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How to Write Amazing Rental Ads – 8 Rental Ad Tips & 10 Essential Tricks That Actually Wo

How to Write a Rental Ad that Works

When the rental market is hot, EVERYTHING rents fast.  I had that easy breezy experience with my 2 bedroom condo in downtown Ottawa.

Then my wonderful long term tenants had to move out so I thought to myself, no problem, it will only take days to rent out this cool condo.  The rental market is decent in downtown, so it should be no biggie.

After placing a post on the usual sites: Kijiji, Grapevine, and Craigslist, I sat back and waited.

After 1 week

This is how I felt:


Have you ever had that same feeling where you thought the property sells itself?

You’re feeling that the rental price is very fair, so it shouldn’t take long to rent out.  But no matter how many times you repost the ad to the top of the list, it doesn’t do anything.  Your prospective tenants are not emailing you.  You’re afraid that the market is saturated, so you do a bit of research and find out that the vacancy rates are reasonable.  You’re wondering what could be the problem and more importantly, wishing you could do something to fix it.

The problem could be you — your listing is incredibly boring and no one cares to read it.

The typical renter on Kijiji takes less than 3 seconds to scan through dozens of listings and makes an emotional decision to click or not click on your posting.

You need to convince them to click on your posting —> And it is easy to fix, more on that soon.

Before you can fix it, here are examples of what NOT to do.  99% of the rental ad’s look like this – don’t be this boring:

Examples of Boring Headlines:

  1. For Rent – 1 Bedroom Condo $1095

  2. For rent – brand new condo now

  3. Renovated upper duplex

  4. Fully renovated all inclusive

These boring headlines look like everyone else’s.  And there are no details. Renters want to know # of bedrooms, location, availability and most importantly an incentive to click on the ad.

Classic Example of a Terrible Rental Ad:


This terrible ad has no catchy headline, incredibly short description about the property and a blurry photo.

After successfully finding dozens of quality tenants and writing dozens and dozens of rental ads – I’ve created these 8 tips and tricks and 10 essentials things you can do now to create your fantastic ad, get your renter’s attention and more importantly – get you showings:

#1) Create a Catchy HEADLINE that stands out from the crowd. 

Look at headlines from newspapers to get some inspiration, or realtor MLS listings.  But speak to your crowd and be unique with a headline that catches their eye such as: ‘Modern 1 bedroom in trendy Westboro available June’ or ‘New 2 bedroom gourmet kitchen mins from skytrain in XYZ area’

Here is a headline hack:

Short descriptive word about the rental property+ #bedroom + incentive/selling feature + location + availability Here are examples of short descriptive words: luxury, modern, new, spacious, beautiful, amazing, unique, trendy, lovely, very quiet, open concept, fengshui. Here are examples of incentives/selling features: gourmet kitchen, open-concept layout, first month rent free, short-term, executive furnished, free gym, double garage, heated underground parking etc.

#2) Keep it BRIEF + Professional looking with these 10 Essentials 

People are busy and scanning hundreds of rentals ads so keep it concise and brief.  Format it well too. No one wants to read a long laundry list of features of your property that are jumbled together.  As a minimum, make sure you have the following essentials to answer the most common renter questions:

– Rental Price

– Number of bedrooms/bathrooms

– Amenities, Bonus Areas

– Security Deposit/Last Month’s rent (whatever is permitted in your province/state)

– Length of lease

– Move in Date

– Neighbourhood

– Utilities excluded or included (with estimated costs)

– Pet policy

– Contact information

#3) Identify your WALKSCORE:

People want to know if they are close to transit, bike paths and amenities, so identify them if its in your favor!  The higher the score, the closer they are.  Checkout:

#4) Standout with a UNIQUE RENTAL PRICE, round down a few dollars and get more viewings.

Be different with rental prices such as $1199 + utilities/month, $888 + utilities, $1391 + utilities.  It catches the renter’s eye seeing a unique rental price.  

#5) WHY would people want to rent your property? Identify incentives that come with renting the home.

Features that people want and love include storage, parking, washer, fenced in backyard, garden, private deck, free wifi, cable, housecleaning, gourmet kitchen, open-concept, modern finishes, etc. 

#6) WHO would love to rent your place?  Who are your potential tenants, are they students, executives, young professionals or young families? 

You need to know who your audience is to create a rental ad that draws their attention and meets their desires.  Create an image in their head of why they would love to rent your place.  

Do you want to attract young professionals who love living near the beach?  

Do you want to attract people who love to cook and eat out — mention your gourmet kitchen.  

Are you located near a reputable elementary school that offers french immersion?


Post lots of nice pictures of the unit (kitchen, bathroom, living space, bedroom, backyard), and ensure the unit is clean and tidy before posting pictures.  Take pictures with good lighting.

Renters want to see these pictures: bedroom, bathroom, dining area, kitchen, balcony, living room, amenities, and backyard.

Use applications like Typic, Pic Monkey, or Pixlr to edit your photos and make them pop.

Here are great condo pictures:

Nice Wide Angle Condo

New kitchen


Everyone has a smart phone and it takes no time to take a quick video and upload it to youtube.  Why not stand out from the crowd and post a cool video of your rental unit.  

Alternatively, you can upload a series of photos as a slideshow to YouTube with easy to use tools such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.

Here is a sample ad to outline my tips and tricks!

Rental Ad Samples #1:

Headline: Spacious 1 bedroom with Gourmet Kitchen - trendy Glebe available June

Long day at work? Then you’ll want to move into this modern spacious apartment with a touch of luxury for $xx/month all inclusive.

This executive apartment offers a serene place to relax, have fun and truly unwind from a long day of work.  NOT only is it fully furnished with a flat screen tv but it also includes an outdoor eating area with your own bbq.

Enjoy the convenience of condo living with free internet and cable.  Most errands can be accomplished by foot or jump in your car parked underground and head straight to downtown.

With a walk Score of 50 out of an average 56 in the area, this modern condo is very conveniently located to amenities, and recreation.

Additional Bonus Features:

-       Balcony with a view of greenspace

-       Underground Parking

-       Stainless steel appliances

-       Washer/Dryer

-       Ceramic tiles in kitchen and bathroom and laminant throughout the living room and large bedroom.

This condo is also PET FRIENDLY!

For a Virtual Tour: XXX

Contact: XX

Move in Date: XX, minimum 1 year lease, last month't rent required, minimum credit score of 700


What are your rental ad tips?  Did I miss anything?  What works for you? Please add your comments and share below.



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