When to post rental on Zillow?

17 Replies

Do you post your rental on Zillow right away or do you wait?

From my previous experience, the most activity for views and inqueries happen in the first few days after you post a listing for rent on Zillow. But, then the longer your rentals sits unleased, those views and inqueries drops.


This probably occurs, I'm assuming, because Zillow lists the rentals by newness. Its like the Google effect, where people look at the first few things google pull and most people never even look on the second page. So, it really helps if your rental is one of the newest rentals available on Zillow and it hurts if the listing is older as it gets pushed back to the 2nd page. With more and more apartments listing their rentals on Zillow, I expect this effect to be even pronounced and for your listing to get lost in the shuffle. 


My rental will be available next year on Jan 1. I'm trying to decide when I should post that listing, either now or after January. 

If I post it now, it'll be new and therefore get views and responses for the next week or two. 

But, after that, with Christmas and all that, I expect the responses to really quiet down for the rest of December until January.  By that point, my listing will be old and won't show up at the top of Zillow. 

Or, should I wait to post it on January on Zillow so its at the top when there's going to be more people looking for a rental in January than December. 


Post Now. if the property will be ready Jan. 1 you will have several prospects that you will be able to sift through allowing you to choose the strongest prospect

The better tenants plan ahead and may need to give notice. If your listing feels stale after a week or two, nothing to stop you from pulling it and editing it and repost....but not sure if that will put you on top as a new listing.

Using the Zillow property manager app I just “renew” my listing every couple of days. I also shuffle the picture order and add new pics. 

They are always in the top 1 or 2 daily “views”

Has anybody had any success with renewing or editing their Zillow listing so it gets bumped up back to the top for newest available rentals?

I tried doing it before, but it didn't work for me so I don't know if I was doing it wrong or if there's no way around it. 

Patrick- did it really bump your listing back to the top?

Or, do you mean that by renewing the listing and shuffling the pictures every few days, then people were still viewing it because they didn't realize it was the same property with a different picture?

If you can show it now, list it now.

@Dana R. did you ever figure out how to do this so that the rental listing gets bumped up to the top?

@Patrick M. do you have any recommendations on this? It seems like 90% of my leads are coming from Zillow but they soon fade after a few days. Being able to post at the top of Zillow would be helpful.

I'm interested in the answer to this as well. It seems like there is some lead time that's required for a listing to show up as new if it's been previously posted. In my experience, if I remove a listing and repost it the next day, two days or even a week later, neither the DOM or position of the listing changes. 

@Alex Smith same for me. I've also had it reappear in the same spot after multiple weeks of the post being removed. 

You only want to advertise a rental property for rent after it has gone through a rent ready renovation & safety check. Advertising & showing rental properties before they have been through a rent ready renovation & safety check creates many more problems than solutions. Rental property showings are most effective when the property is presented to the tenants in it's as-is rent ready condition. This practice cuts down & or eliminates most, if not all confusion & or miscommunications that can occur between the tenants & landlord in regards to the exact condition the tenant can expect the property to be in on move in day. This also eliminates any "he said" or "she said" allegations that some tenants may try to make in an effort to get an upgrade on a kitchen or bathroom fixture when the property was rented to them for a price that doesn't support the cost of an upgrade on some of these fixtures.

Zillow doesn't really work like a message board like Craigslist does where your listing gets lost in the masses if you don't renew it every 48 hours. Emails do get sent out when a listing is added or when there is a price change which is why you may see more traffic at the beginning or if you change the price. There is an option to sort from newest to oldest but I think most people will choose to sort by price.  I usually wait until a property is mostly ready before I post because most people are wanting to view right away. I also don't post directly through Zillow. I use Hotpads because it cross posts to some other sites along with cozy.co and Zumper.  Posting to local Facebook groups every so often is an additional way to up the traffic to your listing.

@Will Gaston I am not seeing how to get it back to the top. Which is strange- I think they must have changed something.

Originally posted by @James Wise :

You only want to advertise a rental property for rent after it has gone through a rent ready renovation & safety check. Advertising & showing rental properties before they have been through a rent ready renovation & safety check creates many more problems than solutions. Rental property showings are most effective when the property is presented to the tenants in it's as-is rent ready condition. This practice cuts down & or eliminates most, if not all confusion & or miscommunications that can occur between the tenants & landlord in regards to the exact condition the tenant can expect the property to be in on move in day. This also eliminates any "he said" or "she said" allegations that some tenants may try to make in an effort to get an upgrade on a kitchen or bathroom fixture when the property was rented to them for a price that doesn't support the cost of an upgrade on some of these fixtures.

I've heard people say you want to get people who are looking 30 or 60 days out for a property to rent and that you want to stay away from people that need a place yesterday as they likely aren't going to be good tenants. How do you reconcile that idea with the need to wait until the property is fully ready to rent before listing it? 

