What to Know Before Advertising Rental Property on Craigslist

Pro Tips to Advertise Your Rental Property on Craigslist

With over 190 million monthly users, Craigslist is a FREE place to advertise your rentals. Craigslist advertisement success depends on making it easy for searchers to find your ad, providing them with all the information they need, and letting them contact you easily to schedule a showing.

This blog will walk you through how to craft effective Craigslist ads with eye-catching headlines, detailed descriptions, compelling photography, and strategic metadata use.

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Key Takeaways

  • Craft a headline that directly addresses your target audience and highlights your property’s unique features.
  • Include clear, comprehensive photos of both your property’s interior and exterior.
  • Fill in all the details in Craigslist’s metadata fields to improve your ad’s visibility and appeal.
  • Provide a detailed description of your property, including features, neighborhood benefits, and rental terms.
  • Diversify your advertising efforts using Zillow, Apartments.com, and Facebook Marketplace.
  • Correctly categorize your Craigslist ad to target your prospective tenants.

What is Craigslist?

Craigslist is an online classifieds website featuring jobs, housing, items for sale, services, gigs, summaries, and discussion forums. Its unique structure and user-friendly interface make it an ideal platform for landlords and rental property owners to find potential tenants.

Why Choose Craigslist for Rental Advertising?

  • Large Audience: With over 60 million monthly users in the United States, Craigslist is a hub for local classified ads. This extensive reach means your rental property advertisement is likely to be seen by a large audience of potential renters.

  • High Engagement: Statistics show that in 2022, Craigslist received around 250 million monthly visits, with each visitor spending approximately 14 minutes on the site. This high level of engagement increases the chances of your ad getting noticed and responded to.

  • Local Focus: Operating 700 local websites across 70 countries, Craigslist is organized by city and region. This local focus is particularly beneficial for you as a landlord, making it easier to connect with potential tenants in your area.

  • Free Advertising: As a landlord, cost is always a consideration. Craigslist allows you to post local classified ads for free, making it a cost-effective option for advertising rental properties.

  • Competitive Advantages: Craigslist rentals offer unique benefits compared to Facebook Marketplace and Zillow:

    • Anonymity: You can choose how much personal information to disclose when advertising your rental property.

    • Diverse Listing Options: With more listing options than Facebook, Craigslist provides flexibility in how you present your property.

    • Popular Categories: Known for its effectiveness in vehicle sales and house rentals, Craigslist is a go-to platform for private landlords.

How to Advertise on Craigslist

Follow these steps to list your rental property effectively on Craigslist to find tenants.

Locate Your Area for Craigslist Advertisement:

  • Visit www.craigslist.org.
  • Select the area closest to your property’s location from the main page. This ensures you’re advertising in the correct area.

Select Post Type:

  • Click on “Post to Classifieds,” usually found in the upper left-hand corner.
  • Choose “Housing Offer” as your ad type.
  • Select the appropriate neighborhood to specify your property’s exact location.

Understand Advertising Rules:

  • Ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Law.
  • Avoid potential fines by following this step.

Fill Out the Advertisement:

Enter essential details like price and bedroom count. Provide a compelling title for your property.

In the posting or description box, include details about the property layout. Add comprehensive information about your type of property, including:

  • Number of bathrooms
  • Square feet
  • Special features (e.g., garage, pool)
  • Recent upgrades
  • Lease terms
  • Any other details for potential renters (e.g., valid email address)

Add Images:

  • Click “Add/Edit Images” below the description box.

  • Use professional photos in your listing. Craigslist rental listings with high-quality photos attract more attention.

  • This extra step can significantly enhance your Craigslist for rentals ad.

Review and Post Your Ad:

  • Carefully review your ad for accuracy and appeal.
  • Agree to Craigslist’s terms of service.
  • You’ll be prompted to create an account if you haven’t done this already. Save your login details for future use.

Manage Responses:

  • Be ready to respond promptly to inquiries from prospective renters interested in your apartment for rent.
  • For responses, check your Craigslist email.

Pro Tips for Advertising Rental Property on Craigslist

Capture Attention With a Great Headline

You can increase your rental property’s chances of attracting the ideal tenants by crafting a headline that speaks directly to your target audience.

A well-crafted headline on your Craigslist advertisement is crucial in conveying why your rental property is the ideal choice for the right tenant.

Capture Attention With a Great Headline

  1. Address Your Ideal Tenant: Whether they are students, young professionals, or families, mention them in your headline. This direct approach is key in Craigslist for rental ads, making your property immediately relevant to the right audience.

  2. Describe the Property Type: Use specific terms like house, condo, or apartment. This helps potential tenants instantly visualize and connect with your property.

  1. Emphasize Attractive Features: Highlight what makes your property appealing to your target tenant. For families, focus on space and local schools. For students, proximity to campus is important. These highlights are essential in your Craigslist rental properties ad, ensuring it resonates with those most likely to be interested.


  • Craigslist shows only the first 70 characters of your headline in search results, so make each word count.
  • Focus on the unique aspects of your property rather than details like rent and location, which Craigslist already includes.
  • A concise, attention-grabbing headline is vital to standing out and attracting the right tenants, especially for private landlords advertising Craigslist rentals.
What does a great headline look like on Craigslist? Here are a few headline examples:
  • "Charming Studio in Heart of City - Modern, Bright, Close to Everything"

  • "Family-Friendly 3BR Home - Quiet Neighborhood, Big Garden"

  • "Luxury Downtown Loft - Rooftop Pool, Gym Access, City Views"

  • "Coastal 2BR Retreat - Sea Views, Balcony, Steps from Beach"

  • "Pet-Friendly Suburban Townhouse - Fenced Yard, Near Park"

  • "Sunny 1BR Near University - Quiet, Furnished, Ideal for Students"

  • "Elegant 2BR Condo with Cityscape Views - Prime Location, Secure Parking"

  • "Quaint Cottage in Historic District - Updated, Private Garden"

  • "Modern Studio in Downtown - High-Speed Internet, Walk to Shops"

  • "Spacious Loft - Open Concept, Industrial Design, Central Location"

Include Lots of Eye-Catching Pictures

Make your rental property stand out with a clear, compelling featured image and headline. Craigslist allows you to include up to 24 pictures in your ad, making it easier to showcase your rental property and attract potential tenants.

