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Do’s and Don’ts of Craigslist Rental Listings

When it comes to searching for a new apartment, Craigslist is a go-to resource for many people. However, creating a successful rental listing on this popular platform requires more than just a catchy headline and a few photos. To attract potential tenants and ensure a smooth rental process, it’s important to follow certain guidelines and avoid common pitfalls. Here are some key do’s and don’ts of Craigslist rental listings, as well as best practices to help you create an effective and safe rental listing that yields the results you’re looking for.

Do: Create a free email strictly for Craigslist listings

If you intend to post numerous rental listings, it’s advisable to create a free email account dedicated solely to Craigslist. Doing so would enable you to easily remove the account or discontinue its use without affecting other aspects of your life. One convenient option is an “alias” email address that automatically redirects messages to your primary inbox. If this seems like too much effort or commitment at present, there’s no need to worry. You can always establish aliases later when you feel comfortable doing so.

Do: Provide ample details about the property in the listing

When posting a rental advertisement on Craigslist, it’s crucial to provide comprehensive details about the property. This includes the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as additional amenities such as laundry facilities or parking availability. Of course, you should post the rent and whether or not this includes utilities or any other financial responsibilities of the tenant. Specify whether or not the unit is pet-friendly or any limits on the allowed pets.

Furthermore, it’s advisable to avoid using unfamiliar abbreviations when describing the property. Instead of using “dbl dr,” it’s better to write out “double door.” Prospective tenants are unlikely to understand what “dbl dr” implies unless they’ve previously visited the property. If they haven’t seen the property yet, they wouldn’t know there are two doors, so it’s better to be explicit in your description.

Do: Post high quality photos

Including photographs of your rental unit is essential to pique the interest of potential renters and establish credibility. If you don’t have professional images, consider using a cell phone camera or taking quick snapshots with an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera. You could even use the webcam on your computer.

However, it’s crucial not to include too many photographs that are small in size or poor in quality. Overwhelming readers with an excessive number of photos could cause them to lose interest in your listing.

Do: Provide specific contact information

It’s unreasonable to anticipate potential renters to contact you if you don’t provide them with a phone number, email address, or a response time frame. To avoid confusion, clearly state the details you require from prospective renters, as well as the duration they should expect before receiving a response from you after submitting their application (if applicable).

Do: Check references

It’s essential to ensure that the person you’re considering to rent your property is a suitable fit. To do so, checking references is crucial.

You may have come across instances of landlords being duped by bogus references or individuals who provided false information about their income to secure an apartment. In such cases, not only is your property at risk, but your personal finances are as well. Therefore, it’s crucial to verify the authenticity of references before finalizing any agreements with potential tenants. Don’t delay in checking references and confirm their legitimacy before entering into any contractual arrangements.

Don’t: Share personal information in the listing

If you’re considering renting out your property, it’s advisable to avoid sharing personal information as much as possible. This entails limiting your contact information to an email address that does not include your name and refraining from including phone numbers or other personal details. If a potential renter wishes to contact you, they can do so directly through the Craigslist advertisement.

Google Voice is an excellent solution for renters and landlords seeking to communicate cheaply while maintaining anonymity. By setting up a Google Voice number, you can utilize any area code, regardless of the property’s actual location, and utilize it for all rental communication with potential renters. The best part is that rental applicants won’t be aware of the identity of the person they’re calling.

Don’t: Request sensitive information on a rental application or via email

It’s not recommended to request social security numbers or credit card information on a rental application. Instead, consider utilizing a secure online platform such as ApplyConnect to collect applications. Doing so will allow you to store the information securely and avoid the risk of it being lost in the mail or stolen in person.

While Craigslist is still a popular platform for locating rental properties, there are alternative methods that may prove more successful and less hazardous than posting on the site. If you opt to advertise on Craigslist despite the risks, be sure to take precautions to safeguard your identity and prevent anyone from obtaining your personal information.

It’s also important to note that Craigslist is a more successful platform for more affordable listings rather than luxury or high-income rentals. If your properties lean toward the expensive side, you’re probably better off using other rental platforms.

Elly Johnson stands at the forefront of content research and online branding at Utopia Management. As the Content Marketing Manager, she delves deep into understanding local real estate and rental markets, fueled by her passion for travel and keen research skills. Elly is dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about where to reside. A proud alumna of the University of South Florida, located in the vibrant heart of Tampa Bay, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her academic background and extensive travel experiences uniquely position her to provide insights that resonate with diverse audiences.

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