How to Use The Craigslist Map View To Reach More Tenants

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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:
shadow_image_106287
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:
shadow_image_106612

The snippet shows:

  • The Craigslist post Titleshadow_image_102741
  • 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:

  1. 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.”

  2. Photos

    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.
shadow_image_105166

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.

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About Author

Brandon Turner (G+) is the BiggerPockets.com Senior Editor and Community Director. He is also an Active Real Estate Investor (Flips, Apartments, and Buy-and-Hold), Entrepreneur, World Traveler, Third-Person Speaker, and Husband. Come hang out with him on Twitter!

27 Comments

  1. Oh man, let me be the first person to say THANK YOU BRANDON! What a great piece of information. This month, we are closing on 2 rentals and this will be a very valuable tool. Thanks for the great detail!

  2. Wow! I didn’t know about this. I upload most of our postings from Postlets and our office uploads them from our online property management software. According to your article, we’ll need to make some changes to take advantage of this great opportunity.

    Thanks so much, Brandon, for sharing this info. It’s a whole new Craigslist!

    • Brandon Turner

      We’ve just begun experimenting with Postlets, so I’m glad I learned this as well. I wouldn’t wanna be the one listing without a good photo. I’ve noticed I don’t hardly look at Craigslist listings without photos, and I bet a lot of renters are the same way!

  3. Brandon awesome post. Thanks for showing me the cutting edge of evolution of online tools like craiglist. Is there any other new websites or tools that you think a landlord should have in their bookmarks?

  4. Postlets has some competition – Vflyer and Padlister. I prefer Padlister because you can organize open houses and accept RSVPs which include the prospect’s contact info.
    Padlister also has an online rental/credit application. Both features can save a lot of time.

    Postlets and Padlister also do a lot of “syndication”. Syndication gets your ad out to other related websites, like HotPads, Trulia, and Zillow, etc. with no work on your part. So the best ad composing program would link to the most other websites.

  5. Chris Clothier

    Dude…..

    Brandon, this is an unbelievably good article that kind of stunned me when i first read through it. I am so focused on other things that little tips and tricks like this beauty sometimes escape me. Thank you for such a detailed and thorough explanation. It was so good that i have sent it to my entire staff at both management companies in Tennessee and Texas to make sure that everyone is aware and using the data to improve our processes.

    Great stuff –

    Chris

    • Brandon Turner

      Thanks Chris! I have also asked my team (er…well…my wife) to read this as well :) Cause we were doing Postlets without pictures, and I’m sure missing out on some people. Live and learn, I guess! Thanks for the comment sir!

  6. Brandon you are definitely the technology king! I am sharing this with my staff as another tool in the bag. Thanks again for offering unbelievable information to help all us real estate investors.

  7. As usual, nice write-up Brandon ;)

    I just rented out a house in the Seattle area and was surprised at the number of leads that came from Zillow and Trulia vs Craigslist. Zillow has really stepped up their game in the rentals with all their latest acquisitions (Postlets, Hotpads, etc)

    Last year at this time it was the usual Craigslist traffic.. completely different story now. I really love Zillows rental functions and understand why potential tenants are gravitating toward using their platform.

    Craigslist was WAY overdue for the Map Viewer. It was a complete cluster #$&# to try and navigate through all the junk and duplicate postings to find a rental. It’s a vast improvement but I think Zillow is going to dominate this area now.

    Definitely don’t ignore Craigslist but use that Postlets service as the syndication is huge and casts your net much further. And yes, make sure you attach just 1 photo in the CL ad or you won’t benefit from the thumbnail pic.

    BTW, was just in your area not long ago for a razor clam dig at Ocean Shores :)

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Scott – nice! You just convinced me to start advertising my rentals on Zillow and Trulia (Which I haven’t really done!) I’m not sure if the backwards people of Grays Harbor will be using it – but every avenue helps, right!?

      And I don’t understand the appeal to clam digging! Cold – wet – early morning… yet it’s so popular! You’ll have to explain that to me. My wife has been asking me to go for 8 years but I haven’t yet!

      • Hey Brandon-

        Even if Grays Harbor is not that tech savvy and they are not aware of Zillow, Google/Bing love Zillow so they usually come up at least first page for most “rental” type terms — ex; the phrase “aberdeen wa home rentals” is #1.

        Regarding razor clam digging, yes, I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of the winter digs at night — last time we went it was sideways rain + a little hail in the mix, lol. But my father-in-law and wife are really into it and the clams make delicious chowder and are even good pan-fried. The real appeal for me is just getting out of the city for a weekend and driving around on the beach without the crowds ;)

  8. Update:

    Vflyer is now charging $12.95/month, so I’d avoid that. Postlets is still free and automatically generates a Zillow and Hot Pads ad for you. They claim that they are also syndicating to Trulia, but I can’t verify that.

    Another HUGE advantage of the new CL Mapview: you no longer have to be super diligent about renewing your ad on CL. Under the old Listview, all the overposting and spam would swarm your ad and push it down the list so quickly that apartment hunters wouldn’t find it anymore. In Mapview, your ad is shown at its location for 45 days. However, if your ad says it was posted over a month ago, people may not think it’s worth a phone call, either because it’s probably rented, or everyone hates it.

    • Hey Kevin-

      FYI, Postlets does syndicate Trulia but it’s not automatic anymore — you’ll need to tick the Trulia box as it’s not on by default anymore. Also, you’ll have to manually confirm your email with them separately.

      With CL, they will let you “renew” an ad every 48hrs in your account so like you mentioned it’s a good idea to make it appear fresh to potential tenants.

  9. John Fasciana on

    Maybe things have changed on Craigslist since you posted this but your advice doesn’t actually work anymore. In order to have your posting show up in the Map view you need to select the “Show on Maps” box at the bottom of the posting. You can enter a street name, cross street, city or zip code to get a general location and then move the pin on the map to the exact location you want (I’d recommend the entrance to the subdivision, clubhouse, or somewhere close to the property but not the exact location for security reasons)

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