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  • Writer's pictureMaxwell Shenk

Apartment Posting

A Step by Step Guide for Screening Tenants +

Posting your Rental Listing


Here's a quick summary of the blog below:

  1. Establish the rental rate

  2. Advertise the listing + Open House - Posting as many photos as possible and ideally a link to a video or virtual tour as well

  3. Respond to all inquiries with the same verbiage, which is notifying them the first showing is the open house and reiterating the requirements of the tenancy

  4. Attend the open house, screen tenants in person by asking them probing questions about their jobs and who will be living at the house, etc.

  5. Collect the emails of the candidates that would like to apply or have already applied

  6. Review applications / request applications via email.

  7. Offer the tenancy to the top applicant

How Much Rent Should I Charge?

Given that the value of the property is heavily based on the income, it is important to push the rents as much as possible while still obtaining a rate that the tenants will want to stay the following year to avoid turnover costs. Although, tenant turnover every couple years is healthy for the property and healthy for your wallet – as you’ll have the opportunity to raise rents to market at that time and tenants won’t feel entitled to your property.


To start, you may want to test the market. San Diego has such a tight rental market that at a certain price point you will be inundated with inquiries, which is an indication the rate may be too low, but you also want enough inquiries where you can select the best candidate, so it's a happy medium between the two.


First, you want to find out what the going rents are in the neighborhood of the property at the time of listing for the particular bedroom count on offer. This will be your unit’s competition. Ask me for a rental survey to discover what your rent range should be.


Once we establish a rental range, it’s a good idea to shoot higher. Post for a few days and see how many inquiries you get. Advertise at the same time that there will be an open house the following weekend. An open house will give the tenants a sense of competition and save you time showing the unit.


Where To Post Apartments for Rent


In San Diego, I would post at least the following locations:

  • Facebook marketplace – boost the listing to any facebook groups you can find

  • Zillow – which will syndicate to many other rental sites

Please note, it’s a great idea to allow applications via zillow. Zillow has a fee for tenants of $30 for one month of applications, meaning tenants can pay the one time fee which includes a background and credit check and send it to as many rentals as they’d like. This gives you a quick snapshot on applicant’s financial situation and allows you the opportunity to follow up with strong applicants right from the site.


If you get enough inquiries and commitments to the open house, say 3-6, there is no need to lower the rent rate. If you don’t get any, then it's time to lower the rate slightly, maybe $200. The tenants will perceive this as a discount, which will make the rental look even better. From there, if you find that you’re getting 3-6 inquiries committing to coming to the open house or looking to schedule showings you don’t need to do anything. Send the same response to all inquiries letting them know what the perfect tenant for the space will look like.


Example of Inquiry Verbiage:


Hi there! Thanks for your inquiry. The first showing is the open house on ____ date. Are you able to attend?


Please keep in mind, the ideal tenants for this space will have a combined:

  • Proof of a total of 2.5x-3x the rent in income

  • An average of a 650 credit score or better, for all 18+ adults who will be financial contributors to the rent

  • Clean background check

  • Good personal and professional references

  • No past evictions


I look forward to meeting you at the open house!”


Ideally you will have the space leased after the first open house, but if not, you can edit the listing to give concessions for the first month’s rent, as opposed to discounting the rent even further. (For instance, if you are looking to achieve a $4,250 rental rate – discount the first month’s rent by half and advertise the new rental rate for the year. $4,250 x 11 months = $46,750 + $2,125 (half of first month's rent) = $48,875, divide the total rent for the year and you get $4,072 per month.) Advertise this new rent rate of $4,072 but then specify in the listing the same math you did above.


**If you need to make concessions, use verbiage like this:**

“First month’s rent is half off – bringing the average monthly rent for the first year is $4,072! Please note that the monthly rent is $4,250 starting after the first month. Only half of the first month’s rent + security deposit is required to move in!”


Sample Rental Listing

Open house! X Date X time.


Upgraded apartment in ________! Upstairs/Downstairs/Detached XBR unit/house in a __ unit complex, located in front of/behind/above (garage), no neighbors underneath! Great central location located on a quiet residential street, easy freeway access, close to shopping and __ mile to ___________, a wonderful place to live! XBR/XBA + X Car Garage/X Parking Spaces (garage will be on a separate lease for $100, included in the price listed above). Laundry In-Unit/on-site (pay machines). Heat/AC/Any other amenities. Tenant pays SDGE & phone/cable/internet. Tenant are required to have a renters insurance policy to cover their belongings. No smoking property! X Month lease. DO NOT DISTURB OTHER TENANTS ON SITE.


Apply via zillow rental application and/or shoot me a text to request the rental application and confirm you are coming to the open house.


The ideal tenants for this space will have a combined:

  • Proof of a total of 2.5x-3x the rent in income

  • An average of a 650+ credit score or better, for all 18+ adults who will be financial contributors to the rent

  • Clean background check

  • Good personal and professional references

  • No past evictions

  • Do not have any pets (if that is not allowed at your rental, inquire with me to weigh the pros and cons)


This method is tried and true and has helped us receive leading market rents on all of our properties. This can take some time (and some patience) but being thorough and properly screening tenants and advertising your listing will pay off in the long term! If you're curious where your rents should be please do not hesitate to reach out. Thanks!






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