Landlording & Rental Properties

3 Ways to Advertise Medium-Term Rentals

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Investing Basics
42 Articles Written
Young couple cleaning and selecting things at they new home.Movi

As many of my Denver real estate clients can attest to, medium-term rentals (aka subletting aka furnished rentals) are a great way to go in terms of investment properties. This is for a lot of reasons, including they attract a good client base, earn good money, and cause less stress than a short-term rental.

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But a hang up for a lot of people is how to find a medium-term renter. That’s why—drumroll—I’m writing this article! It’s actually quite easy to find medium-term renters, and I’ll explain below how I’ve done it.

How to Find Medium-Term Renters

1. Airbnb

Huh? What? Airbnb?

Enemy of all cities and neighborhood associations alike? Yes, that Airbnb.

Hand with house key in foreground, living room with light wood floors, white couch and white shelves in background

When you decide short-term rentals are too much work or your city decides for you, you can still utilize Airbnb as a tool to find medium-term renters. Airbnb allows you to specify minimums for your stay, so in this case, you just move the stay length to 30-plus days on Airbnb.

This is actually our primary resource for acquiring medium-term renters. It has been good to us.

Related: Airbnb, VRBO, & Other Short-Term Rentals: Questions to Ask to Navigate Cities & HOAs

Two caveats on this though:

  1. Airbnb still takes their 3% on the entire stay if you end up booking through the site.
  2. Put anyone that stays for 30-plus days at your property on a proper lease. This will help you avoid any squatting issues. And for this long of a relationship, it’s just good to have it formalized with an outside contract.

2. Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace

Even though I feel like Craigslist is dying a rapid death to Facebook Marketplace, it was/has been good to us for medium-term rentals. It was our primary source for acquiring medium-term renters before it occurred to us that we could still actually use Airbnb.

So, Craigslist is still an option, but I would vet your tenants that come through Craigslist more strenuously. No, we have not had issues with any Craigslist tenants, but we just feel like Craigslist doesn’t have some of the gatekeeping that Airbnb does. Be cautious.

Young couple in love unpacking cardboard boxes at new home moving in concept

Facebook Marketplace also allows you to find renters. A word to the wise: we haven’t used it to acquire renters yet, but everyone and their mother loves it for furniture. I feel like the same would hold true for renters. And yes, in both cases, put these people on a lease.

Related: Here’s Why Medium-Term Rentals Are Good First-Time Investments

3. Paid Sites

FurnishedFinder, Wanderly, and CorporateHousingByOwner are all sites that cater to finding you tenants who want a furnished, 30-plus-day rental. Again, I’ve never used one of these products though. I felt the fees were too high and/or I had no need to move out of my usual resources (Airbnb and Craigslist). But I do know people who have used these sites and been happy with them.

The Bottom Line

Medium-term rentals are a great way to ease your way in or out of short-term rentals. An added benefit is that you get paid more than a long-term renter but with less work than a short-term rental.

Do you have any other questions for me about medium-term rentals? 

Ask me in a comment below. 

Erin Spradlin co-owns James Carlson Real Estate. She loves working with first-time home buyers or sellers because it is fun to help people realize their dreams and loves working with investors because she's a fellow spreadsheet nerd. In addition to working with clients on buying and selling real estate, Erin Spradlin also runs Denver Women Invest, a monthly female investing group (email her if you want in!) and educational classes on Airbnb investing and buying or selling your first home. In keeping with many successful real estate investors, James Carlson Real Estate believes strongly in giving back to the community. For that reason, Erin and James donate a portion of their commission to a charity of their client's choosing on every single transaction.

