Several months ago, Craigslist came out with a long-overdue feature for individuals looking to find rentals on the popular classifieds website: the Craigslist Map View. For those of you not familiar with Craigslist … please, go get familiar with it (Seriously? You aren’t using this!?)
For everyone else, this post is going to look at their newest update and how you can use it in your real estate business to maximize your results and reach the most potential tenants.
The Craigslist Map View allows users to quickly and easily locate apartments or homes for rent by searching over an interactive map, rather than just the normal list that Craigslist has been famous for since before I left high school.
Using the Craigslist Map View Feature
The Craigslist Map View feature allows a potential tenant to search based on neighborhoods, by zooming into a desired area and looking at the various listings on a map. Take a look at the screenshot below to see a sample of what a prospective tenant will see when searching:
The image above was taken from the Seattle area, and each of those numbers in the orange, yellow, or green circles indicate the number of Craigslist listings on that particular page.
- Orange: Many listings in that area
- Yellow: Some listings in that area
- Green: Only a few listings in that area
What a tenant clicks on one of the circles, the map zooms in, giving new circles. This can be repeated until zoomed down to an acceptable level where individual listings are shown, where the searcher can click on the purple “peace sign” to see a snippet of information about the property, such as in the screenshot below:
The snippet shows:
- The Craigslist post Title
- An image (if uploaded)
- The monthly rent
- The number of bedrooms
- How long ago the listing was updated
- and several links to check out the listing.
How to Use the Craigslist Map View to Attract Tenants
As a landlord, the map view is an important search tool to take advantage of. While I don’t believe every tenant will search with this tool, it is important that you maximize your exposure to fill vacancies as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are two things you will need to ensure that your Craigslist posts now have to ensure they viewable for searchers using the Map View:
Address or Cross Streets
When you create your posting, it is important that you include the location. However, many landlords don’t want to include the address (to keep criminals from knowing where empty houses are.) Luckily, Craigslist doesn’t require an address to be featured in the Map View. Instead, you can simply enter the nearest cross streets and Craigslist will place your rental in the general area. Also, be sure to accurately describe the cross streets when making a Craigslist posting. If your rental is on N Cherry Street, don’t simply write “Cherry Street” but include the “N.”
Many individuals don’t use the photo uploader provided by Craigslist, but instead rely on image hosting websites like “TinyPic.com” or “Photo Bucket” in order to provide larger, more detailed photos that what Craigslist offers. Others use services like Postlets to create professional looking pages for Craigslist. While these are an excellent idea for making your posting stand out, it is vital that you include at least one photo using the Craigslist photo uploader. Your listing will not show a photo on Map View if you don’t do this.
Craigslist Pic View
Another new introduction by Craiglist is the ability to search listings with a photo next to each listing, called the “Pic View.” This search area is found by clicking on “housing” under the appropriate Craigslist location. As stated above, you must upload at least one photo to have a photo on this section of the Craigslist search. Take a look at the screenshot below.
If you were a tenant, which would your eye be drawn on to click and learn more? The one’s with the photo or without?
This Map View and Pic View are important tools that you can use to maximize your results and reach the most number of potential eyes as possible. Have you started optimizing your posts for Pic View yet? Let me know in the comments below.