Here at Cozy, we see thousands of new property listings every week, so we know what works and what doesn’t. Follow these tips for creating an outstanding listing, and watch the applications roll in!

Write the perfect headline

Keep it short and sweet. Include the type of property—condo, house, cottage, apartment, etc. You could mention the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but in some cases that will make the headline redundant. Some listings automatically include that info in the headline (like Craigslist).

Mention the neighborhood where the property is located, using the term your ideal renter will know. Real estate agents might call the area one thing, but the college students you want to reach might call it something else.

Avoid overused words such as “amazing,” “beautiful,” and “wonderful.” Instead, talk about the property’s best attributes. Is it close to a great school? Does it have a big yard? A view of the mountains?

DON’T USE ALL CAPS, which can come across as YELLING.

For more tips on writing a great listing headline, check out this story at Landlordology.

Take good photos

Photos will help sell the place, so it’s worth putting a little extra effort into taking good ones. Likewise, bad photos (or no photos at all) will scare away potential applicants. In Cozy, you need at least one photo to post a listing, but you can add as many as you’d like.

Try to shoot the kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, and any outdoor space. Bonus: floor plans with dimensions (a simple sketch will work).

Use natural light as much as possible, but fill in with artificial lighting (such flash or moving a lamp to a dark corner) when needed.

“Stage” your property by opening the curtains and tidying up. Put away laundry, toys, mail, and other clutter. Make the beds. Close the toilet seats.

Once you’ve taken the photos, check ’em out. Are they blurry? Delete and try again.

The cover photo is the first photo potential applicants will see, so choose wisely. Ideally the best shot also happens to be the one that captures the property’s vibe. Maybe it’s the dining room with the ornate chandelier, the flowerbeds by the front door, or the modern kitchen flooded with sunlight.

Here are more tips on how to shoot real estate photos like a pro.

Add a video tour

Since most of us can easily shoot video on our smartphones and cameras, take advantage of the chance to show your prospective tenants what it feels like to walk through the property.

It helps to have a plan before you start recording. Know where you’re going to walk and what you plan to highlight.

Use sound, so you can narrate as you go. When you enter a room, say its name and mention a few of the room’s best features.

Follow some of the same guidelines for shooting good photos: use natural light and avoid glare from direct sunlight. Move and pan slowly. Try to keep your camera steady.

Keep videos under three minutes, a length you can accomplish through editing.

Here’s a good example of a video walk through tour.

Write a 💥 description

This is your chance to call out the best features of your property. In Cozy, you can use up to 999 characters (which translates to less than 200 words).

Optimize your description for search engines, which will help the people who are searching for some of your property’s features more easily find the listing. That means using keywords, including specific locations, like the name of a neighborhood or its distance from points of interest (“two blocks from the Metro”). Mention things like “stainless steel appliances” and “fenced backyard.”

Start with the big picture: the size of the property, location, etc., then list the best amenities. Try to help your future residents imagine themselves living there by describing “a day in the life.” For example: “Roll out of bed on Saturday morning and walk two blocks to Delicious Bakery for coffee and donuts.”

Don’t forget about pets. It’s always best to be up front about your pet restrictions from the start to avoid wasting everyone’s time.

Last but not least, be honest. Don’t exaggerate just because it sounds good. Renters can be skeptical about online ads, and for good reason. Don’t be the person who validates their fears.

Once you’ve finished your listing and started sharing the link with potential tenants, they can contact you if they’re interested, and you can arrange to show them the property. Don’t worry about bringing any paper applications; they can apply to your property through Cozy.

Want more info about marketing your property? Check out Landlordologys free guide to marketing your rentals, which includes even more info about listings.