Add oomph to your advertisements

With better pictures . . .

The photos in many rental real estate advertisements leave a lot to be desired — dark, empty of furniture, uninformative and devoid of character.

And yet we all know a picture can be a more effective “sell” than a thousand words. whether you are a property manager or an investor, these tips may help find good quality tenants considerably quicker.

Here are some thoughts on getting better pictures:

  • Consider using a professional photographer.  As long as the property stays in similar condition, the photos can be used over and over again. Photos can also come in handy if you ever need to make a landlord insurance claim.
  • Photos of empty rooms can have virtual furniture added, as we discussed in the December issue of the RentCover Report.
  • Invest in a camera with a wide angle lens of 28mm or wider and an external flash.
  • If you’ve got good tenants, take attractive photos of the property during routine inspections. Later, with the tenants’ permission, these can be used in advertising.
  • Take lots of photos to improve your chances that some of them will turn out really well. If your camera has an exposure bracketing feature, use it.  (Exposure bracketing means the camera automatically takes several photos with different amounts of light every time you push the button).
  • Turn the lights on and use the flash if a room is dark.
  • Think about the best features of the home and who the home might appeal to when you’re taking your photos.
  • Don’t automatically choose a photo of the front of the house as your lead picture for an advertisement. If the best feature is the kitchen or the view, consider using those photos instead.
  • Include a minimum of five or six photos with the listing.
More effective words . . .

Good property managers are born communicators but the skills they use so successfully in face-to-face meetings often don’t match up to the advertisements they write. Both property managers and investors alike have an interest in finding tenants as quickly as possible, and the advertisements are the first step.

Without breaking the laws on discrimination, the advertisement needs to be written with the likely tenant in mind.
Here are some real estate advertising tips:

  • Ideally, the headline should tie in with the featured photo and speak to the best benefit the property offers tenants.  What does living in this home have to offer? How will it make the tenant feel?
  • Have a look at your competitors’ advertisements. For example, a recent search of homes to rent in Brunswick, Victoria, revealed the following laudable example: “Amazing views, sunny balcony & lots of space.” Far better than the uninspired “Two bedrooms and study” and more informative than “A beautiful heart.”
  • Ask the departing tenants what they liked most about living in the home — then use the information in your advertisement.
  • In the body of the text, continue to describe the benefits the property enjoys. For example, “There’s an alarm system for your security”.
  • Use direct, simple words designed to appeal to your target market and address their needs and wants.
  • Run the spell check over your text, making sure it’s set to Australian English.
  • Master the apostrophe. It’s (it is) a vibrant area. Its (possessive) kitchen is spacious.
  • Limit the use of the exclamation mark and never use more than one!!!
  • Get feedback — ask a colleague to read over your advertisement.
And a floor plan.

A floor plan can illustrate how a property flows far more effectively than words — whether the living space opens to the garden, the master bedroom is more than a wall away from children’s rooms, or there’s a second living space which could be used as a games room, bedroom, etc.

There are numerous apps you can use to create floor plans without spending a fortune. For example, MagicPlan offers them for $1.50-$2.99 per plan, while subscriptions range from $4.99-$19.99 a month.