19 Rental Advertisement Options to Fill Your Vacancy

How do you fill a vacancy quickly? Discover the best listing site options and helpful tips for creating rental ads that attract attention. We also cover useful strategies for creating appealing property listings and showcasing your rental's standout features.

Nichole Stohler
Last Updated
February 15, 2024
19 Rental Advertisement Options to Fill Your Vacancy

Owning and renting out property can be a profitable business if and only if you're able to keep your units filled with quality tenants. Knowing how to market and advertise your rentals to the right audience helps attract interested renters and quickly fill vacancies when they arise. With countless options for advertising today, from online listings to yard signs, it's tough to know the best approach.

Whether you're here because you're trying to fill a vacancy or you're preparing to list a rental property for the first time, having a rental advertisement strategy will make your job ten times easier. To help you build your perfect strategy, we'll provide tips for creating listings that stand out across various platforms and convert prospects into applicants.

Why you should advertise rental vacancies

In a tight rental market where demand exceeds supply, you may wonder if advertising rental vacancies is even needed. While it's true that the current market gives property owners the upper hand, taking the time to advertise your listings still provides significant benefits:

  • Reach more prospective tenants: Advertising on multiple platforms, including online listings, social media, print publications, and yard signs, casts a wide net and gets your vacancy in front of the maximum number of potential applicants. This increases the pool of renters vying for your unit.
  • Fill vacancies faster: More advertising exposure generates more leads and inquiries about the rental, allowing you to fill it quicker. Faster occupancy means less lost revenue from vacancies.
  • Attract your ideal tenants: Targeted ads allow you to promote your listing to prospects that meet your rental requirements and preferences, resulting in applicants who align with your policies.
  • Lease at market rates: The increased interest and demand enable you to lease the unit at current market prices without offering discounts or concessions. This increases your chances of getting the maximum rental income and security deposit.
  • Minimize vacancies between tenants: Keeping units continuously filled with quality tenants guarantees consistent rental income without gaps or lulls between tenancies. Less turnover means lower advertising costs as well.

Choosing the best advertising platforms

To maximize your rental vacancy's exposure, you can leverage both online and offline advertising platforms. Here are some of the most effective options to consider:

Online listing sites

With so many options for finding rental apartments online, trying to decide which platform to use can quickly start to feel overwhelming. To help you avoid a case of choice paralysis, let's break down some of the most popular sites and what makes each unique.

1. Apartment Finder

Apartment Finder has existed for over 40 years, making it one of the longest-running listing sites. They have listings for millions of rental units across the United States. Apartment Finder highlights current rent specials and promotions to help renters find the best deals.

2. Apartment List

Apartment List aims to help renters find apartments quickly and easily without paying any broker fees or commissions. Their pricing tools and cost calculators allow renters to easily determine affordability based on income and monthly rent.

3. Apartments.com

Apartments.com features listings for large apartment communities and individually listed private rentals. Their Rental Manager tool allows landlords and property managers to conveniently manage their listings across multiple sites from one centralized dashboard.

4. Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the original online classified listing sites. Despite its barebones site design, it remains widely popular for finding local rental listings in cities and towns across America, thanks to its extensive reach and local focus.

5. Doorsteps

Doorsteps emphasizes empowering renters with as much data and information as possible. Their site provides details like average rents, vacancy rates, and market trends for any neighborhood or area you may be considering. 

6. Dwellsy

Dwellsy takes a unique design-oriented approach to rental listings, with high-quality photography and even 3D video tours of units. This makes it easy for prospective renters to visually evaluate your property.

7. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace allows for free listings. The social media platform also provides a unique opportunity to leverage your existing connections and groups to help get the word out about your vacant property rentals.

8. HotPads

HotPads prides itself on listing rentals faster than any other site through unique technology and integration. This makes it great for finding new or pending listings in popular rental markets and areas.

9. PadMapper

If you want a map-based search to advertise your rental, PadMapper should be your go-to site. It aggregates listings from multiple sources and neatly displays them on an interactive map so a potential renter can zero in on specific neighborhoods.

10. Rent.com

Rent.com is an established national rental search site with millions of apartments, houses, condos, townhomes, and other rental options nationwide, all in one place.

11. RentalSource

RentalSource offers access to an extensive database of over 5 million available rental properties. Robust search and filtering tools help tenants refine their options to find the right rental property.

12. RentDigs

RentDigs allows landlords to easily list rental properties directly on its streamlined platform. Its clean interface and simplified process helps attract ideal renters by emphasizing speed and simplicity.

13. Realtor.com

The classic real estate site Realtor.com has an expansive rental property database alongside home sales listings. Major property management companies, as well as private landlords, use this listing service.

