of the page, although it’s still not called out in an eye-catching manner. The key information about the apartment is called out first, in an easily scanned format. There’s also a decent quality photo of the building’s exterior in the top section of the ad. However, I have to wade through dense paragraphs of text to learn what amenities are offered, and interior photos of the apartment are tucked below the first screen of information. Overall, I like the ad, but it doesn’t quite make “must call” status.

Chicago - luxury market - medium ad

Rental Ad #3:

And we have a winner. Rent Smart’s phone number is clearly called out against a the backdrop of Chicago’s gorgeous skyline. Both the “essentials” AND the “key amenities” are called out near the top of the ad, in an easy-to-read, bulleted format. Best of all, interior photos of the apartment start at the top of the ad as well, encouraging me to scroll through the entire ad to follow the trail of photographs. Well played, Rent Smart, well played.

Chicago - luxury market - good ad

Category: Ready to Rent: Tips & Tricks