If you want a prospective tenant’s eyes to widen in disbelief, their mouths to drop open in amazement and your phone to ring incessantly, here’s how to write a killer apartment listing.

It all starts with your headline. This pulls them into reading the rest of the listing. Put yourself in the prospective renter’s place for a minute. What is the clear standout feature of the place? If you’re stuck trying to figure it out, ask your current tenants what they like most about living there.

Whatever it is, express it in very specific terms. You want to create an image in the reader’s head. When people can see themselves doing something, they’re more likely to want to do it. Prospects will see hundreds of ads touting “a great location” — but what makes the location so great? Whatever it is, say it. “Fifteen steps from the ocean,” works far better than “Great location near the water.” Similarly, “Within walking distance to the theater district,” works better than “Close to great entertainment.”

If you’re offering move-in incentives, list them using words that generate images.  Rather than saying “Ask about our move-in special!” say “Two weeks rent is free for the first month.” A few of these strategies are also mapped out in this rental property marketing guide.

Your customer is usually looking for a specific price point, a specific number of bedrooms and a specific number of bathrooms. Always include that information in the headline along with your attractive feature and incentives.

In other words, get all of the key information in right off the bat.

The result should look something like this:

“$2500 sunny 2 bdrm/2bth apartment, 15 steps away from the beach with two rent-free weeks!”

The body of the ad should then amplify the headline while covering deposits, fees, square footage and other pertinent details. You want to highlight the look and overall vibe of the place, while talking up your appliances, parking, pet policy, whatever incentive you’re offering (if any) and a call to action.

Again, your goal is to paint a picture for the reader to get them to imagine living there. To this end, always use energetic language and frame things in the positive.


Here’s an example: “In addition to walking your pet 15 steps to the beach, you’ll love the natural light, luxurious walk-in closets and entertaining in this spacious 1200 sf two bed/two bath apartment with a thoroughly modern kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Your car will be safely parked in a secured garage, which is included free of charge. Move in is easy with the first month’s rent and a security deposit of $2500. Call now to get two weeks of rent for free! You can even say this when you are showing the property. This rental property showing guide goes in depth on what to host open houses like a professional.

You can see yourself doing that—right?

Supporting a description like this with nice photos and reliable contact information should set your phone to ringing in short order.

Now, with all of that said, building people up to be let down by the reality of the place is a recipe for extended vacancies. Everything you say in the ad should be true and readily discernable. While it’s pretty easy to write a killer apartment listing, you have to make sure the place stands up to your description.

Related: 4 Things Landlords Do That Turn Off Potential Tenants

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Ray Wei
Onerent is a rental leasing and management service for the modern owner and renter, managing over 1,000 properties across the San Francisco Bay Area, and Greater Seattle. Onerent offers free real estate education and resources on the Build with Onerent Blog. Find answers to all your legal maintenance finance and leasing questions as well as real estate news that affecting the housing market.


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