how to list a rental on craigslist

Updated December 2021

A huge part of being successful as a landlord is to find the best way to bring in the best tenants possible. Do you know how to list a rental on Craigslist so that you can expand your reach?

When you’re trying to find great tenants, you’ll want to list your property in many different places so that you have many applicants to choose from.

Many landlords are interested in the idea of listing on Craigslist because the site is commonly used by renters searching for a new place to live, but they aren’t sure how to use this free platform effectively.

While it isn’t difficult to create a listing, landlords who don’t yet know how to post a rental on Craigslist will find this guide to be an invaluable tool for making effective and punchy ads on a free and forgiving site. Soon, you’ll be able to find out if adding Craigslist listings to your advertising lineup is a good way to boost your business!

A Table Of Contents For How To Post A Rental On Craigslist

Craigslist apartments for rent include listings from property management companies, small rental businesses, and first-time landlords. What do these parties find most effective to include in a Craigslist rental post? Learn more about how to handle your listing today:

What Is Craigslist?

Craigslist is a website where anonymous users can post classifieds to advertise jobs, housing, items for sale, items wanted, community service offers, discussions, and many other services.

This free site allows individuals to create listings where they can customize what they want to share. Additionally, the site is categorized by geographic area, so listings in a particular area can be easily searched. This limits things to ensure visitors get more relevant results.

Why Create A Craigslist Rental Property Listing?

Many landlords question why they should advertise their rental properties on a site like Craigslist. Even though there are many reputable listings and offers on the site, some people view Craigslist as a lower-end place for advertisements. This leads landlords to worry that listing on Craigslist will attract tenants who will only cause trouble.

However, we disagree and feel that using Craigslist to advertise can be a great choice. Here are just a few reasons why:

#1: Bring In More Potential Tenants

One of the best things about listing rentals on Craigslist is that you will likely get more applications for your rental property. This is because many people search this site for rentals, so your listing will get higher viewership.

Even if some of those applications are not very good, that doesn’t matter; you should be screening tenants regardless of where the applications come from. Your vetting process will eliminate the tenants who aren’t a good fit for your properties.

The more applications you have to scan through, the more likely you are to find a tenant who will be great for your property. Limiting where you share your listing to limit what types of applicants you get does nothing more than restrict how many applications you receive.

#2: It’s Free

Another great reason to list on Craigslist is simply that it is free to do so. Listing on Craigslist is pretty simple, and it shouldn’t take you more than 10 or 15 minutes to put a listing together.

This means there is a very low commitment of both time and money when adding your rental properties to the site. Why not post where you might find a great tenant? You have nothing to lose by doing so.

#3: Easy To Use

Potential tenants who might not see your listing anywhere else could see it on Craigslist, and that is because it is a straightforward and intuitive site to use. Renters browsing often look to Craigslist first because of this ease of use. Ensuring that your post will cross their path ensures that you will have a chance to capture their attention while they look for a new place to live.

#4: You Can Stand Out

On Craigslist, the quality of rental listings can vary greatly. In some cities and regions, the listings are very low quality. While this can be a big turn-off for potential renters, it highlights a great opportunity for landlords like you.

If you ensure your listing looks great, it will stand out next to most everything else on the site. This means that more potential renters will be impressed by what your listing has to offer, and that can lead to great results.

This is part of why it is so important to make sure you create a high-quality listing when posting on Craigslist. You want to show potential tenants that you are organized and serious about your work, enabling them to put more faith in what they see and hear from you.

How To List A Rental On Craigslist

Craiglist logo

The main goal of today’s guide is to help you learn how to list a rental on Craigslist. By the end of the guide, you’ll know how to work this type of advertising into your business routine so that you can realize bigger profits.

Step 1: Find Your Area

First, go to Craigslist at www.craigslist.org. From the main screen, navigate to the city or region closest to where your property is located so that you advertise in the correct metropolitan area.

Step 2: Choose Your Post Type

Next, you’ll want to click “post to classifieds,” which should be located on 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 3: Review The Advertising Rules

Real estate advertisement

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

This information is important to ensure that you are not breaking any Fair Housing laws within your advertisement. These laws are very serious, and a violation could cost you more than $15,000.

