Postlets vs zumper vs Craigslist for rental listings

22 Replies

hey folks,

I've been using craigslist to post my rentals for years, with largely good results. But I'm wondering if newer web sites/apps likes postlets or zumper, etc. will reach a broader audience. Anyone have experiences with these?

Also, I briefly looked at them and it looked like I must list my phone number.  That's somethign I never do- I only want initial communications with prospective tenants via email. If you have experience with these sites and know if I can use them without listing a tel#, I'd appreciate the details. Thanks!

@Amit M. ,

I use Craiglist, Postlets, and Youtube.

Video of the unit posted on youtube, then cross-posted on Craigslist and Postlets listings have been very successful for me, especially in my recent Lake Merritt posting. I got tenants coming from the East coast coming to work in tech.

People are busy, so giving them a great feel of the home and layout with a video works wonders, IMHO. Postlets may need a phone number, but I think there is an option to display email only. Or just use a throwdown google voice phone number and have the message say to send an email if interest, if you have to use a phone number. Then you can post anywhere, and still only check email.

Postlets should put you on Zillow, but make sure you're on Trulia too. Those are in order after Craiglist with a google search for San Francisco Rental

Postlets worked great for us.  I won't use craigslist anymore for rentals as they seem to bring out all the wackos, at least in my experience.  Still great for used furniture or who delivers mulch, but not for renting your home.  I believe I did list my phone number, so can't help you with that answer.

Hi Amit - 

Just wanted to confirm that Zumper allows you to remove your phone number if you choose to. 

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions at all!


thanks for all that feedback folks!

J. M. do you have any way to assess if the added exposure beyond Craigslist has made a difference for you?  Do you think you attracted people that did not go through CL?

@Amit M. ,


I have not done any specific measure, but I will say that my # of applicants definitely got bumped by postlets and I heard anecdotally that quite a few tenant did hear about it that way. I cannot comment on the quality of tenants from each source, as @Lynn M. pointed out. But I think it definitely varies by area. CL started in the Sunset in SF, and is absolutely (IMHO) the #1 spot for rentals in SF and this part of the Bay Area. Regardless of income from $40K-400K. I would disagree with Lynn's assessment for Bay Area applicants from CL. But she's getting hers filled w/o CL. So there is other demand you're missing outside.


If you only used one site, the only thing I would recommend is a video, along with some good pics. Definitely, CL, put it on postlets, and whatever else you're willing to spend 10 minutes on to increase the amount of exposure for no extra money.. Put on an extra $300/mo for your "trouble" looking through the extra applicants!!!!

I LOVE postlets!!! Honestly I am guilty of not following my own advise and posting on multiple sources any more! I find postlets gets me the traffic and price i desire with the least amount of work!

thanks for all the tips and opinions folks :)

@Brian Coyne so what makes zumper better/different than postlets?

Go ahead, pitch us!

I've had most of my leads via Postlets, and typically that is via Zillow. CL has not appeared to be worth the effort although I typically will at least post an initial ad as Postlets does some of the work for you.

Ha, okay, but only because you asked!

Zumper's core focus is actually our integrated applications & background screening tools. These include an Experian credit report and nationwide criminal / eviction searches. 

Zumper also syndicates to - a missing piece of the postlets syndication network. 

That said, I agree with many of the previous comments - in that you should post to as many places as you deem necessary to get the quality of candidate that you're looking for.  I know many of our customers still post to CL and PL too. 

@Amit M.

 You need a phone number to create an account on Postlets, but you can choose to hide it on the listing as long as you identify yourself as the owner (instead of a property management company).  

J. M.  Postlets sends the listings to Zillow, Trulia, HotPads, Zumper, LiveLovely, etc.  You can opt of the non-Zillow owned sites, but the default is to send it to all of them.

Hope that helps!

@Krista Place that is awesome to know.  Thanks for getting the nity gritty details on that :)

Can I also list just parking spaces/garage (without a housing unit) for rent on postlets?

@Amit M.

Technically you cannot list parking spaces / garages, but I'm sure there are work arounds like saying "garage" for unit number or something.

You are missing alot of traffic by not putting your phone number on CL / PL.  2/3 of day's rental replies for me are now coming through as TXT/SMS and a few phone calls.  My rentals are rent to own to just above blue collar.  Those folks have mediocre phones that run the zillow app or CL app, they then click the TXT the listing button instead of reply via email.  Since they are on their phone and no email pushed to the phone, TXT/SMS works best for these folks.

Before postlets I used zillow with great success and now I use postlets exclusively.  I've found that the applicants I spoke to have only used the websites on postlets to find rentals and because of the media attention to CL have avoided looking there.

I use a google voice phone # during my listing period to attach to my phone #.  I provide the google voice number and it forwards to my phone.  It will keep a seperate voicemail but still accessable from my phone.  It will also text me a voicemail transcript although the technology is not great if the speaker has an accent(half the time I can't translate it myself so i can't be too hard on it!).  After I fill the vacancy i give the tenant my real number and I turn the forwarding service off so i get a bunch of google voicemails/email transcripts for a few days but then it's back to normal!

As of August 28, 2015 these 3 services (Postlets, Zumper, Craigsist) syndicate to:

- Postlets: Zillow, HotPads, Trulia,

- Zumper:, MyNewPlace, WalkScore, FindTheBest,

- Craigsist: Just

Normally it takes 24-48 hrs for listings to be syndicated. In my experience Zillow and Trulia tend to have the highest standards in terms of accepting/rejecting a listing; They tend to reject a listing if another real estate agent has beaten you to it before (That's how they avoid multiple listings for the same address). Zillow also rejects listings for buildings with more than 50 units (Usually luxury condos fall into this category). I tried scraping a list of luxury condos around my area (Boston, MA) and posting them to Zillow via Postlets only to find they all got banned by Zillow because of the 50-unit limit. (They have a program called "Zillow Rent Connect" to basically get managers of 50-unit+ buildings to pay in order to have exclusive right to post the listings, and therefore save the 1k+ broker fee they normally pay) 

Overall the game mechanics of these services can be split in 2 types: A. Craigslist where in order to get exposure one needs to keep posting constantly to avoid getting "buried" by new ads, and B. Zillow-like portals where posting once suffices provided you're the first to post the listing (and possible don't get "unseated" by a later listing coming from a source with higher priority like MLS).

When creating an account Postlet asks for the property address. Is it listed anywhere on the ad?

I prefer CL since you can provide only the zip code and then provide the actual address only to interested parties

@Brian Coyne Feedback from my end on Zumper. I setup accounts on Postlets and Zumper at the same time. The Postlets account was  activated in 24 hours and my listing was syndicated across the partner sites. 

However even after 4 days my Zumper listing has not been activated. Reaching out to support has not helped either. Might be something you could investigate in terms of where the process is not working.

Thank you BP! I just added zumper to my list of marketing tools.

I usually used postlets (now zillow rental) and CL in the past. I also tried a flat fee MLS listing with a lot of success.

Only issue with that is, even though I pay a flat fee to list it on the MLS, I still have to pay 1/2 month's rent to the agent that brings his/her clients.

Flat Fee MLS is the best option; you get the fastest result without all the solicitation calls that may come in when listed strictly FSBO

Craiglist is still my goto advertising site.  My management software posts my listings to all the other locations too like Zillow, Trulia and the rest as well.  Between those I get plenty of leads.

Before Postlets shut down I put all my wholesale deals (for sale) there and they MOVED and FAST!!

It also helped me with building my buyers list.

Did any of you do the same? Have you replaced Postlets with anything else of quality? I miss it so much!

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