As a DIY landlord it would be a good idea to take out the initial expense and have a professional graphic designer make you a “for rent” sign.  Consider it a marketing asset for your rental property, something you will use throughout the rental property’s life.  However you may ask what is the difference in a custom “for rent” sign as opposed to a generic you can buy at your local stationary/hardware shop.  The difference is that you as landlord can decide what goes on the board, allowing you the opportunity to eliminate tons of future calls from non-qualifying tenants.

Please be aware that when I speak of a “for rent” sign, I’m not just speaking about the physical board.  But also a ‘digital board’, you can advertise your rental property on all kinds of websites and marketing alleys.  But the gist is, whatever marketing alley you choose for your rental property, you will need to create a custom “for rent” sign to get the attention of your correct tenants.

Let’s get started…

1. Imagery

Adding a photo of the property will increase your success with conversion of potential tenants significantly. Most people don’t even bother call/emailing if they don’t have an inclination of what they are getting themselves into.  As such it is also best to have a colour photos, instead of black and white photos.

Remember that you want to make a professional “for rent” sign, thus make sure all aspects of this board is done professionally.  Get a professional photographer to come out and take a few pics of your rental property.   They will ensure the space looks amazing, creating an opportunity for higher LSM (higher financial income) tenants to consider your rental property.

Photography musts:

  • No blurry photos -You want classy tenants, make a classy advert.
  • Keep the space clean
  • Interior Photos – Do not take photos of items that are not included in the rent, such as appliances and furniture. A photography trick is to keep the space relatively empty.  Interior photos have a tendency to showcase the smallest amount of clutter as disastrous.  It is for this reason that your professional interior photographers will take up to half of the items in a room out, rearrange and then taking the photos.
  • Exterior photos –  You will also have to include at least one exterior photo of the property in general, not just the flower garden.  Tenants wants to know what the property looks like from the outside as well, even if it’s a photo of the entire apartment building.

It is also a good idea to take a virtual tour of the property, you can always upload it to YouTube and send potential tenants to have a view, before coming through.  Saving you and the tenants time and effort.

2. Basic Specs of your Rental Property

You would want to include as much specs of your rental property as you can.  This will eliminate non qualifying tenants from even calling, saving you tons of time.

This will include specs such as:

  • Rental Rate
  • External Monthly Expenses, such as water and electricity/gas
  • Security Deposit amount
  • Security Features
  • Parking type
  • No. of Parking
  • No. of Bedrooms
  • No. of Bathrooms
  • Garden Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Smokers Friendly

The key to these descriptions is to allow potential tenants to scan through the advert, but still containing the most important information.  This is done by being concise and to the point, via bullet point lists.  Also keep the advert organised, keep all the yard information together and all the financial information together, est.

3. General Information

Other than the specs of your rental property you would want to include some other general information such as:

  • Date available
  • Length of Lease Agreement
  • Address of the Rental Property – Maybe not the number of the property, but only the street.  This gives potential tenants the opportunity to go have a drive in the neighborhood first.
  • Contact information – It might seem obvious, however this is the very essential information that many landlords forget to mention.  If you are making a “for rent” sign for a bulletin board it would be a good idea to have some tear off piece with your contact information on it.  If you could I would also (very small) include the area/street name and rental rate.  This makes it easy for potential tenants to distinguish between the various rental properties they have seen/considered before.

4. Your Copy writing Skills

You may not be a marketing expert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.  Remember that you are trying to rent your property for the highest possible rate and to the best possible tenant.  In order to succeed in this matter you will have to write appealing copy to attract these  types of tenants.

For example saying the property has doors, floor and windows means nothing.  But saying it is “a Spacious apartment with hardwood floors and large windows”, well this already attracts me.

As an actual copywriter I suggest you write a few descriptions, rewrite, rephrase and mix match.  Take the best of every draft and combine them. You will be surprised by your writing skills.  Otherwise maybe go find yourself a professional copywriter and have them become creative with your rental property details.

Making a proper once off “for rent” sign is an investment in finding better quality tenants, making this task faster and ensuring that you are ready for marketing the moment you are given your 30 day Notice letter.  Be prepared for the future by planning it now.  Otherwise give Mafadi a call, they can always give a hand.


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Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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