We have a property that we're trying to finish the rehab on and will likely have it ready to rent by 3/1, but if I wait until 3/1 to list it and then I'm looking for someone 60 - 90 days out, that seems like a losing proposition. Any thoughts on that? Am I way off base?

Originally posted by @Jon Mason :
Originally posted by @James Wise:

You only want to advertise a rental property for rent after it has gone through a rent ready renovation & safety check. Advertising & showing rental properties before they have been through a rent ready renovation & safety check creates many more problems than solutions. Rental property showings are most effective when the property is presented to the tenants in it's as-is rent ready condition. This practice cuts down & or eliminates most, if not all confusion & or miscommunications that can occur between the tenants & landlord in regards to the exact condition the tenant can expect the property to be in on move in day. This also eliminates any "he said" or "she said" allegations that some tenants may try to make in an effort to get an upgrade on a kitchen or bathroom fixture when the property was rented to them for a price that doesn't support the cost of an upgrade on some of these fixtures.

I've heard people say you want to get people who are looking 30 or 60 days out for a property to rent and that you want to stay away from people that need a place yesterday as they likely aren't going to be good tenants. How do you reconcile that idea with the need to wait until the property is fully ready to rent before listing it? 

We have a property that we're trying to finish the rehab on and will likely have it ready to rent by 3/1, but if I wait until 3/1 to list it and then I'm looking for someone 60 - 90 days out, that seems like a losing proposition. Any thoughts on that? Am I way off base?

 I would list it at least a month in advance. In my opinion I feel the same way that someone that needs a place to live immediately if they’re not moving from out of the area is a red flag for other issues. The sooner you can list it the sooner you can find a qualified tenant that meets your criteria 

Originally posted by @Jon Mason :
Originally posted by @James Wise:

You only want to advertise a rental property for rent after it has gone through a rent ready renovation & safety check. Advertising & showing rental properties before they have been through a rent ready renovation & safety check creates many more problems than solutions. Rental property showings are most effective when the property is presented to the tenants in it's as-is rent ready condition. This practice cuts down & or eliminates most, if not all confusion & or miscommunications that can occur between the tenants & landlord in regards to the exact condition the tenant can expect the property to be in on move in day. This also eliminates any "he said" or "she said" allegations that some tenants may try to make in an effort to get an upgrade on a kitchen or bathroom fixture when the property was rented to them for a price that doesn't support the cost of an upgrade on some of these fixtures.

I've heard people say you want to get people who are looking 30 or 60 days out for a property to rent and that you want to stay away from people that need a place yesterday as they likely aren't going to be good tenants. How do you reconcile that idea with the need to wait until the property is fully ready to rent before listing it? 

We have a property that we're trying to finish the rehab on and will likely have it ready to rent by 3/1, but if I wait until 3/1 to list it and then I'm looking for someone 60 - 90 days out, that seems like a losing proposition. Any thoughts on that? Am I way off base?

 You never want to show an unfinished product. Wait until it's ready. Then when it's ready you'll show it to people who are typically at the end of their lease & they need to give their landlord a 30 day notice. You are correct that the people wanting to move in the next day are a red flag but people ready to put in their 30 day notice are fine. So you are looking at a wait time of 30-45 days. These are the people you want. Do not rush into it to try to save yourself 2 weeks of vacancy or something. 14-30 days of extra vacancy is completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Look for dollars, not dimes.

You could list it unfinished if you think it would benefit from additional exposure but don't include pictures of any unfinished areas and wait until it is finished before showing it. Include a date in the ad of when you expect the property to be available to view. It's always nice to have good people lined up. A couple times I didn't even need to take pictures.

@Jon Mason I have rented my last 4 units before getting cleared on my final permits. I operate in a small municipality and we handle everything ourselves. So I can assure you, there were some evenings we were up redoing the wiring, putting in molding or tiling a backsplash. I know the inspection schedule and keep tabs on the list to make sure I will be seen when I am supposed to be.

I showed (rented) my most expensive unit to a couple right after it was sheet rocked! They verbally committed and I delivered months later. They were young professionals still living with their parents. Each of my tenants had an eye for what the unit would be- and they love them. I was also determined not to waste a months rent or give up the prime rental time of late spring.

We are redoing one now. We will have it done by spring- but I will not show this one until it is finished- I am not in the same financial place as last time.

Good luck.

If we're doing a rehab on a house, we can list the house as pre-leasing and collect names for a waitlist, but we will not show the house to prospects. Once the house is ready to be shown, those individuals will receive an alert that they can go see the house. Like many have said above, don't show it unless it's ready to be shown. Put your best foot forward. 

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