The Secret to Attracting Quality Tenants

July 18, 2023

Seamus and Krista embark on a conversation aimed at guiding landlords in generating more leads for their property vacancies. They stress the significance of crafting a captivating listing to attract potential tenants.

Krista, emphasizing her expertise as a writer, considers the description and headline of a listing to be paramount in grabbing attention. She suggests that the headline should be concise yet informative, providing essential details like the type of residence and its location. The discussion moves on to the content of the listing description, where Krista advises including not just basic information like rent and square footage but also highlighting unique amenities and features that could appeal to prospective tenants. She underscores the importance of clarity and brevity in the description, recommending bullet points for easy readability.

The conversation shifts to what landlords often overlook in their listings, like pet and smoking policies. Krista points out that including such details helps in filtering leads, ensuring that only those who match the property’s rules express interest. She introduces the concept of a pre-screener, a set of preliminary questions to further vet potential tenants before they proceed with an application, which can be automated through services like TurboTenant.

Seamus highlights TurboTenant’s ability to syndicate listings across major sites and provide landlords with pre-screened leads, emphasizing efficiency in dealing with prospective tenants. They also explore using AI tools like ChatGPT or Bard from Google to generate compelling property descriptions, incorporating local amenities and ensuring adherence to fair housing laws by avoiding language that discriminates against protected classes.

Krista elucidates the critical distinction between prohibiting “smokers” versus “smoking” in a listing, illustrating how the former can lead to fair housing violations by discriminating based on a perceived disability. To aid landlords in navigating the complexities of fair housing laws, she recommends TurboTenant’s “Fair Housing for Landlords” course, designed to educate landlords on compliance and avoid potential legal issues.

The dialogue concludes with an invitation for the community to engage further by posing questions or sharing experiences, reinforcing the goal of empowering landlords with knowledge and tools to attract more and better leads for their rental properties.

Video Transcript

Seamus: And I’m joined today by Krista. We’re here to make you a better landlord. Krista, a question we get from our community is how do I get more leads for my vacancy? When you hear that question, what’s your first reaction? How do I get more leads for my property?

Krista: Boom, better listing. If you have a compelling listing, people who are online, who might otherwise be distracted by various pop-ups or other properties, are going to be intrigued, click through, and hopefully see themselves living in your property and immediately submit some kind of information to learn more. That makes a lot of sense.

Seamus: Let’s dive into what makes a good quality listing. What’s the first attribute that comes to mind for you that makes a great listing?

Krista: As a writer, I’m a bit biased. I think the description is one of the most crucial parts. When you have a good description that also includes having a really compelling headline, you need something that’s going to grab people’s attention, especially since the average attention span is only about eight seconds long if you’re lucky. So, you want something that communicates what your property has to offer in a really short way so people are intrigued enough to click in and learn more. Any examples you’d share? Let’s say I have a three-bedroom single-family residence that I’m trying to rent out. Hit me with a headline.

Krista: Oh, maybe “Three-bedroom Single Family Home at 123 Lucky Street near Downtown.” I love that. Alright, so we have a great headline that catches people’s attention. Let’s jump into the actual description itself. What should be in that description?

Krista: There’s going to be the standard information you’d think to include like how much monthly rent is, but you should also pick out details that you think someone would really want to know. So, consider what would you want to know about a property if you’re looking to move in? Well, square footage, number of beds and baths, any kind of amenities, the parking situation could be good, especially in specific locations like college towns. Consider what tenants in your area are looking for and try to model your listing appropriately. Keep it short. Bullet points are going to be your friend here because you want it to be really readable from a glance. Include all of those details as succinctly as possible to show off your property without lying or being hyperbolic.

Seamus: That makes sense because you certainly don’t want people to express interest and become a lead for your property, and then find out that some element of it is not as advertised, right? It’s going to waste a lot of your time, it’s going to waste their time as well. Absolutely. And to that end, do you want to guess what people often miss in their property listing? The price?

