how to list a rental on craigslist

To enjoy success as a landlord, one thing you clearly need when your property becomes available is a source of legitimate potential tenants. This process starts with marketing your property in as many places as possible to get it in front of as many interested renters as possible.

While Craigslist tends to have a reputation as a problematic place to market rental property, it’s generally free to use, has a huge audience, and focuses on renters looking for homes in specific geographic areas. These are all significant benefits for landlords.

But how do you list your property on Craigslist in a way that draws the right kind of attention, and how do you protect your identity and content?

Read on for our complete Craigslist guide with step-by-step instructions for creating your property listing and top tips for optimizing your rental property’s appeal.

Table Of Contents: How To List An Apartment On Craigslist

Find essential information on how to list your rental property on Craigslist effectively and safely.

Is Craigslist A Good Place To List Rental Properties?

Is Craigslist A Good Place To List Rental PropertiesCraigslist is now 20 years old, and the site does have a reputation as a platform for scammers too. So, is it really worth listing your rental property there?

It is. Craigslist is free in most cases and easy to use, and you can repurpose content you’ve already compiled for other rental listing platforms.

In return, you can expect a lot of traffic and visibility for your listing. According to Forbes, Craigslist has more than 55 million monthly visitors in the United States. It also attracts potential tenants looking for properties in specific locations.

Moreover, in the current competitive rental market, potential tenants are covering all their bases, which includes Craigslist. If you keep your posts professional, you’ll likely be able to attract qualified tenants for your property.

Of course, you should always do your due diligence and check that potential tenants are legitimate before offering to show them your property.

How To List A Rental On Craigslist

Listing a property on Craigslist is a relatively simple process. The challenging parts are crafting your property description and getting the best photos. These elements will make a real difference when it comes to finding a good pool of potential tenants.

The main goal of today’s detailed guide is to help you learn how to list an apartment for rent on Craigslist. By the end, you’ll know how to work this type of advertising into your business routine.

Step 1: Create A Craigslist Account

To start, you’ll set up a Craigslist account. All you need is a valid email address.

While the site interface protects your personal email from third parties, you may still want to create a designated free Craigslist email to avoid spam, scams, and other issues. Also, only give your first name to protect your identity.

If you do this, you can respond to queries directly from your inbox rather than logging into the Craigslist platform and using their anonymous email function, without risking sharing your identity details.

Step 2: Find Your Area

First, go to Craigslist at From the main screen, navigate to the geographic location closest to your property in order to advertise in the correct metropolitan area.

Step 3: Choose Your Post Type

Next, click “post to classifieds,” which should be in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. From here, you’ll need to select your ad type. Choose “housing offered,” and then select the appropriate neighborhood to specify where the property is located.

Step 4: Review The Advertising Rules

At this point, you’ll see a link that says, “Get the facts and avoid being prosecuted under the Fair Housing Law.” Click this link and read through the various guidance materials that Craigslist has to offer.

This information is essential reading to ensure you’re not inadvertently violating any Fair Housing laws in your advertisement. These laws are very serious, and a violation has the potential to impose a significant fine.

Step 5: Complete The Advertisement

Once you’ve reviewed the housing guidance information, it’s time to fill out the basic information about your rental. There are specific spaces for the following:

  • Rent price
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Title of property (don’t give the exact address)

Once you’ve added this information, you’ll want to fill in the posting box next. This is where you can enter additional information about your rental. We recommend including the following:

  • Number of bathrooms
  • Square footage
  • Special features (i.e., garage, pool, laundry, etc.)
  • Relevant upgrades
  • Relevant lease information
  • Anything else that might entice a renter

Step 6: Add Images

Craigslist allows you to add some images to your rental listing by clicking “Add/Edit Images” underneath the description box that you just completed. Choose appealing, bright images that will encourage renters to want to learn more about your property.

Once you’ve added images, press “Continue” to review your ad.

Step 7: Review And Post

Look over your ad to ensure everything is correct. Then, agree to the terms of service. This will take you to a page where you can create your Craigslist account.

Follow the relevant prompts, and keep your information so you can log in easily later.

Step 8: Monitor Responses

Your post will automatically expire after a certain period. In most major cities, the expiration period is seven days, but it can be as long as 45 days in other areas.

You will need to repost if you haven’t found a tenant before your ad expires. There is a simple repost link, so you don’t need to re-enter all the information, but you can make edits if you wish.

Craigslist will provide an anonymous email for interested parties to respond to your ad, which will be forwarded to the email you entered when you registered. When you reply, you can log into Craigslist and respond from their email server so your response also comes from this anonymous Craigslist address.

Communicate with potential tenants to get their information, organize viewings, and confirm they are legitimate. You can search for people on social media to see if you can verify their identity. Watch out for red flags such as people offering money, offering to sign a contract without seeing the property personally, claiming they are out of town perhaps, or using unusual or unrelated words.

Once you’ve organized a viewing, send the potential tenant through the same application process you use for others you may engage with via your rental management software.

Step 9: Remove Your Post

When you’ve finished your business, removing your post is a good idea so you don’t receive undesired responses and don’t waste apartment hunters’ time.

