Craigslist is the go-to site in the Bay Area for rental listings, so I have always used that as my sole online posting, then some signs at the property, and some around the neighborhood. Only using CL was my mistake!
This time, I added postlets.com, which is a zillow service. They also post to other rental forums.. I've gotten about 1/3 to 1/2 my leads from messages from this service, and perhaps more importantly, they seem to be higher-quality tenants than those generated from Craigslist. (also, more from out of town, which is a dual-edged sword.)
I will use postlets.com from now on also. Free and quick. And more email responses, which I like! I recommend you do it too! Since it posts to Zillow, and they come up top in real-estate & rental related search results, it's a good free bet..
I use to only use zillow and craigslist. About a 9 months ago I also found postlets and pretty much only use them. I have found over the past 2.5 years craigslist clientele has really decreased in the higher demographics.
PadLister is another on-line free posting sight through which we found a great tenant. It is run by PadMapper. PadMapper takes its data from many online sights, including Postlets.com, Apartment.com, Rent.com, Realtor.com, Move.com, Craigslist.com, ApartmentSearch.com, ForRent.com, etc. . In Portland Oregon there is also HousingConnections.org... many of the large cities have their own on-line housing search sites... such as ColoradoHousingSearch.com, HousingLink.org for Minneapolis and FloridaHousingSearch.org to name a few.
In our town, CL still generates the most leads for us. You do need a really good screening system to handle the onslaught of "all over the board" calls. The more rental criteria I post, the fewer the calls we get as people are self screening. Most smokers won't call and most pet owners won't call, because smoking and pets are deal breakers for us. Also, the statements "we do full background checks" and "we partner with law enforcement" turns off most of the undesirables. Then I have a 5 minute telephone screening, followed by a 30 minute telephone interview prior to showing. Works for us.
big fan of postlets.
I'm a big fan of postlets also. I'm surprised it is not discussed much more on BP.
@marcia Maynard Would you mind sharing some of the key components of your 5 & 30 minute phone interviews? Thanks!
It does sound like some of you guys spent way too many hours to get a unit rented. it takes us about 7 hours/ door to rent a place (plus driving, plus managing repairs)
Here is how:
Place very detailed ad in CR and re-post (two ads of same unit) daily and respond to text emails phones (all we do is tell folks about open house) over 2-3wks = 2hrs
2 open houses for about one hour long each over two weeks =2hrs
Process applications, write leases =2hrs
meet with new tenant to receive deposit sign lease and do property check list=1hours
some factors to help saving time: we had found if we have all of our leases expire at the end of April or end of May than we can get 6-10% more rent end most of the time rent the unit BEFORE it is becomes vacant in just two three week of advertizing.
End of Jul lease could work too but we often are out of town at that time.
@Curtis Bidwell Happy to share my screening questions.
The 5-minute screening.....
1. How did you hear about the property?
2. What kind of place are you looking for? What features are important to you?
3. Why are you looking to move at this time?
4. How many people will be living in the residence?
5. Does anyone smoke?
6. Do you have any pets or animals? If yes, what type?
7. Have you ever been evicted or has a landlord ever asked you to leave?
8. What is your current monthly income before taxes?
The 30-minute screening.....
Questions in these categories: Housing Needs, Rental History, Income History, Credit History, Legal History, Miscellaneous. (I'll share that with you later.... gotta run now to take care of some things at an apartment we are turning over!)
I've used Postlets too, and their formatted ads are great to post on Craigslist. Sometimes Craigslist disallows them due to some tagging issue in the code, but most get through. Postlets syndicates to a lot of rental sites as mentioned, but we've gotten nearly all our tenants through Craigslist.
I've found that most tenants don't read - they like the pretty pictures, but rarely get past the rent and number of bedrooms/bathrooms. And sometimes they don't even read that! I've had people call and ask how much is the rent and how many bedrooms - seriously? There's a great thread on BP about the dumb things tenants say when they call, and it's priceless.
When a tenant asks the most basic question which is listed at the top of the ad, I ask right away if they read the ad. Quite often the response is "no". I tell them to read the ad completely, and then call back. That self-screens them without wasting my time. I put certain things in the ad in several sections - beginning, middle, and end (the security deposit and the available date). I don't mention pets in the ad, but I always ask about them when someone calls.
One question I always ask now is "Do you have the full security deposit of $XX?". Sometimes they will say no, and ask about payments. NEXT! I tell them I'll run a background check and do no accept any evictions or anyone with judgments.
I ask about pets and smoking, why are they moving and when can they move. Most of what @Marcia Maynard asks as well.
My best tenants have came from driving by or referral from neighbors...
@J. Martin Good idea.
I have to say i've never used Postlets, although I've heard a lot about it. I never thought I needed anything else than craigslist, but it's good to know that there's something else out there that seems to be getting really good reviews from landlords. Nothing wrong with an increased applicant pool to choose from!
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