13 best sites & strategies to advertise a rental property

Filling a vacant rental property can sometimes feel like a race against the clock. With each passing day, an empty unit means lost revenue. Quickly finding a quality tenant requires having a desirable property and effectively marketing it. 

Online listing sites can be powerful tools in your advertising arsenal. Each platform has distinct features and pricing models, offering diverse ways to showcase your property and reach out to prospective tenants.

Consider using traditional advertising methods like leasing agents, signs, and referral programs as well. While they may have a more limited reach than digital platforms, they offer unique advantages and could be very beneficial.

This article reviews the pros and cons of various listing sites and advertising methods so you can craft a marketing strategy tailored to your specific needs and audience. This way, you can increase your chances of filling your vacancies with responsible, reliable, long-term tenants who respect your property.


Listing sites

1. Zillow Rental Manager

Zillow Rental Manager is one of the largest online listing platforms and is a comprehensive tool for simplifying rental property management. Landlords can list properties, screen tenants, sign leases, and collect rent payments online.


  • Syndicates to platforms like Trulia and HotPads to reach a wider audience
  • Provides management tools for screening tenants, signing leases, and collecting rent


  • Additional fee to upgrade to a premium listing


You can post property listings at no cost but it’s unclear how much exposure you’ll get and your listing will likely show up lower in many search results. For enhanced visibility, upgrading to a premium listing is a flat fee of $29.99, which boosts your listing’s exposure for up to 90 days by positioning it higher in search results.

Why use Zillow Rental Manager?

The platform has an extensive reach, syndicating listings to multiple popular platforms like Trulia and HotPads and maximizing exposure to potential tenants. It also offers numerous management tools that let landlords handle everything from tenant screening to online rent collection in one place.

With Stessa, you can syndicate your vacant units to Zillow’s vast network so your listings can get the exposure they deserve. Plus, Stessa’s intuitive dashboard allows you to effortlessly track results across your entire portfolio and process applicants based on your specific criteria, providing a tailored approach to rental property management.

Learn more about how Stessa helps you find, screen, and sign only the best tenants here.

2. Apartments.com

As a platform focused solely on rental properties, Apartments.com offers decent exposure to potential renters through multiple smaller listing platforms, such as ForRent.com and Apartment Finder. By creating a listing on their website, your property automatically appears on their other platforms, expanding your reach.


  • Access to a wide audience through a large user base 
  • Broad coverage from coast to coast


  • High competition from other listings
  • Time and effort required to handle inquiries and responses


Listings are free. An additional paid Premium option is available, and pricing varies depending on the state and market of your rental property location.

Why use Apartments.com?

Landlords have the opportunity to tap into the platform’s network of rental-focused sites, magnifying a property’s visibility. Another advantage is the free listing service, supplemented by an optional Premium feature for enhanced exposure.

3. Craigslist

Craigslist is a long-standing, privately held online platform specializing in classified advertisements, including real estate listings. It operates as a local marketplace, allowing landlords to target potential tenants within specific geographic areas.


  • Potential to draw considerable traffic
  • Increased listing visibility through a community-driven format
  • Usually fast and free to get your listing posted


  • Requires awareness of potential scams or fraudulent inquiries
  • Increased lead management effort to verify authentic responses


The platform is typically free to use, though additional features or services may incur fees, and Craigslist may charge a listing fee for advertising in some markets.

Why use Craigslist?

Craigslist’s locality-specific approach gives you the unique advantage of tailoring your listings and targeting local renters with precision.

4. Realtor.com

Although primarily known for buying or selling homes, Realtor.com is a prominent online real estate platform that also facilitates the listing and advertising of rental property vacancies. Landlords can publish detailed listings to a large, engaged audience of potential tenants.


  • Free to use with its partnership with Avail
  • Rental property listings are syndicated to 12 top rental sites, including Realtor.com and Zumper


  • Competition from other listings
  • Potential for scams or unserious inquiries


Advertising a rental property on Realtor.com is free, and landlords also receive lead management and rent price suggestions.

