How to Post Your Property for Rent on Craigslist

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Just read a post on Brian’s REI Blog that talked about quickly filling vacancies. His advice was fast, easy, and inexpensive:

Post your vacancies on Craigslist.

I know it seems simple, but it is amazing that landlords and property managers alike, don’t use this tool to its potential. If you want to advertise your apartment or house for rent, this is absolutely the most cost-effective option. According to Alexa, the site is one of the 30 busiest sites in the world! Go where the crowd is, but do it correctly.

Here are a few simple tips about posting a vacancy on Craigslist:

1. Be as detailed as possible

2. Post information about the amenities

3. Post information about the neighborhood. Tell the potential tenant why this location is better than others. Let people know where the property is relative to Major Highways, and landmarks.

4. YOU MUST INCLUDE PICTURES! This is so important. People will look at posts that have images before posts without them. If the unit is ugly, use a pic of the building. If the building is ugly, use an image of the unit. If both are ugly, ignore rule#4!

5. Post as much contact information as possible. Be careful posting your email address, though. I’d recommend using Craigslist’s anonymous emails.

6. Avoid shorthand. You’re not posting in the newspaper anymore. Craigslist and other classified sites let you write as much info as you’d like. Use that ability. Everyone does not know what dw, cac, and other abbreviations mean.

7. Respond as quickly as possible. If someone is responding to your ad, it means that they are actively searching for apartments. If you don’t get to them, someone else will!

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 850,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.


  1. I was trying to convince my completely computer-illiterate landlord to let me out of my last month of rent, so I posted my apartment on craigslist for him, and I had him a new renter in *under 2 hours*. I had 7 appointments scheduled inside an hour, and the first woman to come see it snapped it up.

    In short, craigslist rocks.

  2. I have used Craigslist for several real estate deals, and I love it! I am surprised they are not charging yet on their real estate services section. Until then, take full advantage!

  3. I think they may be charging in certain markets. I remember that they charge brokers for listings in NYC. . . . at some point it would make sense to charge in all of their largest markets. The site has become so important that people will still post there.

  4. Craigs list is a fantastic resource, and so much less expensive than the newspaper! I’ve found that when posting ads on Craig’s list, it’s good to keep re-posting the ad every few days or so — so that it comes up in the top of people’s search results.

    Last time I advertised my rental unit, I used Craigs list, and linked my ad to a webpage with a traffic counter on it — that way I could tell when traffic was starting to slow, and it was time to re-post the ad.

  5. Cristina – It is free to add your apartment. All you need to do is go to the link for the city you’re interested in advertising in, and then click on the appropriate housing link. Once there at the top right you’ll see a link to post an ad. Let me know.

  6. I know I’m a little late to chime in on this — You’re mostly right on; but i have to disagree with the last line of rule #4. If the place is ugly and you don’t post a pic, the person is just going to be diappointed when they come to view the property. More information is always better. If the place has undesirable features, the price should make up for it. But a person should know what they’re getting into. Also, a place would have to be really horrible for there not to be some way to take a somewhat flattering photo or two.

  7. You say what to put in a craigslist ad and how effective the ads are but nowhere does it tell you how to put the ad in craigslist in the first place. I have an apartment for rent and I think I will have to stick with a newspaper ad.

  8. John – Just go to the City page you want to post on and click the “Post to Classifieds” link on Craigslist. From there, select “housing offered” and follow the directions. It is fairy self-explanatory from there. If you want more details, though, let me know.

  9. I have been trying to post my home on craiglist for rent,and i just cant get it done. I have my number once I did my account but still unable to post. Please Help. Thank You


  10. I’ve tried everything to post my home for rent on Craigslist, but it doesn’t show up in searches. I’ve searched “all housing” and still nothing shows. How can I get a confirmation email, wait over 15 minutes like it says, and still not find it? Any ideas would be appreciated. Craigslist doesn’t respond to my inquires for troubleshooting. Thanks!

    • I don’t have any ideas for you on this one, Lindsay. Anytime I successfully post to Craigslist, the post goes live within about 15 minutes and is then found in the searches. Are your posts actually showing up in the daily feed?