Krista: Good guess, but no. What they usually miss are things like pet rules and smoking rules, little details that can really help a lead understand if they’re going to be a good fit for your property and disqualify themselves if they’re not. So, have things like if you allow pets, say something brief about the number of pets allowed, if there are any kind of restrictions, and what kind of fees the tenant could expect if they pursued your property. Similarly, if there are HOA rules or other things that could get missed in your lease, this is a good chance to introduce them to tenants before anything is even signed.

Seamus: You bring up a really good point because I think most people fixate way too much on the number of leads and not nearly enough on the quality of those leads. A listing description can go a long way to making sure that people are self-selecting out when it’s not a good fit for them. It’s going to save you as the landlord a lot of time, and it’s also going to make it so that you are able to give adequate amounts of time and energy to those high-quality leads that have a great chance of becoming your future tenant.

Krista: Absolutely. Another way to do that is to have some kind of pre-screener in the mix. So when I’m talking about a pre-screener, that is a set of questions that you send out to interested leads before they submit an application. This set of questions should give leads the opportunity to, once again, disqualify themselves if it’s not a good fit. So asking things like, “Do you plan on smoking in the property? Do you have pets? How many people are going to live with you? What’s your desired move-in date?” All the details that you would need to just qualify a lead should be gleaned from that pre-screener. And if you have a company like TurboTenant that you’re working with, it can be done automatically, which is really nice.

Seamus: You took the words right out of my mouth for a shameless TurboTenant plug. You create your listing on TurboTenant, we then syndicate that property out to all the major listing sites, and the average landlord is going to get 28 leads back on their property alongside pre-screeners. So that as a landlord, you’re spending the majority of your time dealing with leads that have the best chance of becoming a tenant for you.

Seamus: Exactly. Going back to the property description, I know sometimes getting the creative juices flowing, not all of us are like you and writers, is a little bit challenging. One tool that I’ve found to create a really good property description is some of the new latest AI tools out there, whether it’s ChatGPT or it’s Bard from Google. It’s really easy to go to those services, completely for free, type in those details, make sure you also add the address, and ask for a property description that includes local transportation and local amenities to the area. What’s going to happen is Bard is going to spit out a property description that you can take a lot of inspiration from when creating your own. So that’s a really productive way to use some of these latest AI tools to enhance your property description and not have to worry about things like spelling, punctuation, grammar, all those things that trip me up on a regular basis.

Seamus: Yes, and what I love about that advice is that you can go through, make sure that everything is looking good, looking accurate. You’re going to know your property better than the machine, and you don’t have to spend as much time writing, so you can then revisit the fair housing component of listings.

Krista: So as you’re reading through what Bard has spit out, you want to make sure that there are no references to the seven protected classes from the Fair Housing Act. That way, you are in the clear. You’re not going to risk getting charged up to sixteen thousand dollars for your first offense, and you can feel really confident about what you’re putting out there.

Seamus: That makes a lot of sense and is super important. In our experience from working with our community at TurboTenant, we know that most fair housing violations don’t come because people are being malicious. It comes from just lack of information as to what to do and what not to do.

Krista: Yeah, as an example, one of my favorites to pull out of the bag: Do you know the difference between using the word “smoker” in your listing versus “smoking,” and which one can cost you big time?

Seamus: I’m about to know in about 30 seconds without you telling me.

Krista: Absolutely, you will. So, if you say “no smokers,” you are banning someone based on what is considered a disability through the eyes of HUD. You cannot do that. You cannot say “no smokers” at your property. That usually gives people pause because it’s a very common thing to require. What you can do instead is say “no smoking.” You are prohibiting the act, not the person, and that has you covered in terms of fair housing. For people that hear those sorts of examples, much like I did and think, “Oh crap, there’s probably a bunch of little things that I’m getting wrong,” do you have any suggestions for resources?

Krista: Absolutely, I do. At TurboTenant, we saw that this was a huge area of confusion, and we built a course for our landlord community called “Fair Housing for Landlords.” It goes through an overview of what you need to know about this crucial act to maintain compliance, save yourself money, and avoid the wrath of HUD, which is pretty scary.

Seamus: Well, thank you for sharing some of those tips as to how to get more leads and what makes a great property description. For our community out there, if you have any other questions, please leave them below in the comments. Thank you.


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