Step 4: Complete The Advertisement

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

  • Price
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Title of property

Once you’ve added this information and an email address, you will want to fill in the posting box. This box is where you can add all additional information about the rental. We recommend including the following:

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

Step 5: 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 filled out. 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 6: Review & Post

Look over your ad to ensure that everything looks correct. Then, agree to the terms of service. This will take you to a page where you need to create your Craigslist account. Follow the prompts and add the relevant account information. Be sure to keep your information so that you can log in easily later.

Craigslist For Rent: 6 Listing Tips

Simply learning how to post is not enough; you also need to learn how to advertise an apartment on Craigslist effectively! Just making the post won’t always be enough, so learning the best techniques is key.

#1: Post Again

Some landlords post their property and then forget about it. Unfortunately, your listing might not stay active on Craigslist for as long as you think it will. In major cities, posts often expire in seven days. Other areas keep postings active for 45 days. Regardless, you will want to ensure that you repost your property as needed.
Real estate hq pics

#2: Use High-Quality Pictures

No matter where you advertise your properties, the quality of the photos matters. The better the photos, the more applicants you will bring in. Having a larger pool of applicants will help you to be more choosy and find the best tenants possible.

#3: Lead With Your Best Features

When you title your listing, include the most attractive points of your property in the title. This will in turn lead tenants to be more attracted to your property. Add some descriptive words that will help show the character of your property as well.

#4: Make Bullet Lists

Bullet list

Don’t list out all of the information about your property in one long, run-on paragraph. Instead, write an intro and then split the rest of the information out into bullet points so that it can be more easily consumed by potential tenants.

Additionally, consider subdividing the information into multiple, separated bullet point lists. This is easier for viewers to read than one long list of bullet points and allows you to highlight specific details.

#5: Update Frequently

Update your ads frequently to represent the most recent information you have. Renters will appreciate that you are an attentive landlord, making them more likely to consider applying to rent out your property.

#6: Screen, Screen, Screen!

Finally, even after attracting applications through Craigslist, make sure that you still follow through on your complete screening process. Tenant screening is the only way to ensure that you get the right tenants for your properties and meet your rental standards.

If you don’t have a great screening process in place yet, or you feel like you are always overwhelmed by applications, you should consider purchasing a high-quality tenant screening package from RentPrep. These packages make it easy to confirm whether or not an application fits your tenant requirements quickly, easily, and at an affordable price. Learn more about what we offer at RentPrep today.

FAQs: How To Post A Rental On Craigslist

How do I put an ad on Craigslist for an apartment?

Putting an ad on Craigslist for an apartment is very easy, and it’s very common to see listings on Craigslist of apartments for rent by owner. All you need to do is navigate to the region where your rental unit is located, visit the housing section, and then click “post” in the upper right-hand corner.

From there, you will need to fill in all the essential information including the price, rental unit type, unit information, and anything else that you think might be interesting to tenants. You’ll also want to add pictures and ensure that you follow all of Craigslist’s rules along the way.

It’s pretty easy to complete your listing. It’s best to have your listing idea and photos prepared in advance so you can have everything ready to go when you create the post.

Is it free to post a rental on Craigslist?

For the most part, yes. It is free to post a rental listing on Craigslist everywhere except New York City, Boston, and Chicago. In these cities, it costs $5 to post a rental listing. Commercial listings always cost $5 to post no matter where they are located.

Otherwise, the only required cost is whatever it costs for you to take pictures, write up the listing, and post it. Since you will likely already be doing all of these things for other listing locations, most people do not consider Craigslist listings to add any type of overhead.

Craigslist may add posting fees to other major cities in the future, but the site does not operate on a for-profit model. Instead, they only collect fees on specific markets to cover the site’s operating costs. This means that the fees will remain minimal if any are added.

Does Craigslist take a percentage of what you sell?

No. While Craiglist does charge a nominal fee to post apartment listings in a few specific cities in the United States, they do not charge any type of percentage for your Craigslist apartments being rented out or for selling something through the site. Any fees collected by Craiglist are collected when the posting is made, and it must be paid even if the posting doesn’t give you any results.

