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Running an ad in a weekly paper

September 8, 2012

With my new purchase and my recent vacancy, I actually had 2 properties available at the same time and on the same street. Typically the sign in the yard is my only form of advertising, but with the double vacancy I decided to run an ad in a weekly paper to get some additional traffic. My plan was to put only one sign in the yard at the house on the corner, then invite the best candidates to look at the other property. In the end, I had my new acquisition rented the day after I closed on it to a candidate I already knew about.

This particular weekly paper has a distribution of about 40k copies each week and is distributed in almost 600 locations. It’s one of those little community newspapers that are FREE. My neighborhood where these rentals are located is unique in several ways. It is near lots of shopping, schools, bus routes, and is very centered in the Dallas area. Just 3 miles from my properties are homes valued from $200k up to $1M range.

Here are some hints and tips I noted as I ran my ad:

Don’t give the address to the property. I think this is obvious, but this would be an invitation for people to break into your vacant house.

Check the distribution. I asked the editor for stats on distribution and they happily provided it with lots of details. I knew about this paper as I had seen it throughout the area (restaurants, dry cleaners, grocery store, etc.)

Run the ad earlier than you think. Some of the store fronts they deliver to will not get the paper right away. With this particular paper if you did not get the ad to them by Wednesday your ad would not run until the next issue. Keep in mind this is your chance to advertise and start getting names and numbers even before your rental is available.

Leave the ad somewhat vague. I did this as I was advertising for two properties. It should also tease them to call you at which time you can start screening right away.

Negotiate the rate for the ad. When I called to place the ad, I ran into a road block right away. Apparently this weekly paper only wanted long term ads. They had a minimum of 13 weeks for an ad and then discounts if you ran 26 weeks or 52 weeks. This explained why there were so few ads for homes for Rent or Sale. I did talk to a manager at the paper and talked her into running the ad for 3 weeks. Total negotiated cost $59.75(the 13 week ad was $17 per week). Just because there are not many Home for Lease ads, does not mean yours won’t work.

Put the rent amount in the ad. If they are looking for a place around $500 per month and yours is $800; then save everyone some time.

Make the place sound great. Your product is probably better than a lot of what is out there.

I ran the ad for 3 weeks and got a total of 8 calls. Given the wide range of neighborhood class within this paper’s distribution, I did get a few calls that were dead ends. However, I got 3 showings and 2 completed applications on good candidates. In the end, I went with someone that had family living in the neighborhood and saw the sign in the yard. Once again, this is how I get 90% of my tenants.  Overall the response exceeded my expectations and I will consider running an ad again in the future.

Anyone else have any luck with these ads on your rentals?

From → Landlord

  1. That’s interesting because I used to use newspaper ads to attract tenants, but I now rely exclusively on posting signs around the neighborhood and Craigslist.

    Maybe the size of the community determines which works best.

  2. Yeah Terrry we have tried Craigslist a few times with only limited success on our Class A, and B stuff.

    I know my tenants in my Class C properties are somewhat tech savvy, but they don’t seem to shop for their home that way. They drive the neighborhood – so the yard sign always does the trick.

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