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November 13, 2017

Renting your apartment can be a stressful experience. Until you fill the vacancy, there are various holding costs that can eat into your income. Marketing the unit is the only way to find a suitable tenant as quickly as possible. However, there are some marketing costs that you need to keep an eye on while advertising your property.

Marketing Costs

There are various means to advertise your property such as:

1.    Online

2.    Word of mouth

3.    ‘For rent’ signboards at the property

4.    Newspaper ads

5.    Bulletin boards

6.    Realtor services

You can choose to use one method or use a variety of advertising channels to market your property. The sooner you find a tenant, the faster you’ll start receiving your monthly rent. However, it’s important to note that just because one method costs more than the other doesn’t mean it’s more effective. What you spend will depend on the type of marketing you choose.

Free Marketing Resources

Online Advertising - You can list your property on online classified sites like Craigslist, Trulia, or Socialserve for free. These sites attract millions of visitors every month, and allow you to reach a large audience in a very short span of time. You can also advertise on social media networks like Facebook or Twitter. In fact, Facebook provides many nifty options to help you precisely target your audience. For example, you can set your Facebook Ad to be displayed only to people within 5 miles of your property.

Pros - No cost. High reach.
Cons - Lot of competition.

Word of Mouth - You can spread the news about your vacancy the old fashioned way, through word of mouth. You can inform your relatives, friends, colleagues, other tenants, and neighbours about it, as you never know who might be looking for a property. Although it may not give you the wide exposure provided by online advertising, it will help you find quality tenants referred by known people. Similarly, you can also put up a ‘for rent’ sign outside your property so that passers-by will come to know about it, and spread the word within their social circle.

Pros - No cost. Get quality tenants from trusted people.
Cons - Limited exposure.

Low Cost Marketing Channels

Bulletin Boards - You can create flyers of your vacancy and post them on bulletin boards throughout your neighbourhood, including grocery stores, coffee shops, gyms, city hall, community centers. It’s usually free to post flyers on bulletin boards. It will only cost you the ink and paper to print them, whether you do it at a local Fedex center or at home.

Pros - Minimal cost. Less competition. You can reach highly targeted audience who are familiar with your locality.
Cons - Smaller reach, only those who look at the bulletin board.

Average Cost Advertising 

Newspaper - You can always advertise your vacancy in various print media such as local newspapers. It will not only provide a wide exposure to your property but also allow you to reach your target audience in the local community. However, it’s more expensive than the above marketing methods.

Typically, it costs between $50 and a few hundred dollars to post a newspaper ad, depending on the the location (1st page, 2nd page, classified), size, and frequency of the ad. Images may cost extra.

Pros - Less competitive than online advertising. Ability to reach your target market.
Cons - More expensive than online advertising. Will only reach those who read that specific newspaper.

Most Expensive Marketing Tactic

Real Estate Agent - If none of the above options are working for you, then it’s advisable to avail services of a real estate agent. This is the most expensive way to market your vacancy.

A realtor will typically charge you one to two times your monthly rental as their fee, if they’re able to find you a tenant. However, in this case, you can completely leave the job to the real estate agent and don’t have to run around advertising your property. So if you’re pressed for time or urgently need a tenant, then this is the best option. Also, real estate agents are professionals who are experienced in pitching your property the right way to the right people, something we may not be good at, while advertising on our own. Besides, they’ll have good connection

with other realtors and may be able to find you a tenant pretty quickly.

Pros - Experienced professionals do the work for you. They may have access to resources that we don’t
Cons - Have to pay one to two months’ rent, if they find a tenant. 

Wrapping It Up

The type and extent of advertising you do depends on your urgency and budget. You can post an online ad for your rental and get a tenant the next day, or enlist a realtor and wait for 2-3 months. However, it’s important to remember that the focus should be on finding a quality tenant, instead of filling your vacancy as soon as possible. If you don’t screen your tenants properly, you might have to evict them within a couple of months and start afresh.

Author Bio: Sreeram Sreenivasan regularly writes at Fedingo about a wide range of marketing topics. He’s also the Founder & CEO of Ubiq, a cloud-based Business Reporting Platform for SMBs & Enterprises.

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