How much does it cost to post an apartment on Craigslist?

In most parts of the United States, posting a residential apartment listing on Craigslist is free. Commercial real estate listings cost $5 all the time. Additionally, apartment listings in New York City, Chicago, and Boston are charged $5 per listing. These fees help to cover the cost of running Craigslist.

Is it safe to rent a house on Craigslist?

Tenants may wonder if it is safe to rent from a listing on Craigslist for an apartment for rent by the owner. This might even cause some prospective tenants to hesitate when considering your listing, so it is a good idea to think about whether or not this is a safe process.

Just as with any rental situation, it’s key that tenants and landlords both carefully review the other party and ensure they feel safe being involved with each other. Additionally, there should always be a valid and legal contract between the tenant and the landlord.

Having this protection in place helps to ensure that everything will be done by the book. If either party breaks the lease terms, the other party can take them to court to resolve the issue.

How do you know if a Craigslist rental ad is real?

It’s important to be aware of major red flags that come with fake Craigslist rental ads. While the ads you will be posting will, of course, be legitimate, you can avoid seeming like a fake ad by being aware of these issues. Additionally, you can help to advise former and future tenants on how to avoid fake ads.

Here are some major red flags to watch out for:

  • Listings with no picture
  • Owner refusing to meet you to tour the property
  • Owner refusing to show you the inside of the property
  • Owner asking for private information beforehand
  • No clear address information even once you are privately messaging
  • Prices that seem too good to be true
  • Listings at different addresses contain the same photos
  • Asking for wire transfers or money orders rather than certified and secure deposit payment methods
  • Asking for money before you see the property

These are just a few of the things that scammers do when using apartment rental listings as their way to steal money from honest people. Make sure that you never engage in these practices, and encourage all prospective tenants to avoid them as well.

Are apartment listings on Craigslist legit?

As with everything on Craigslist, there are both real and fake listings on the apartment pages in each city. Tenants must take their time to review listings carefully to ensure they are not risking getting scammed.

As a landlord creating Craiglist listings, it’s important to be honest and upfront with information to show that your listings are legitimate. This will prevent people from skipping your listings because they seem fake. Take time to create a real, honest listing with pictures so prospective tenants know what the property looks like. These actions will attract attention from great tenants.

What is the best way to list a rental property?

The answer to this tricky question will depend on what you are trying to rent out, where you are renting, and how many vacancies you have to fill. Every landlord eventually develops their own technique for attracting potential tenants, but it can be hard to change things up or get started as a new landlord.

Most landlords find that these practices are some of the most effective ways to list rental properties:

  • On free advertising sites like Craigslist
  • On physical community boards in the area where the unit is located
  • In online groups, such as Facebook groups, where renters may be seeking apartments
  • On rental-specific sites such as Zillow, Apartments.com, and Trulia
  • On social media
  • By posting signs in the yards and areas where the rental is located

As you start marketing, pay attention to where people are responding from most quickly. If you aren’t sure where an application originated, feel free to ask the prospective tenant.

Finding out where your marketing is most effective will allow you to focus your efforts moving forward, to avoid wasting time or money on advertisements that aren’t bringing in any additional applications. There isn’t one specific method that is going to be perfect for every single landlord.

Instead, it’s going to be key that you take some time to review your efforts, consider what has worked best, and refocus your plans as you move forward with listing future properties. Taking time to improve your methodology reduces your overall vacancies, so make sure you do this.

Post Your Craigslist Rental Property Listing And More!

When you post a Craigslist house rental listing, you might be tempted to leave it at that. While learning how to advertise on Craigslist is an important task for landlords, you also need to remember that you should never advertise in just one place.

Advertising in as many places as possible will help you to expand your tenant pool. With a larger pool in hand, you’ll be more able to screen those tenants and find the perfect fit for your property.

The key is that you need to find the right advertising platforms for your business and properties. Once you figure out the best three or four places for your listings, use those resources continuously to ensure your future success!