Today’s tenant is discerning, tech-savvy, and use online tools to find a house or apartment to live in. According to Zillow, 65% of renters are between the ages of 18-38 and 90% find their new rental through online listing sites.
With so many to choose from, it can be tough for a landlord to decide which website to use for their vacant property. I’ve reviewed over 10 different sites and have narrowed it down to my top three picks. Before we get to the websites, let’s talk about what a rental listing site is and why you should consider using one.
What’s a rental listing site exactly?
Rental listing sites are websites that landlords can use to market their vacant, or soon-to-be vacant property.
Many websites are free for landlords to use and usually covers all aspects of renting out a unit. It’s a one-stop shop for letting landlords create a listing for their property, complete with photos and detailed description, advertise on multiple sites, and allow for prospective tenants to submit an application.
What is the benefit of one of these websites?
The biggest benefit for using this type of site is greater exposure to the renter pool. The old school practice of putting out a ‘for rent’ sign limits your renter pool to whoever happens to drive by.
Even posting on Facebook marketplace is becoming a less popular method to choosing a renter.
The best way for a landlord to advertise their available unit is online where most of the potential renters are looking. However, it would be cumbersome for a landlord to log into individual websites like apartments.com, rent.com, Hotpads.com, etc to make a listing on each individual platform. Instead, choose one excellent rental listing site that will push your listing to multiple places that renters are searching on.
The top 3 websites to use
Zillow Rental Manager
For me, this is the best overall rental listing site to use. I switched to Zillow last year and have used it to find four tenants this year. I had a lot of interest, and multiple applicants to choose from, and even used the platform to have the tenants sign the lease.
Here are the pros and cons
- The platform is incredibly easy to use and navigate. The website walks you through how to create your listing within minutes, allows you to easily upload photos, and even gives you feedback before you activate the listing.
- Markets your listing on multiple popular sites including Zillow.com, hotpads.com and apartments.com.
- Zillow will do the background & credit check. It seamlessly allows the prospective tenant to submit an application, for a low $30 fee, and then performs the background & credit checks.
- Zillow will let you upload your own lease, or create a lease through them, and then send it to your chosen tenants to sign.
- Only the first listing is free, after that it’s $9.99 a week until you deactivate the listing (which isn’t that bad). They have a “premium” listing feature, I’ve used it but haven’t noticed if it is worth the price of the normal fee.
- The lease builder is currently only available in certain states.
This has recently been bought up by realtor.com. This platform is great to use if you want a full property management system. Landlords can continue to use the platform after they find their tenant for repair and maintenance requests, other expenses, and rent payments.
- Known for their thorough background checks and more screening reports than other platforms.
- Straightforward and transparent system for tracking repairs, expenses, and rent credit.
- Can use for tenants to pay the rent
- No mobile app
- A lot of fees for the tenant
- The listing for the landlord is a bit weak & doesn’t have a lot of filter options
Apartments.com (used to be Cozy)
The apartments.com platform now has most of the same features as Zillow rental manager. I closely considered using this website, it would be my second choice.
- Excellent map features for renters
- Landlord can tag their property by neighborhood for a renter looking in a specific area
- Listing allows for more property types: covers houses, multifamily, along with condos and townhouses.
- The platform is easy to use and navigate. The website walks you through how to create your listing within minutes.
- Sends listings out to smaller websites
- App still has issues and isn’t easy to use
As a landlord, using a rental listing website has really simplified the process of finding a tenant, vetting the tenants and then getting them to sign the lease. It’s a great tool for a landlord to have and makes things easy for the tenant as well. There are a lot of websites to choose from, it’s best to find the one that works well for your market and that has the features you need.
All the best,
More from Mary
Mary | Rentals to Freedom (@GetMoneySmarter) / Twitter — twitter.com
I teach how to invest in real estate & achieve financial freedom | Tips on spending less & making more | Get my free guide to buying your first rental👇