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According to the National Apartment Association, landlords experience an average 46.9% turnover rate in their rental properties.
Landlords and property managers, therefore, are motivated to fill vacancies with qualified tenants as quickly as possible to minimize their temporary losses.
Rental listing sites online and in mobile apps can ramp up exposure to renters on the move so that landlords can get their properties in front of, in some metropolitan areas, thousands of eyeballs.
We reviewed over 20 websites to see how easy they make it for a landlord to create an attractive and informative listing, how many application and screening tools they offered, and their costs. To help you minimize your vacancy losses, we’ve selected the four best rental listing sites to fill your properties quickly with qualified tenants.
Best Overall : Zillow Rental Manager
Zillow Rental Manager is the best rental listing site overall due to its sheer breadth of data and services. It has the largest inventory, the most site traffic, and offers services that take the landlord from marketing to rent collection.
The largest database of over 135 million homes and apartments for rent, for sale, and not currently on the market so it attracts a lot of eyeballs
Built-in tenant screening tools
Easy to create an informative and attractive listing with images, videos, and amenity details
Simple procedure to move through the listing and renting process
Mobile app lets landlords add, edit, and publish their listings, communicate with applicants, screen them, and collect rent payments
No option to categorize the property to a specific neighborhood
After the first free listing, the cost to the landlord is $9.99 per week for each additional listing
While rent can be collected through the service, landlords find it complex to manage security deposits, pet fees, and credits
Lease builder feature only available in Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Idaho, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and select portions of Illinois and California
Founded in 2006, Zillow Rental Manager and its parent company Zillow cover the entire United States. Landlords can help their property listing stand out by uploading a 3D view. In fact, applicants can even focus their search to see only listings that have a 3D tour uploaded.
Beyond the basic amenities, landlords can also attract attention by checking off whether they allow large dogs, small dogs, or cats. If the renter is seeking a specific view, they can sort their search for city, mountain, park, and water views.
Zillow Rental Manager has made creating a listing a simple process. Add property details and images, set your monthly rent price, and then publish the listing. Landlords can update the profile online whenever they want.
The built-in tenant screening service keeps the process moving. Once the landlord receives an application that meets their initial criteria, they can use Zillow Rental Manager to run a background check and credit score report.
Landlords have limited expenses with Zillow Rental Manager. Renters pay only a $29 fee which allows them to apply to an unlimited number of participating rentals for 30 days. The fee also includes the cost of their credit and background reports.
We chose Zillow Rental Manager as best overall because it has the most applicant traffic, the most listings, a simple listing process, a rental pricing method, integrated application, screening and rent payment tools, and volumes of education about the daily responsibilities of being a landlord as well as pertinent laws and regulations.
Best for Screening Prospective Tenants : Avail
Avail’s tenant screening process goes above and beyond criminal background checks and credit history, which of course it also does. Avail includes prospective tenant’s eviction history, and advanced criminal checks such as whether the applicant is on a terror list or sex offender list, to name a few.
More screening reports than other listing sites
Tenant pays for the screening reports (Though landlords may elect to cover those costs themselves)
For landlords on the Unlimited Plus Plan, there are no fees when tenants pay from a bank account
Allows landlords to collect rent easily
Transparent system for tracking property repairs, tenant expenses, and rent credits
No mobile app
Tenants pay fees on each payment when landlord is on the free plan
Small listing inventory
Short list of search filters
Founded in 2012, Avail has created a rental management platform that serves every state in the U.S. and is our pick as best for screening prospective tenants.
Landlords create their listing with Avail, and Avail then syndicates it to Doorsteps, HotPads, Zumper, Apartments.com, Zillow, Trulia, PadMapper, Abodo (now Rentable), Realtor.com, Apartment List, and Walkscore
In addition to syndication to other listing platforms, Avail also makes it easy for landlords to share their listings on social media channels and use a custom marketing and portfolio site that includes a tenant portal. Avail enables the landlord to communicate with applicants from all 10 of the syndicated sites from the Avail platform.
Avail is weak when it comes to creating ways for the landlord to highlight their property. There are unlimited image uploads, but the list of filters that applicants can use to search is short.
Avail offers a free unlimited plan for landlords, and its premium plan, called Unlimited Plus, costs the landlord $5.00 per unit per month. If the landlord uses the free plan, tenants would pay $2.50 per bank transfer. If a credit or debit card is used, a 3.5% processing fee is added to tenant payments regardless of the landlord’s subscription plan.
Avail provides credit history and nationwide criminal background and eviction checks for $30 each, or you can buy them as a bundle for $55. The tenant pays these fees.
The nationwide terror and sex offender lists checks, eviction history, employment and identity validation, and full credit reports put Avail at the top of the list when it comes to finding the best tenant screening service for rental listings.
Best for Attracting Qualified Applicants : Apartments.com
Apartments.com is best for attracting qualified applicants because it charges applicants to apply on its mobile app. This is a benefit to landlords because it makes an applicant look closely at a listing to make sure the property’s price, size, and rules are a good match before submitting their application.
