It seems like every week a new property listing website comes online touting their high traffic, qualified leads, and millions of listings. Next week they are bought by a competitor and another one pops up. With estimates of 791 to 90%2 of potential renters searching for their next rental online, knowing when and where to post your vacancy is more important than ever.
The question of where can be daunting. When you consider the time and financial resources required to post vacancies online, it’s important to evaluate the return on your investment. We track our email leads by source and Craigslist generates more leads (51%) than all other sources combined. However, we would be crazy to stop there and loose the other 49% of our email leads. At the same time, posting your vacancy on every real estate site available produces diminishing returns. Unfortunately, the solution to achieving peak results changes over time. However, with a little research and planning you can achieve great results. Many sites, such as Trulia and Zillow allow you to syndicate your listing. That means once you’ve posted the vacancy on Zillow.com for instance, they automatically submit it to other listings sites (usually ones they have some sort of relationship with). There is no syndication to Craigslist, but many of the major sites also create a copy and paste Craigslist ad. Posting syndication does have it’s problems. First, the details don’t always translate from site to site. Second, your pictures may or may not make it to the syndicated site. Third, you don’t control the appearance of your listing. While this may not seem important, the curb appeal of your posting is every bit as important as the curb appeal of your property. It’s the first impression a potential renter has.
There is no one size fits all solution. Determining when and where to post your vacancy requires research, consideration of your vacancy type, and staying informed on who is looking where. We have tried syndication with numerous sites and with our management software. Currently we manually post our vacancies on the major sites to insure the quality and accuracy of the information. However, we still use syndication services to post our vacancies to those sites with less traffic. Keep in mind, that effective online posting is dynamic, what works today is not necessarily what will work next month.
1 ©SatisFacts Research (SatisFacts.com) and 30 Lines (30Lines.com)
“Getting Inside the Head of Today’s Online Renter” study, July 2011 .
2 “Best Practices In Rental Marketing”, Zillow Rentals®, Issue 02.10.