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Managing rental property involves a ton of moving parts. 

There’s handling maintenance requests, collecting rent, tenant issues, you name it.

But let’s not forget, if you can’t keep your units and properties occupied, it’s all for nothing. 

There are lots of great places to advertise rental property now online. Fortunately, most of those places are opportunities to advertise for free (or nearly free). 

That’s where this guide comes in.

First, we’ll cover a number of different ways you can advertise your rental properties for free.

Then, we’ll cover a number of the best rental listing sites, all of which allow you to list your properties for free (or low-cost).

Let’s start with ways to advertise your property for free.

Advertising your rental property

It’s always been possible to advertise your property for free.

However, nowadays there are more ways than ever, and more places too. 

Here are four of the best ways to advertise your property for free online:

DoorLoop Advertise Rental Property Free

1. Post on social

While not the most effective method, posting to social media is still a decent free advertising option.

This becomes even more worth it if you’ve invested in creating content online, allowing you to amass a following that will then see your listings.

Regardless, however, posting even to a few followers can help get the word out at little to no cost. 

2. Advertise locally with signs

Don’t underestimate the value of a good ol’ sign. People will drive around their neighborhood looking for “for rent” signs. 

And even if they don’t, if they’re driving around the area to see a property or apartments already, by putting up a sign there is a good chance those same people will see it and stop off to see your property as well. 

3. Build an email list

Email is one of the most powerful forms of “free” digital marketing, but it’s oft-overlooked. 

By creating a way for visitors to sign up to receive an update whenever one of your units opens up, or by posting useful content online to your target market, you can build a list that’s highly engaged and likely to respond to an email advertisement for your listing. 

Even if the list doesn’t have many emails on it, those that are will be highly likely to respond to your listing if emailed, so it’s well worth the effort. 

4. Post to rental listing sites

Rental listing sites are one of the most common forms of advertising rentals online today.

They include sites like Zillow and Trulia, the types of apps and platforms renters use in the majority of cases when they’re looking for a rental property. 

That makes these extremely powerful and convenient, as posting your listings to most of these platforms starts out free. 

Top advertising methods

We covered a number of great ways to advertise your rental property for free so far.

But is there a best way? A way you can use to get the biggest return on your time investment?

If you had to choose only one of these methods– or one to start with– which should it be? 

By far the most effective way to advertise your rental property for free online is through rental listing sites such as Zillow and Apartments.com. 

The reasons are multiple:

  • You can “borrow” from each platform to access thousands of potential leads in your area just by putting up your listing
  • It’s one-and-done, meaning you create the listing for the vacancy once and it stays up until the unit is filled (on most platforms)

It’s true that spending a little to increase exposure will get your unit filled faster. 

However, you don’t need to spend anything, or much of anything, depending on the platform. 

8 Property Listing Sites

Now that we’ve established that rental listings sites are the best way to market your rental property, let’s go over some of the best platforms online for doing that.

Here are eight listing sites to advertise your rental property for free or low-cost:

1. Zillow

Zillow

You knew this one was coming, so we’ll keep it short: Zillow is still by far one of the largest listing platforms online.

With Zillow, you can create a free 30-day listing for your first property. Beyond that, you’ll pay just $9.99 per week. 

One of the major benefits of Zillow is that it owns other platforms, including Trulia and HotPads, which your listing will then automatically appear on as well once posted on Zillow, maximizing your reach.

2. Apartments.com

Apartments.com

Apartments.com is another huge listing platform, but in this case it’s even more relevant given it is entirely rental property.

Similar to Zillow as well, Apartments.com owns multiple smaller listing platforms such as ForRent.com and ApartmentFinder, which your listing will automatically appear on.

3. Realtor.com

Realtor.com

Realtor.com might be where many go to buy or sell their home, but it also has a large number of rental listings and a huge amount of traffic in general. 

It might not have anything particularly unique going for it, but the amount of traffic it can draw to your listing is worth that and more anyday.

4. Craigslist

Craigslist

Craigslist is still chugging along despite showing its age (let’s be honest, it’s a relic of the early Internet). 

But don’t be fooled: it can still draw tons of highly targeted local traffic to your rental listing.

5. Rentberry

Rentberry

One of the newer kids on the block, Rentberry draws a good number of renter-specific traffic syndicated from a number of other platforms such as Doorsteps and Oodle.com

There are options to upgrade to a premium membership and crease visibility like with the other platforms on this list, but you can list completely free without paying a dime.

6. Zumper

Zumper

Zumper is another newer platform that’s specifically for renters, so you know the traffic is highly targeted as opposed to platforms like Zillow and Realtor.com.

Zumper also works like Rentberry in that it syndicates to several other platforms such as PadMapper.

7. Dwellsy

Dwellsy

Dwellsy is another great rental-specific platform with the option to post your listing absolutely free. 

They separate their setup based on an option for smaller investors with just a few properties and another for property managers and investors working with larger portfolios, though everything is mostly the same to get started.

8. RentDigs

RentDigs

Our final option on the list, RentDigs makes it super easy to post your listing, even more than the other options on this list.

Similar to several of the other options on this list, listing with RentDigs also gets you listed on other platforms such as Trovit and Oodle.com.

DoorLoop

We hope this guide helps you start filling your vacant units ASAP. 

If you’re looking for a simpler solution that can quickly get your listing out there to the top platforms all at once, however, check out DoorLoop’s automatic listing tools. 

With DoorLoop, you can automatically upload listings to major sites like Zillow and Apartments.com in seconds.

And when time is money, filling your vacant units faster makes all the difference. 

Plus, not to mention you get access to countless other features such as maintenance management, a full accounting suite, and a built-in CRM with tenant portal and easy communication features.

So, check out DoorLoop’s automatic listings feature and see how it can help you keep your units filled faster and more reliably. 

David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!