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Finding tenants

Advertising property

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It's fair to say that most lettings agents do a better job of advertising property than do private landlords. They have more resources at their disposal and plenty of experience in what works best. It is one of the reasons that many people use them to let their property. However, if you are letting privately, there is no reason that you shouldn't try to mimic their activities as closely as possible, as far as your finances can afford.

Unfortunately, few of the major property websites allow individual members of the public to advertise their property, particularly rental homes. The resources required to manage and administer this make it prohibitive to most of them.

However, there are several dozen websites that will allow you to advertise your property for rent. These include the online version of some classified newspapers, specialist websites that make money from advertising on the site or selling your details, and other sites that charge you a fee for your advertisement. You can access as many of these sites as we could find on the web in our SiteFinder directory. Click here to do so.

Paid-for ads
If you have the budget for it, you can pay for advertisements in national or regional press. The cost shouldn't be too high - under £50 for a few column lines of text. Local paid-for newspapers are probably as high up the newspaper chain that most people should go mind you - advertising in the Sunday Telegraph is probably a bit over the top for most rental properties.

Direct mail
Although you probably won't have a large customer database at your disposal, there is nothing stopping you delivering, handing out or leaving leaflets in suitable spots, though this is less effective with rental property than it is with property for sale.

People always notice a notice board. That is why they are called notice boards. If people didn't notice them, they would be called 'discreet' boards or something, and wouldn't be so popular. You can get one made up pretty cheaply and use it to attract passing potential tenants.

Free ads
Even if you have nothing other than time to spend on your adverting, there are quite a number of activities that you can undertake.

  • Free local press. Many local newspapers will take free adverts from members of the public. Private landlords just about fall into this category.
  • Loot and other specialist classifieds. Most regions of the country have their own classified newspapers that complement the larger national publications of the same type. These are often one of the first places that home-hungry tenants look for property.
  • Shop windows. Most friendly shopkeepers allow you to post an advert in their window, if you have a property that needs a tenant, particularly if you live in the area and know the owner. Stingy shopkeepers may try and charge you though.
  • Public noticeboards. There are all sorts of places where you are permitted to post adverts, which may end up being seen by potential tenants. Libraries, universities, supermarkets, large employers and other institutions all have them, it's just a case of choosing the ones where your target tenants are most likely to see your advert.
  • Local housing offices. Some areas have accommodation centres run by the local council. They will have lists of local lettings agents and private landlords and some may even keep a list of properties that are available to rent. You can contact them and arrange to be included, especially if you are happy to have tenants on housing benefit.
  • Personal contacts. Never forget your friends. Not a bad rule in general, but also not a bad rule when it comes to finding tenants. In fact, family members, past and present colleagues and anyone else you are acquainted with, can all potentially know someone who wants a property such as the one you have on offer.
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