Including neighborhood information in rental ads.

Location location location. When I’m trying to rent my apartment, I’m not just trying to sell people on the space, I’m trying to sell them on the neighborhood, too. The last ad that I ran included a list of “neighborhoodhood amenities” — restaurants, coffeeshops, stores, bars, parks, etc., that were within 5-15 minutes walking distance. It helped catch the attention of people who were unfamiliar with the neighborhood, and made my apartment sound like it was right in the center of everything.

I recently found a website that lists that information for you automatically, and gives your location a “walkscore” – a rank between 0 and 100, 100 being th highest.

Rents Rising?

I had a much easier time renting out my duplex apartment last April than I have the previous few times… I had chalked it up to better advertising, cosmetic improvements, and luck. According to an article at hotpads.com, however, perhaps there was something bigger at work — rental vacancy rates (and rents) are turning around, coming out of the five year slump they’ve been in.

Phone skills for landlords

I recently had the opportunity to go apartment hunting for a good friend of mine who is moving in from out of town. The tables had turned, and I got to experience what its like to be on the tenant side of things.

I scoured the newspaper classifieds, printed out some pages from Craig’s list, and wrote down numbers from for-rent signs in the neighborhood. Monday morning, I started making calls.

And realized why the vacancy rate is so high — hardly anyone answered their phones!

Advertisting (and the traffic counter miracle of 2006)

KNOWING WHERE (NOT) TO ADVERTISE
In past years, I’ve found that I get inquiries from much less qualified persons via my for-rent sign and the newspaper. It makes sense — at least for young people, the most gainfully employed you are, the more of your life you conduct online. That, and newspaper ads are so expensive it makes my head spin.

This year, I advertised on Craig’s List , and on the off-campus housing website for the local university. Both ads linked to a page on my own domain, where I included a thorough description, detailed floor plan, nine interior and exterior photos, and a list of trendy neighborhood spots within walking distance.