Rental Listing Headlines that Fill Vacancies Fast

Rental Listing Headlines that Fill Vacancies FastA rental listing title — the ad headline — is critical when trying to find a new tenant. When you have a vacancy to promote, you want your ad to get attention.

It used to be that landlords posted “For Rent” ads in the classified section of their local newspapers for a fee. Then Craigslist came along and popularized free online rental listings. At the time, it was basically an online bulletin board.Now, Craigslist and other online platforms are a lot more sophisticated. They have introduced numerous subcategories to help users quickly find what they are looking for.

For example, if you are looking for an apartment that allows pets, then you can select an “apartment” type and “pet” as search criteria, and the website will present only the matching contenders. That’s a big time saver for renters, but it makes competition more fierce for landlords.

How Not to Choke in Front of Your Prospects

Let’s assume your ad made it through your prospective tenant’s filtering process. Congratulations! Now the online prospect just needs to click on your ad, so you can wow them. Now is not the time for your headline to choke.

Top Amateur Headline Mistakes:

  • Mistake #1: Don’t state the number of bedrooms your rental has in the headline – that information is automatically presented in the subheading. Why say the number of bedrooms twice and clutter up your headline with repetitive information?
  • Mistake #2: Don’t try to screen tenants in the title. For example, don’t say, “For low income only …” That’s just tacky. Who aspires to be “low income?”
  • Mistake #3: Don’t restate your square footage in your title. It’s automatically stated in the subtitle.
  • Mistake #4: Don’t make a call to action in the title, such as “Call Natalie NOW.” Titles are invitations, not court orders.
  • Mistake #5: Don’t use worn out phrases like “must see,” “spacious,” or “beautiful.” These terms have lost their flavor.

Instead, you can edge out your competition with the following simple headline formula:

desirable primary quality + building type + nickname location

Steps to Crush Your Competition

Spend some time thinking about who would be a perfect match for your rental. What size family, where would they work, what are their interests, what problem can you help them solve?

Develop a couple of avatars. Give them names, and make them come alive in your mind. Then use the following system to write a few titles. Your goal is to attract your ideal tenant.

With one avatar in mind, take the following steps:

  • Step 1: List the No. 1 feature that would appeal to your avatar. Is it your two master bedrooms, your infinity pool, or on-site gym? Pick only one feature per ad.
  • Step 2: List your location’s nickname. If you said, “Close to the Med Center,” would your ideal tenant know what you meant?
  • Step 3: Name your building type. Is your rental a cottage, house, apartment, or condo?
  • Step 4: List some interesting adjectives that describe your rental, and try to elicit some emotions. List five words that describe what you are offering. Don’t go with overused descriptors.

Pull the Rental Listing Headline Together:

“Ultra-Quiet Apartment near Med Center”.  This tile follows a (desirable primary quality) + (building type) + (nickname location) sequence.

But if street parking were an issue, you might write: “Quiet Apartment with Off Street Parking near Med Center”

The sequence is not sacred; you can arrange your title components however you choose. What’s important is that you try to include all 3 elements.


When you have a vacancy to promote, you’re in a full-blown war to get attention. That’s why you should not slop through writing your ad’s title. Your title is the virtual front edge of your landlord business; spend some time crafting it.

By having great listing titles you can get an edge on your competition, and that puts you one step closer to renting out your property.

Ideas by Al Williamson


  • Ron Myers says:

    Hi, I like what you have to offer and appreciate your research sounds interesting.
    My question is as a Manager of the property what would that entail as for tenants as well for landlords.

  • Ron Myers says:

    Enjoy your program and interest in this topic.
    Thank-You Kindly!

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