Why use Realtor.com?

Realtor.com’s strong brand recognition is a significant advantage. As one of the most trusted and widely recognized names in real estate, it attracts a large audience of potential renters. That means your listings may get greater visibility, increasing the odds of finding a suitable tenant more quickly.

5. Rentberry

Rentberry is an AI-powered rental platform designed to simplify property management. It offers a range of services, including property listings, tenant interaction, and a mobile app for on-the-go management.


  • Streamlines tenant communication
  • Offers open bidding where prospective tenants can name their rental price


  • Potential for lower-than-expected rental income due to bidding option
  • Extra cost for enhanced listing visibility


Listing properties is free, and there’s an optional $49.99/month fee for enhanced visibility by syndicating to listing sites like Realtor.com and Move.

Why use Rentberry?

Rentberry distinguishes itself with its AI-powered property listing and web scraping tool, which gathers information from the web to create detailed and appealing listings. The platform has a unique closed-loop rental system, allowing you to manage all tenant interactions, from scheduling tours to collecting rent, in one place.

6. Zumper

Zumper is an online platform for renting and listing properties, promising a seamless experience from search to lease signing. It syndicates to several other platforms like PadMapper, ensuring targeted traffic and reach to active property seekers.


  • Extensive reach to a broad audience of active property seekers
  • Comprehensive tenant screening process


  • Limited features in the free plan


Zumper’s pricing options cater to different needs, from free listings that can reach millions of renters to premium plans with enhanced features like promoted placements. Premium listing prices range from $7.96–$9.90 per listing, depending on the number of listings.

Why use Zumper?

Zumper provides an efficient rental process. Its thorough tenant screening process allows you to find reliable tenants, minimizing potential risks.

7. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is a free-to-use platform where you can advertise rental properties to a vast network of Facebook users in their local area or beyond. The platform allows for detailed property listings, including photos, property specifications, and contact information, making it easy for potential tenants to gather information.


  • Offers the ability to create a dedicated page for your property or use Facebook Marketplace to reach a broad audience
  • Expansive audience reach, including those not actively using traditional property listing platforms


  • Changes in algorithm may affect post visibility
  • Potential for negative comments or reviews
  • Possibility of flaky and unserious responses


Costs range from free (for basic posts and marketplace listings) to varying fees for boosted posts and targeted ads.

Why use Facebook Marketplace?

The platform’s social nature also lets potential tenants share listings within their network, providing an additional layer of organic reach. It also offers a user-friendly interface and direct messaging feature, enabling easy communication between landlords and prospective tenants.

8. Rent.com

Rent.com offers tools to streamline the rental process, including online applications, tenant screening, and customer support. The platform boasts a reach of nearly 50 million home seekers monthly.


  • Wide reach within a vast network of marketplaces
  • Digital tools, such as online applications and tenant screening reports


  • Limited control over lead quality
  • Generates cloaked phone numbers for privacy, potentially limiting direct communication with renters


Rent.com offers a $49 monthly subscription for property owners to advertise, promising 15 leads in 30 days.

Why use Rent.com?

The platform’s unique features include broad listing exposure, extensive marketing tools, and simplified online applications with tenant screening. Additionally, Rent.com offers privacy protection with generated phone numbers and a mobile app for on-the-go management.

9. Rentals.com

Rentals.com is a comprehensive platform helping tenants across the U.S. find their ideal rental home. It provides a variety of services, such as tenant screening, renters insurance, and moving assistance.


  • Broad audience with coverage over multiple cities and states
  • Numerous services for landlords and renters


  • Outsources advertised rental property listings to Rent.com
  • Limited control over lead quality and generates cloaked telephone numbers for landlord contact


Listings get advertised on Rent.com, which charges property owners a $49 monthly subscription with the promise of 15 leads in the first 30 days.

Why use Rentals.com?

The platform provides comprehensive resources, including tenant screening, renters insurance, and moving services, which are convenient for landlords and tenants.