Here are some tips to capture the best photos for your Craigslist listing:

  • Capture Vacant Units: The ideal time for photography is when the unit is empty, clean, and freshly painted. If that’s not possible, try to minimize clutter for a neat presentation.

  • Showcase the Space: Focus on capturing the essence of each room, including hallways, bathrooms, and storage areas. Avoid zooming in on details. Instead, give a comprehensive view of the space.

  • Interior and Exterior Shots: Include both inside and outside views. Highlight any amenities and local attractions that might appeal to your ideal tenant.

  • Select the Right Feature Image: Choose a photo that best represents your rental, whether it’s the living area, exterior, or a unique feature.

Craigslist doesn’t restrict text in images, so you might consider using a tool like Canva to add descriptive captions or a headline to your featured image. This can further enhance the appeal of your Craigslist rental properties, especially for private landlords looking to attract attention in a crowded marketplace.

Fill in All the Metadata

Your ad’s goal is to be found, generate interest, and make your phone ring. All three of these goals can be achieved with Craigslist’s metadata fields:

  • Detailed Filters: Craigslist allows renters to filter listings by various criteria such as location, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and availability date. Additionally, features like parking, laundry, and housing type can be specified. Fill in as much information as possible to increase the chances of your ad being seen by the right tenants.

  • Metadata for Quick Decisions: Many viewers won’t read your entire ad, but Craigslist compensates for this by displaying the metadata prominently at the top of each ad. This structure allows readers to make quick judgments. Providing complete and accurate metadata can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your Craigslist rental properties ad.

  • Contact Information: Opt to display your email address and phone number for immediate contact. If you’re hesitant about sharing your personal number on Craigslist, consider using a temporary or disposable number from apps like Burner. This step is particularly important for Craigslist private landlords who want to facilitate easy communication with potential tenants.

It’s important to fill out all the metadata fields in your Craigslist ad to make it more visible and appealing to tenants.

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Provide a Detailed Description

Your Craigslist rental advertisement description is key to turning interest into action. After your headline, pictures, and metadata attract prospective tenants, a well-crafted description can persuade them to reach out.

  • Unit Specifications: Start with an overview of the unit. Include the type of home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, rent, and availability date. This information is vital for advertising on Craigslist and helps tenants gauge if your property meets their needs.

  • Selling Features: Describe what makes your rental special. Detail the kitchen appliances, bedroom sizes, bathroom fixtures, hardwood floors, and any scenic views or yard space. This part of your Craigslist rental property ad paints a vivid picture for your ideal tenant.

  • Neighborhood Appeal: Highlight the neighborhood’s perks. Mention public transportation, walkability, and amenities provided by the condo building or HOA. This information is particularly appealing to those looking to advertise an apartment on Craigslist.

  • Rental Terms and Conditions: Clearly state what’s included in the rent and any rules, such as pet policies or smoking restrictions. Emphasize the need for a credit and criminal record check, and specify any required deposits or fees. For Craigslist private landlords, transparency is crucial.

Remember, readability is key. Avoid large text blocks by using headings, short paragraphs, and bullet points. The more appealing your ad is, the more likely you are to find the right tenant on Craigslist.

Don't Limit Yourself to Just Craigslist

By diversifying your approach, you can increase your chances of finding tenants. You can boost your tenant-finding success by using these platforms along with a Craigslist advertisement:

  • Zillow: Widely used by landlords for its extensive reach and rental-specific tools.
  • Apartments.com: A prime destination for those specifically seeking rental properties.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Leverages your social network and its vast user base for local reach.
  • Local Real Estate Websites: These can effectively target potential tenants in your specific area.
  • Rental Property Management Software: Some software offers listing features that streamline the advertising process.

In addition, detailed strategies can help you find tenants faster. Resources like How to Quickly Find Tenants for Your Rental Property can help you reach tenants beyond Craigslist ads.

Post Your Ad in the Right Category

Categorizing your Craigslist rental property ads correctly is crucial. Craigslist’s housing section is divided into several categories, and selecting the appropriate one is essential to reaching your target audience.

Ensure your ad is placed in the right category, whether it’s long-term housing, rooms and shared accommodations, sublets and temporary housing, or vacation rentals. This precision in advertising on Craigslist can improve your chances of finding the right renter for your property.

Final Thoughts

Craigslist is a great free tool for advertising your rental property. Get the most out of it by appealing directly to your ideal renter with a catchy headline, great photography, and detailed description.

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Saad started his career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) working for a top-tier accounting firm. He was responsible for helping audit alternative investment funds. He later worked at a hedge fund where he was responsible for preparing financial statements and implementing new technology. He also ran a successful private tax practice for five years.

After completing his MBA at Duke, Saad joined The Boston Consulting Group to do management consulting. At BCG his experience spanned several industries and growth projects across Pharma, Retail, and Technology companies. His passion for democratizing finances led him to Plaid, a fintech, where he worked with large Banks and Financial Institutions to make finances and money easier for all.
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Pro Tips to Advertise Your Rental Property on Craigslist
What to Know Before Advertising Rental Property on Craigslist