To delete the post, go to your inbox and search for the automated email you received from Craigslist when you listed the rental.

The email should have a link to edit or delete your post. Follow the link and then choose the option to delete. If you change your mind, you can undelete the post in the same place.

5 Craiglist Listing Tips

5 Craiglist Listing TipsAnyone can post on Craigslist, but that’s only half the goal. You’ll also want to make your post stand out and attract potential tenants while protecting your privacy.

Consider the following Craigslist tips:

#1: Use High-Quality Photos

No matter where you advertise, the quality of the photos matters. High-quality images help people get a feel for your property’s ambiance and will pique their interest.

Consider the following tips for the best property photos:

  • Remove as much clutter as possible. Put toiletries and dishes in cabinets, clean up electrical cords, etc.
  • Remove all personal objects, not just photography but personal touches like artwork.
  • Ensure no people or pets (or evidence of pets) are in your photos.
  • Turn off all electronic screens that appear in the photos.
  • Declutter the outside of the property, too. Remove cars and trash bins before taking photos and mow the lawn.
  • Open curtains and blinds.
  • Choose an attractive focal point for every photo, such as the made bed in a bedroom or a centerpiece in the lounge.
  • Take photos at waist level to avoid distortions.

These tips will not only make the space look bigger, but they will also help potential tenants imagine the property as “their home” rather than someone else’s.

#2: Lead With Your Rental’s Best Features

Potential tenants looking at scores or even hundreds of property listings are probably skim-reading, so engage them with your first few words. Include any key features in the property title and lead with them into the description.

Aside from location and price, the features that tend to be more critical to renters than others include:

  • Availability — Is the property move-in ready, or is there painting or other touch-ups to be done? Most tenants prefer move-in ready properties.
  • Appliances — Are any appliances included? Many renters don’t want the hassle of buying or moving their own appliances.
  • Safety and security — List any enhanced security features.
  • Parking — Is it available, designated, covered, etc.?
  • Recent upgrades —  Is there a renovated bathroom, for example, or a new kitchen backsplash?
  • Outdoor space — Is there a backyard, patio,  or balcony?
  • School districts — If your property is in a good district, mention applicable statistics. This is not just for parents since this information is generally an important predictor of neighborhood quality.

Make sure these features are evident at the beginning of your listing, as they will encourage potential tenants to stop and consider the property.

Avoid using all capital letters or any exclamation points in your title or description, as these may make your listing appear like a scam.

#3: Make Bulleted Lists

Don’t list all of the information about your property in one long run-on paragraph. Instead, write an intro and then split the rest into bullet points. This formatting makes it easier for potential tenants to skim the ad and mark off items against their own “must-have” checklist.

While you’re probably trying to keep your listings brief, avoid property market abbreviations, like “dbl dr” for double-door garage. Most potential tenants won’t know what shorthand like this means.

#4: Edit And Review Your Post Frequently

Craigslist posts appear based on publication date, with the most recent advertisements shown first. Therefore, making minor edits and updates to your post every day or two, especially if you’re in a busy, competitive area, can help your listing stay near the top of the page.

#5: Check For Scams

Unfortunately, scams on Craigslist and other sites are relatively common these days. As a landlord, your biggest concern may be scammers stealing your property information and photos and using them to create fake rental listings.

You can check for these types of scams simply by doing a reverse image search on your property images to see if anyone else has posted them. If your content has been stolen, you can report the fraudulent post to Craigslist, and they will remove it.

Listing Rentals On Craigslist FAQs

Below are answers to frequently asked landlord questions about listing rental properties on Craigslist.

What are the best practices for taking photos for my Craigslist rental listing?

Sound rental property photography principles include clearing clutter and opening curtains and blinds to make the space seem larger and airier. Ensure no people, pets, or personal belongings are in the photos so potential tenants can better envision the property as “their home.” Take pictures at waist height to avoid disconcerting distortions.

How can I avoid my Craigslist rental listing being flagged as spam?

If you’re posting legitimate listings, your content should not be flagged as spam. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your account is not automatically flagged:

  • Don’t post property listings for different cities from the same account.
  • Don’t post identical content.
  • Avoid language that feels spammy or too commercial.

How can I make my Craigslist rental listing more visible and appealing?

Two things that will greatly improve your Craigslist ad’s visibility and appeal are an attractive headline that highlights key property features and enticing photos that encourage potential tenants to look and go deeper.

Is there a fee for posting a Craigslist rental listing?

Most Craigslist postings are free, but some special listings require a small fee. These include apartment listings in Boston, Chicago, and New York City, which have a $5 fee, and commercial real estate.

Why You Should List Everywhere Possible

Craigslist is one of the many places you can list your available rental property. Ideally, you should list your property in as many places as possible to get it in front of as many eyes as possible. This will help you gather the best possible pool of potential tenants.

While Craigslist does have a reputation for scams, no matter where you get a tenant contact, you should screen all applicants to ensure they are qualified renters and a good match for your property.

With our guide, you can build a list of the best places to share your available rental property.

Note: RentPrep does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, or accounting advisors.