Finding the right tenants for your rental property is one of the most critical tasks you'll face as a landlord. As any experienced income property owner knows, difficult tenants can consume so much time and energy (not to mention cash, if their particular brand of "difficulty" is "not paying rent") that you're better off with a vacant property than you are with the wrong renters.
Casting a wide net with your advertising strategy will give you the best chance of finding responsible, financially stable tenants. With this in mind, here are some good ways to locate ideal renters:
- Word of mouth: Letting trusted friends and family know that you have a rental unit available can be one of the simplest and best ways to find hassle-free tenants.
- Community bulletin boards: Posting attractive flyers in locations where responsible renters are likely to congregate can be an inexpensive and effective strategy for getting the right people interested in your property. Office break-rooms, churches, and upscale grocery stores are all good places to post your property listing.
- Newspaper ads: Placing ads in the print version of your local newspaper is still one of the simplest ways to bring news of your vacant rental property to the attention of a wide, yet targeted, audience. If you live in a large metro area, don't forget that advertising in smaller community or neighborhood newspapers can be a cost-effective, focused way to advertise vacancies.
- Online advertising: There are many ways to advertise your rental property online, from Craigslist, to your local neighborhood blog, to rental listing portals such as RentalHomesPlus.com and Rent.com. With many young professionals (read: "likely renters") conducting an ever larger portion of their lives online, it makes sense to advertise on the Internet.
- Rental agents: Many property owners choose to work with experienced property managers to fill their vacancies, even if they handle all other aspects of managing their properties themselves. Property management companies have systems in place to identify great tenants---systems that they've developed and refined in the course of filling dozens, even hundreds of properties. It's hard to match that kind of experience as an independent landlord.