  11. I have also been trying to list my home for rent on Craigslist without any luck. I am very computer literate (IT Consultant) and even had a friend (computer software engineer) attempt to post under different accounts. My account continues to state that my post is “active” however, it is not appearing under any search. Upon further investigation, it is starting to look like the only rental adds on craigslist are from Realtors – is there some new Realtor requirement? Very sad to hear it, if so…

    • This is because Realtors often have teams of people posting for them. It is usually their job to ensure that their posts are prominent. The best way to get your ad exposed is having key words that users can easily search for listed somewhere in your ad. Keywords meaning city the apartments is located, what utilites are included, what pets, etc. You don’t have to blatently list them, but again, they should be embedded somewhere within the ad. Then, when you want to check to see if yours came up, try searching or the city, then price and work your way from there. That’s how potential tenants search anyway. <—- Always post as if you were looking for an apartment, what information do you want to see?

  12. I put my ad up several times to rent my unit out. I have had no success with craigslist. I dont know what Im doing wrong. The unit is brand new so the pics arent bad. Its a full amenity building.

    The price is in line with other comparable units in the area.

    Is it not renters season yet? should I get some feedback when it warms up?

  13. I post on craigslist and the only responses I get to them are people trying to sell me services, I never get any leads from people actually looking for a place to live! Wonder how so many people claim they get viable leads, I would love to know what I am doing wrong?

  14. Trying to post apt for rent on craigslist but asking for licence,fee disclosure and name of company listing ad. How do I get around this. I am a landlord trying to rent by owner.

  15. I am interested in trying to rent a commercial piece of property, more specifically a fully-equipped restaurant, ready to move in and take over. What site do I go to since it is not housing? I have never used craigslist before but it was recently recommended to me. Thanks.

      • Help! I need to post a commercial property for rent in the “Western MA” market, but when I click on the “post” link the page offers a selection of everything BUT office/commercial real estate. I literally have been scouring the net for instructions, advice, a clue, for two days. I have not had a problem with this in the past. There ARE commercial listings posted….So What gives? Please check this out for yourself.

    • Be patient, it takes “roughly” 15 minutes to post an ad. There is no such thing as an accurate time when posting. You have to take into consideration that there are thousands of posts being sent at once on craigslist- a free service. It is not instantaneous.

      Things to remember…
      You can’t post the same ad for 72 hours.
      You can renew your ad after 48 hours.
      There are Thousands of other people trying to rent their apartments at the same time as you.

      As long as you stay up to date on your postings, and you have effectively marketed it (good headline, and detailed information), you should have no problem renting.

  16. What if my landlord posts an ad on craigslist while I am still renting the property with the FULL home address listed in the ad??? People have randomly started showing up looking around my house unattended!!

    • TL –
      That’s pretty standard for a landlord to do; people also put signs in their yards when an apartment or rental property is going to be available. If a landlord waits for a property to be vacant to start advertising it, they are going to sit with it vacant for a lot longer.

      That said, the landlord SHOULD indicate in their ads and signs NOT to disturb the current tenants.

  17. Craigslist is easy as pie; plus, they accept up to 8 photographs — and as you noted in rule #4, ads with photos get a lot more traffic. From personal experience, if I’m looking to purchase something posted on Craigslist, I don’t even click on the links without photos.

    One warning, Craigslist is loaded with scammers — if a response to your ad seems too good to be true, it is. In particular, I get frequent emails from people willing to send cashiers checks for the rent and deposit sight unseen. They’re actually so ridiculous, I find them entertaining … But I guess some people fall for the scam.

    Other than than, Craigslist is a win-win: free and easy to use.

  18. If you are newer to Craigslist,remember that you must open the link that they send to your e-mail address click on that link and follow through to “post ad”. If you think you are being filtered out on the real estate ads try posting on one of the other things (political comments, sell something, etc.) to see if it works on those catagories. The “post” thing isn’t as obvious as it might be for non-computer types. I HAVE had problems in the past, but generally found that I wasn’t following the directions exactly (and I do work on a computer for a living).

  19. I manage a vacation rental house in Nicaragua:

    Craigslist is new in Nicaragua, and people are not familiar with its rules.

    There are a lot of ads for hotels, hostals, hostels, guest houses, ecolodges, hotel rooms, etc. posted under “vacation rentals”

    The housing categories in Nicaragua are the same as those in the U.S.:
    apts / housing rooms / shared sublets / temporary housing wanted
    housing swap vacation rentals parking / storage office / commercial
    real estate for sale

    Should they be posting under Vacation Rentals?
    Is there another category for them?

    Should I flag them?
    How many flags does it take for an ad to be removed?


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