Real estate marketing for rental properties – how advertising and photography help reduce days on the market

Property management

If you’re a property owner or current landlord looking to lease your property to tenants, marketing it effectively is crucial to having it tenanted throughout the year.

To achieve this goal you need to have a robust real estate marketing strategy. Why is this? All you need to remember is that every day your rental property lies empty, it’s costing you.

So, what should your real estate marketing strategy look like? Let’s dive in and take a look.

What’s the best way to market your rental property?

To maximise your exposure and coverage, any real estate marketing plan should look to cover some or all of the following bases:

  • Signage outside the property
  • Real estate advertisements in local newspapers
  • Listing on the real estate agency’s website
  • Promotion via the real estate agent’s database
  • Listing on major online real estate sites like domain.com.au and realestate.com.au
  • Real estate flyers
  • Exposure via social media

In the digital era the most crucial component of this will be your online listing, which comprises photographs of the interior/exterior of your property, as well as punchy and engaging ad copy to complement it.

How much does it cost to list your rental property online?

When it comes to listing your property for rent and real estate advertising, the two big online listings platforms are realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.

They are generally considered as the ‘go-to’ platforms to advertise a rental property to the largest available audiences. It’s important to remember that depending on who you choose to advertise with, your costs can vary.

Both are powerful marketing tools if optimised correctly, though differ slightly in audience reach and cost.

Realestate.com.au currently has the edge on audience. In 2016 market research analyst Roy Morganfound that the realestate.com.au website got 4.3 million unique visitors over an average four week period, while Domain averaged 3.1 million.

Realestate.com.au also had the edge in terms of app usage in 2016, recording 1.2 million downloads versus 700,000 for Domain.

How much does it cost to advertise a rental property on Domain?

A standard rental listing on Domain currently costs:

  • 2 weeks – $254.10
  • 4 weeks – $387.20

You can also expect to pay more for a larger ad that appears further up in the listings.

How much does it cost to advertise a rental property on Realestate.com.au?

To list on realestate.com.au you need to be a licensed real estate agent or property manager – so private landlords cannot list on there. Therefore the best route to list your property on realestate.com.au is to go through a real estate agency.

So how much does it cost? What you pay largely depends on which agency you choose to deal with. The cost to the landlord is influenced by what the agency pays. Agencies pay different fees depending on what advertising package they purchase for your property and the location.

Generally there’s a set cost that’s paid for standard listings, giving the agency the ability to post a set amount of listings on realestate.com.au for that price. Any featured, highlighted or premier advertisements that show up higher in search results are then paid for on an individual basis. It’s at this level that prices can become a bit steeper. Agencies will generally include advertising as part of a package, but others will charge a separate cost for this service.

If you are using a property manager or real estate agent to market your property then they are likely to use both Domain and realestate.com.au. This way they ensure they get all possible eyeballs on your listing.

Free advertising options

Gumtree has a ‘Property for Rent’ section where you can list for free – though they do have options for enhanced listings which have a cost attached.

It’s worth a mention that Gumtree isn’t considered a ‘go-to’ destination for tenants, so if you are looking to have your property leased ASAP, realestate.com.au and Domain are your best options.

The power of real estate photography – why is it important?

Tempted to DIY and photograph your own property?

Many landlords think they can make-do with their smartphone, but the results generally speak for themselves. Think grainy, unflattering images that are very unlikely to tempt prospective tenants to make an enquiry, let alone visit an open house.

So don’t underestimate the power of professional real estate photography to help showcase your property. Bear in mind that most prospective tenants are going to be browsing listings online before they make a decision to view your property in person.

This makes quality photos a must. You don’t want to squander the opportunity to make a strong first impression.

Professional photos not only present your property in the best possible way, they also make them more shareable on social media sites.

Hiring a professional photographer isn’t always cheap, but they will know how to make sure all the key spaces in your property – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living rooms, outdoor areas – look their absolute best.

Expect a professional real estate photographer to base their rates on the number of rooms. They may also have a standard package, where you get a certain number of images for a set price.

This could be anywhere from $90 for eight photos of a smaller property, to $125 for 12 photos of a larger home. They can also offer other services, like digitally decluttering your property, and virtual staging – where they add ‘digital’ furniture to your empty property.

Don’t ignore video as a marketing tool, especially for higher end properties that can gain a lot of traction on social media. Here you could pay anywhere from from $225 for a basic 30 second clip, with prices escalating with the length and number of additional features, like voice over, music and graphics.

Having an experienced property manager and agency to look after your property will mean that you won’t have to spend time worrying about photography that gets results.

Photography is usually included as part of an advertising package payable to your agency.

Real estate ad copy for rental properties


And if you think it’s all about the pictures, think again – the words, or copy, that accompany your listing can also help to entice tenants to view your property.

When you choose an experienced and professional real estate company to look after the advertising of your property, they will often use an in-house copywriter or freelancer to write beautiful copy that presents your home in the best way possible.

Real estate copy for rental properties should be emotive, easy to read, compelling and punchy. If you are listing on the two major platforms you have to make the most of the headline of your ad. This is the first step to get people to actually click through to your ad. You don’t have a lot to play with, typically 45 characters or so for a headline.

Look to maximise your property’s most desirable features in your headline, for example: large outdoor entertaining areas, airy spaces full of light, open plan living, New York loft style apartment, family friendly etc. Once prospective tenants click through to your listing you’ll have a little more space to expand on the features you want to highlight.

How can a property manager help?

Let’s be honest, managing a property or an entire property portfolio can be hard, especially if you’re juggling this with working full time. If you think you can manage your property yourself take the time to consider if you’ll have the time. There’s so much more to marketing your property than putting a ‘real estate for rent’ sign up.

For a start there are a range of legal obligations to being a landlord, specifically guaranteeing the safety of your tenants, maintaining the condition of the property and anything else listed in the tenancy agreement.

Each state also has its own legal requirements, which can include organising the tenancy agreement, providing tenants with a copy of the agreement and lodging their bond with the relevant state agency.

There are also the day-to-day practicalities to consider, such as finding the right tenants, communicating with them and responding to their needs. This can all be very time consuming and onerous, especially if you are time poor.

If you have even the slightest doubt, then consider hiring a property manager, who can take care of all this for you. If they do their job properly your tenants are going to be happy, which translates into lower vacancy rates, and a positive return on your investment. A professional property manager can help to:

  • Develop a real estate marketing plan
  • Advertise your property on the appropriate channels
  • Ensure all tenants are screened and checked
  • Be the primary point of contact with your tenants
  • Collect bond and rent payments
  • Manage inspections
  • Deal with routine maintenance requests
  • Communicate with you when necessary

And if you currently have a property manager whose fees are on the high side, or not providing the service you expect, then why not switch to Leasi for a better deal?

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