14. Trulia

Trulia is part of the reputable Zillow family of sites. It captures rental listings from multiple sources into one place to give renters many options to consider in their search.

15. Walk Score

Walk Score provides neighborhood "walkability" ratings to help renters find apartments in areas where daily errands and tasks don't require a car. This is one of the best listing sites to use if your rental property is close to multiple amenities, such as public transportation or a grocery store.

16. Zillow

Zillow has expanded beyond home sales listings to include rental listings. Landlords can easily list directly on the Zillow Rental Manager tool. Renters are provided a smooth, user-friendly interface to search for properties.

17. Zumper

Zumper focuses exclusively on the rental market, providing advanced data, filters, and search options to help renters find apartments that fit their unique needs and preferences.

Signage and print ads

In addition to digital promotion, on-the-ground advertising in high-traffic areas makes your rental visible to those actively looking as well as passive observers going about their regular activities. Consider top advertising methods that have been around for ages, including:

18. Yard signs

Yard signs are an effective way to advertise your rental property to prospective tenants who live and travel through the neighborhood. Placing an eye-catching "For Rent" sign on the exterior lets drivers and pedestrians know there is an available unit. Even those not actively searching at the moment will take note of attractive and well-kept properties they pass daily on their commute or regular activities.

Compared to the costs of online listings or print promotions, reusable yard signs are an affordable investment into passive promotion of your vacancy.

19. Print ads

Promoting your rental property in local print publications targets prospective tenants right in your area. Neighborhood-focused magazines, community papers, bulletin boards, and newspaper classifieds all ensure your unit gets seen by nearby residents.

Tips for your rental listing

No matter where you advertise your rental vacancy, the actual listing content plays a key role in grabbing attention and securing your ideal tenant. Use these tips when creating your listings to successfully convert website visitors into strong rental applicants:

Highlight property features

Start with highlighting stand out features and amenities like recently renovated kitchens and bathrooms or desirable hardwood floors. If your rental property has spacious outdoor living spaces or any other special details, include these as part of your value proposition to help your listing stand out from the competition.

Use visuals

Use high-quality photos to capture attention when someone first views a rental listing. High quality images give prospective renters their critical first impression of the property.

Consider adding a virtual tour to help renters visualize themselves living in the space — this allows them to digitally view the rental property floor plan and details online prior to scheduling an actual tour of the listing.

Draw attention to incentives

If you offer any special incentives like a move-in discount, 1-2 months of free rent, waived administrative fees, or any other promotional offers, include these in the listing title, description, and photos.

Drawing extra attention to available perks can attract renters and motivate them to act fast and submit their rental applications early to take advantage.

Price competitively

Be sure to research rental rates for comparable active listings in your neighborhood before pricing your unit to make sure you're competitive with similar offerings. You may need to adjust your asking price if it's significantly higher or lower than comparable rentals.

Share screening criteria upfront

Your ad should aim to provide basic applicant screening criteria upfront, including minimum credit scores, income requirements, background check policies, pet policies, occupancy limits, and smoking rules.

Sharing this information in your listing helps attract the right tenant while discouraging those who don't meet your rental requirements. By being transparent about your screening criteria, you can filter applicants effectively and efficiently.

Rental property advertising

Just like rent collection, advertising empty units is part of a landlord's property management duties. Using rental listing strategies across online and offline channels helps reach more renters and reduce vacancy rates.

Focus on crafting ad copy, choosing a rental listing site, outlining criteria, and optimizing your property listings over time.

Putting in work up front to advertise your property will pay dividends, saving you effort, money, and headaches during the tenant search and leasing process. With the implementation of these advertising best practices, you'll attract your next great tenants in no time.

Advertisement for rental house FAQs

Are there any legal considerations I should know when creating rental advertising?

Yes — ensure you comply with fair housing laws, and avoid using any discriminatory language or preferences in your listing.

How often should I update or refresh my rental home advertising?

It's a good idea to periodically update your advertisement, especially if there are any changes to the property or rental terms. This helps your listing remain accurate and relevant to potential tenants.

What are some effective ways to make my rental ad stand out?

Highlight unique features and offer incentives like move-in specials or flexible lease agreement terms. Using eye-catching photos can also make a big difference in helping your listing stand out.

Important Note: This post is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be taken as legal, accounting, or tax advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for such services. Always consult your own legal, accounting, or tax counsel before taking any action based on this information.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

Other related articles

Rental rundown background image
Rental rundown hero image

Whether you’re a property owner, renter, property manager, or real estate agent, gain valuable insights, advice, and updates by joining our newsletter.

Subscriber Identity

I am a

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.