    Nancy Roth Investor from Washington, Washington D.C.
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Interesting ideas, thank you. I don't know much about this approach. Do you use the same screening tools for applicants? Do you get paid by the week or month? Do you use the same lease as for a standard long-term tenant? Why is it more lucrative?
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey Nancy- it's more lucrative because people will pay more for a furnished rental than they will a non-furnished rental, and obviously less work than a short-term rental where guests are turning over constantly. We do put them on a standard long term lease, but usually for ninety days or something, and we've always set ours up to get paid monthly via venmo.
    Bryan Scott Real Estate Broker from Castle Rock, CO
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hi Nancy, Great article and timely for me. A couple of specific questions for you: 1a) Do you have a good feel for what the premium is for a "medium term rental" as opposed to the typical 12+ month arrangement? 1b) Does this ratio change for 1 month vs. 3 months vs. 6 months? 1c) Is it linear; e.g., Fair Market Rent + 100% for 30 days, FMR + 25% for 6 months, etc.? 2) Are all lease periods; 1 mo, 2 mo, 4 mo, etc., for furnished rentals, or is there any case where you would do an unfurnished rental? 3) Do you run background verification on all, none, or just 3+ month clients, or ? 4) Do you think it might be better to collect rent from a medium term client on a more frequent basis via Venmo, or other auto-pay; e.g., every week for a 30 day client, every two weeks for a 60 day client, etc.? 5) Do you still provide cleaning services and toiletries, etc., like a short-term rental, or how do you handle these nuances? Sorry that "a couple of questions" got a bit carried away. It's just that I am rather immersed into the evaluation stage on this right now, so some of this is very fresh in my head. Thanks for your post and your expertise.
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Hey there... answering the question just 'cause I wrote the article. :) Here we go with answers... 1.) I usually say 1.25-1.5x normal long term rent. 2.) Yes, the ratio does change based on length of stay. It's obviously totally up to the landlord, but I do charge less for less work and a six month renter is less work than a three month renter. 3.) We just only do the furnished rental because we already own the furniture and we're not moving it out. Also, our client base for medium-terms needs the furnished space. 4.) Yes, we run background info. 5.) We actually do collect all of our rents via venmo, and it is a requirement for our tenants to get the app. 6.) No, we do not provide cleaning, toilet paper, etc. We do still pay for cable and utilities, but day to day stuff is totally on them. Good luck. We think it's a great model!
    Meredith Parker Realtor from Austin, TX
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Nancy, Thank you for writing an article that has been missing for so long. I've rented short-term rentals for going on 9 years and have slowly gotten disenamored with it. However, I now have furnished houses to capitalize on. How do you line up the rentals so you don't have vacancy in between tenants? Or is the demand high enough that tenants line themselves up with your vacancy? Is there a formula to calculate how much higher than longer-term rentals can you charge for the medium rentals? Thank you!!
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Haha. I think somehow I confused people with my first comment. Anyway, I'm not answering for Nancy, but I did write the article, so I'll take a stab at this... typically we charge 1.25-1.5x more for a furnished rental than a regular long-term rental. We usually start advertising the space again immediately after it's been booked so that we can try to get the next renter secured before the old one leaves. We start the rent high and then drop it as the move out date gets closer... and we've had decent success with this since our gap periods have not been that large.
    Brad Shepherd Syndicator from Austin, TX
    Replied about 1 month ago
    We've had renters through FurnishedFinder (love those traveling nurses!) and CHBO.com, but you're right, it hasn't felt worth the cost of the listing. Most still come through Airbnb. I had never thought of Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, but interesting idea. I can see why you'd want to vet those leads more thoroughly, because you're exposed without the vetting that those other platforms provide, as well as the insurance that comes with those other sites as well. (I've had to go through Airbnb mediation one time and I was glad they were in the middle.) Right now we have two units where both tenants started at 30 days, and are now going on a year and a half. That definitely has kept it easy, and more lucrative!
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied 29 days ago
    "Right now we have two units where both tenants started at 30 days, and are now going on a year and a half. " Exactly. They usually convert and they are usually easy to have around. I still always double up my insurance even if I go through Airbnb. I think they have conflicting interest, so I just always make sure to have an additional product.
    Cheryl Vargas Flipper/Rehabber from Rohnert Park, CA
    Replied 19 days ago
    Hi Erin Great article! Have you ever opened up your Airbnb calendar for 30 day stays for 2-3 weeks away and wanted to fill the gaps with short term stays? I tried that and couldn’t have a deposit for medium stays and no deposit for short term stays. How to get the deposit worked out for both length stays?
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied 18 days ago
    Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge, the deposit is fixed and cannot be altered with a shorter or longer term stay. (If anyone knows a trick differently, please share it with us.) One thought on this is to remove the deposit, but put in the airbnb notes that an outside deposit will be required...and then collect it through venmo and have it written in the lease. This is a little clunky as a work around, but it is a thought.
    Adam Tafel Real Estate Agent from St. Paul
    Replied 19 days ago
    I've never heard the term "medium-term rentals", but this is exactly what I do. The only difference being that in between 30-90 day stays I'll host a few short ones, 2-7 nights. I still keep my yearly median stay at 30 nights across 7 different properties. I'm able to charge roughly market rent +100% in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, probably because very few people are doing what I do. Currently working on networking with other realtors (to house families between closings), medical staffing companies, and relocation companies. Another interesting aspect of this strategy: most (maybe 75%) of my bookings come last minute! I've been doing this for 5 years, and I still get nervous every month staring at my open calendars. This shifts a bit in the summer, when people plan ahead more, but typically my guests didn't plan on needing short-term housing. Curious about what you use for additional insurance? Although my insurance company is aware of what I'm doing, I'm just not satisfied with their answers. Great tips on the additional sites, checking them out now. And yeah, I've never had to deal with using Airbnb insurance, but retaining a $250 security deposit from them is like pulling teeth. Not looking forward to the day I'll have to use it!
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied 18 days ago
    This is excellent insight since you've been at it for awhile across 7 different properties. Like yourself, we also get nervous about the open gaps and sweat it a bit, but we just keep it expensive until we get closer to the date and drop, drop, drop until someone picks it up. Also, I love the idea of marketing to people between sell and close on the new place. This is a pretty small pool, but definitely one that would benefit from this model as well. So, disclaimer on this: Proper Insurance pays me to say nice things about them, but I also have no problem saying nice things about them. It's who we tell all of our clients to use, and it's who we use. They are Lloyds of London backed and have always had a very specific focus on short-term rentals, but you can also get longer term insurance. What I like about them is that they cover specifically on this service- whereas some of the other insurance companies say they cover but the agents might not really know what they are promising. So, that's who we use/recommend.
    Cathy Nagy
    Replied 15 days ago
    Excellent article and I have not heard the term "medium term rentals" either but I like it. I have heard them referred to as temporary housing or corporate housing. My question is also regarding insurance since most insurance companies only cover long-term (6 months or more). Who does everyone use and what type of insurance coverage on these? Could be a great market for a company because short-term insurance seems unnecessary and long-term wouldn't cover it.