10. Trulia

Trulia is a robust real estate platform under the Zillow Group umbrella. Customers can list, buy, and rent homes while also accessing detailed neighborhood information and real estate market insights.


  • Expansive reach with listings also on Zillow and HotPads, maximizing exposure
  • Unique URL for sharing


  • High competition with other listings due to the site’s popularity
  • Requires signing up with Zillow Rental Manager


Rental listings are created through Zillow Rental Manager. Basic listings are free, while premium listings cost $29.99 for enhanced exposure and a higher search result ranking.

Why use Trulia?

As part of the Zillow Group, Trulia offers broad reach and valuable market insights.


Alternative strategies

11. Signage

An eye-catching sign can outshine typical “For Rent” messages by incorporating vibrant colors, a larger size, high-quality images, modern typography, and a unique layout.

Adding key property features in the sign’s message, such as “2 Bed 2 Bath with Balcony – Available Now!” or “Spacious Studio – Great Location!” can further pique the interest of potential tenants, making signage a tried-and-true strategy for advertising rental properties.


  • Signs are a cost-effective advertising method that effectively targets a local audience.
  • A professionally designed sign can enhance the visibility and credibility of your rental property. 


  • While signs advertise availability, they could also attract unwanted attention, such as from vandals, burglars, and squatters
  • Some municipalities and/or HOAs may have restrictions on placing “For Rent” signs on properties or specific rules regarding size and design.


The cost of a “For Rent” sign can fluctuate depending on size, quality, and where you purchased it. Affordable options exist, such as small, corrugated plastic signs that typically range from $10-20. However, larger, more durable signs made of metal or wood could cost significantly more, potentially exceeding $100.

Why use signs?

Due to their affordability and capacity to attract the attention of local passersby, signs can broaden your prospective tenant base beyond online searchers. A strategic approach to signage could include vibrant colors, large sizes, and detailed messaging that accentuate your property’s features, helping it stand out in a competitive rental market.

12. Referral program for existing tenants

Offering incentives to current tenants, friends, or family members for referring potential renters creates a network of individuals promoting your property. It increases your reach and adds an element of trust since referrals often come from reliable sources, improving the likelihood of securing dependable tenants.


  • Cost-effective
  • Improved pool of prospective tenants due to trusted sources
  • Expanded network


  • Limited control
  • Slow process


When developing a referral program for your rental property, approach it strategically. Be clear about what constitutes a successful referral. Typically, this means the referred individual signs a lease and remains a tenant for a specified period.

For incentives, consider both monetary and non-monetary rewards. Monetary rewards could include a rent deduction or cash bonus; just remember to balance the cost of these incentives with the value of filling a vacancy quickly. Non-monetary incentives like gift cards or utility credits are also enticing.

Why use a referral program?

A referral program for rental properties leverages the trust and networks of your existing tenants, turning them into advocates for your property. It’s a win-win situation where you fill vacancies faster while tenants get rewarded for successful referrals.

13. Hire a local leasing agent

Working with a local leasing agent may be an effective strategy for advertising your rental property and filling vacancies faster. These professionals offer extensive knowledge of the local rental market, have established networks, and are often skilled in negotiation and tenant screening.


  • Local expertise
  • Pool of potential tenants or connections with relocation services
  • Familiar with local laws and regulations


  • Agent fees, which can be a percentage of the rent or a flat rate
  • Potential lack of attention if agent handles multiple properties 
  • Varying service quality between agents


The cost can vary significantly depending on an agent’s services and the local market. Typically, agents charge a flat fee equal to one-half or one month’s rent or a percentage of the monthly rent if they also manage the property. Some agents may also charge additional fees for services like advertising, renewing leases, or handling maintenance requests.

Why use a leasing agent to find a tenant?

Choosing a leasing agent as your partner in the rental process can be a good option if you’re juggling multiple responsibilities or are new to the rental market. This approach is especially beneficial when navigating a competitive market or managing several properties.


The post 13 best sites & strategies to advertise a rental property appeared first on Stessa.

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