Several map overlays for renters to pre-qualify their search
The website covers condos, apartments, houses, and townhouses too
To apply in the mobile app, the cost is $29.99 plus tax for up to 10 applications in a 30-day period
App users report updates and sorting capabilities are sometimes frustrating
Apartments.com syndicates the listing over a network of seven additional websites, offering the landlord leveraged exposure at ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder.com, Apartmenthomeliving.com, Apartamentos.com, and others.
Apartments.com walks the landlord through its simple process to create a listing, which can be completed in minutes. The landlord can tag their listing by neighborhood to stand out for those applicants who seek a specific area of a city.
Another way landlords can capture renter attention on the platform is by completing the amenities list in the listing profile. Apartments.com also facilitates online tour scheduling, application submittals, tenant screening for credit and background checks, lease signing, and rent collection.
Renters can research properties for free in both the app and on the website. We rated Apartments.com’s rental listing site as the best for attracting qualified applicants because applicants pay to apply in the app. That means landlords are getting fewer applicants that waste their time because the applicant has a financial stake, compared to listing sites where they can apply for free.
Best for Cost Comparables : Rentometer
Rentometer is our choice as the best site for finding cost comparables because of its proprietary technology that provides rent comparison based on input from other landlords.
Rent comparisons available in seconds
Easy and short form
Try it free for seven days
No mobile app
Fee for most of the higher end services
Founded in 2012, Rentometer offers detailed rental comparisons nationwide. The site is used by landlords, agents, and renters—every time a renter inputs an address in your property’s area, your listing will appear on the results page.
Property search results yield a robust report of key metrics, such as average rent, median rent, 25th and 75th percentile rents, map view, sample size, and sample radius. You can filter by age of listing, radius and distance, and by building type. You can analyze results by entering your property’s street address, your current location, a neighborhood, or a city.
Subscriptions range from $29 per month for basic service to $199 annually for more features. All Pro subscriptions include three-year trend and moving average charts, average rent by bedroom charts, an interactive map with street view, year built, tax and last sale data, and Excel and PDF reports.
The quality, depth, and breadth of information Rentometer provides when researching cost comparables is far superior to all other rental listing sites.
What Is a Rental Listing Site?
A rental listing site populates its website with an inventory of properties for rent. You create the home's online profile using the step-by-step process unique to each site.
The rental listing site makes it easier for landlords to find a tenant because listings are sometimes syndicated across multiple sites. Rental listing sites help renters scan many properties from the comfort of their computer or phone, sorting by what features are most important to them.
When listing a property, owners can upload recent interior and exterior pictures of the property, 3D tours and videos if possible, and interior and neighborhood amenities renters can use to segregate their search.
How Can I Get the Most for My Rental Property?
To get the most for your property, fill vacancies as quickly as possible by using online rental listing sites that can expose your property to large numbers of potential applicants.
It’s important to minimize turnover. The most effective way to decrease your vacancy time is to not have any. Screen your tenants well, make it convenient for them to communicate issues with you as they arise, be transparent about fixing issues, and offer convenient ways for tenants to pay rent on time.
Increase your rents for long-term tenants, but remain competitive within your neighborhood. Use cost comparison sites to make sure you understand your competition.
Be nice, but be firm. Not paying late fees is a common way renters can take advantage of the kind-heartedness of a landlord. If the rent is late, make sure the tenant understands that the rent is not brought current until the late fee also is paid.
Consider adding coin-operated laundry and vending machines in your apartment building. If you’re renting out a single-family home, perhaps you can offer landscaping or house cleaning for a fee.
What Is the 2% Rule?
According to this guideline, a property is a good investment if the monthly rental income is at least 2% of the property cost. It’s important to remember that the 2% rule has limitations and should be used only as a quick guide.
Many rental listing sites help in recommending rental prices of properties based on several factors such as location, proximity to public transportation facilities, walk scores, crime statistics, and more.
Is There a Cost for Rental Property Sites?
Most often, landlords are able to list their properties on these sites for free. In a few cases, listing more than one property costs around $10 per week. Most of the expenses, however, are allocated to the applicants.
Renters browse rental listing sites at no charge, but they often pay to apply online or to order their background screening checks. These costs range from $25 to $60 depending on price breaks for bundled services.
How We Chose Rental Listing Sites
To select the best four rental listing sites, we reviewed 20 sites. We evaluated each on how large of a geographic area they served and whether landlords can provide listings based on communities because many renters search by neighborhood. We looked at how many categories a listing form included because we wanted to see that landlords would have ample opportunity to add details that would help their listing stand out.
The listing creation process had to be simple and quick, with the ability to syndicate the listing to more than one website to maximize visibility. In most categories, we favored all-in-one listing sites that took the landlord from creating a listing to marketing, communication, application, tenant screening, lease signing, and rent collection.
Finally, we analyzed their pricing models, paying attention to whether certain costs seemed prohibitive, justified, and in some cases, helpful in screening out casual shoppers.