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Nathan Miller

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How To Make the Best Possible Craigslist Ad

Craigslist is an EXCELLENT tool for listing rentals, in fact, it's so excellent I've heard more propery managers say they get more leads from craigslist than from any other source.   Managing my own rentals, I can say the very same thing.   Craigslist is an excellent medium to get the word out about your vacancy.

The solution I want to address today is not to redress how great craigslist is for listings, but I want to show you how to make your listing STAND OUT from the rest.

  • Pictures.   The default craigslist layout is text only, formatted in old style times new roman font.   As a buyer, seeing any ad in the default text layout that craigslist provides turns me off instantly.   Craigslist provides the option of adding pictures; however, they show at the very bottom of the ad, which can often be off the page for people using smaller monitors, laptops, or mobile devices.   They trick is to format your listing in HTML, and include a good image at the top of the page and more within the content to generate interest with the renter immediately.
  • Format.   Again, I'm going to pick on craigslist stock formatting.   It's just text, and no better than a classified ad in the newspaper.   Most listers are unaware they can make their ad better, and therefore that is why most listings on craigslist look so bla.   Craigslist supports HTML within their listings, click here for more info.   The challenge is that most HTML editors these days use CSS and other methods that are not supported by craigslist.   There are services out there such as postlets or vflyer, or your should have support to create a good craigslist ad using your previously entered property information.
  • Details.   Picture yourself as a renter when placing your ad.   Are you going to be more likely to inquire about a property which has a good paragraph or two of details about the property and location, along with good pictures, OR the listing which says little more than the address and price?   Of course the ads with more details get the attention.   You have virtually unlimited space to include all the pertinent info.   Be sure to include the following:

    • Pictures of the following:   Front of house, living room, kitchen, master bedroom.   If they are in good condition, also include the back yard, extra bedrooms, garage.
    • A description should include details about the home, neighborhood, schools, and local activities.   If you accept pets, what kind.
    • Include all the features and appliances included in the property.
    • The lease terms should clearly explain what is required.   For instance, 12 month minimum.
    • Be sure to include contact information for somebody who will answer the phone.   More often than not a renter is going through a list of possible homes, and if the contact person doesn't pick up, they move on to the next listing and often never come back.
  • Next Steps.   Some users prefer to call or visit; however, times are turning towards online interactivity.   It's a great idea to give the prospective tenant a method to apply online, or at a minimum take the next steps in setting an appointment with a click rather than a phone call.

While the points in this article are designed for property managers, the same concepts all hold true for property for sale listings as well, so these tips are equally valuable for agents who are not also property managers.


The author is a founding member of Rentec Direct, a property managers, and a business owner.   Rentec Direct provides which includes ach for landlords, tenant screening, and a marketing module to assist with creating fabulous craigslist ads (totally free).

1 comment
  • Colette Thiel
    Colette Thiel Postlets.com is a great FREE site to help with great looking flyers for craigslist. 
    October 20, 2016
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