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How to make your rental property stand out on the property portals

Are you thinking of marketing your rental property on the portals using OpenRent or QuickLister? I’ve just done this successfully, and thought it would be helpful to share some tips.

This was the first time I had marketed a property using OpenRent, as I had previously always used high street letting agents. I paid OpenRent the princely sum of £49 for the listing, and within three days I had three great families all wanting to rent my property at or above the asking rent.

How did I make the house stand out on the portals, and attract high quality applicants at a decent rent?

Here are my tips, which have the common theme of making it easy for potential renters to click on “request a viewing”, and having the renters’ needs at the heart of my marketing.

Use a floor plan

Most letting agents are lazy and don’t bother with floorplans as they say the place will rent anyway, so why bother making the effort? Considering the huge amount of money landlords pay them, this is pretty shocking. (To let my last 3 bedroom house via the local Countrywide affiliate, I paid £2,100, and did not get a floorplan!) It also shows that these letting agents do not have the needs of the ultimate customers (renters) at the heart of their service. The one local letting agent who would do a floor plan charges £200 for a floor plan and photo package, and that is on top of the £1,350 tenant find fee, £173 for the tenancy agreement and £36 for the deposit registration, which are all included in the £49 OpenRent fee!

Why is a floor plan so useful? You are looking to attract the best renters, and to make it easy for them to decide whether or not to request a viewing. My house is in Maidstone, under an hour from London by train, and what surprised me was how many people from outside of the area were interested in viewing the property as they were wanting to relocate post-Covid to a bigger house and garden, without the London price tag.

Even a standard Victorian house has so many variations that it’s really useful for potential renters to see how it is laid out – where is the bathroom, is there a separate hallway, is the kitchen in the middle reception room or at the back, how big are the rooms, is there a cellar?

Let your potential renters see how your property flows. Will it work for them? This will help weed out time-wasters and encourage out-of-towners / DFLs (Down from Londons!) to make the journey to view the property.

I paid under £10 to make my own floor plan from Metropix. I had no previous experience of doing floor plans. It was a bit fiddly, but it will be quicker for my next property, and I can use the floor plan when I market the house again in the future.

Film a simple video tour

Very few agents do video tours for rental properties, even at the top end of the market in London. I looked at some of the videos made by the London estate agents to sell properties in London, and made a little 60 second video, copying some of the techniques. I speed up the tour, and edited it so I didn’t spend too much time walking up the stairs. I lingered in the main rooms, and showed the view out of the windows to the garden, as well as walking the length of the garden to show its size and aspect.

If you are used to doing videos and reels on Instagram, you'll find it really easy, and you can even use your phone to do it. I used my entry level Canon mirrorless camera (Canon EOS M50 mark II), and filmed it horizontally 16:9 (unlike Instagram reels which are vertical 9:16).

I uploaded it onto YouTube and embedded a link into the listing. It was very easy.

All of the people who came to view the property said they appreciated the video tour, and that they had watched it multiple times.

Again, it helped attract those looking to relocate, and meant that they did not ask for a viewing if they did not like the lay out.

Take lovely photos

I can never understand why agents don’t upload lots of photos onto the portals, as it gives the impression there is something to hide when there aren’t many photos. I uploaded about ten. I didn’t include ones of the bathrooms as they had not yet been finished, but I put a note in the description to explain why.

I took the photos with my Canon, using the kit lens that came with the Camera (EF-M 15-45mm), and shot the interior photos around midday, when the light was best. I did not use artificial lighting and don’t (yet) have a telephoto lens. I touched up the photos in Lightroom to even out the lighting, and I was really happy with how they turned out.

Canon EOS M50 mark II; Joby Compact Action tripod
Setting up an interior shot on a Canon EOS M50 mark II using a Joby compact action tripod

I used a tripod to give height consistency to the photos, and used the timer so I could put the camera in the far corner and run out of the room, so I wasn’t in the shot. That way, I achieved the widest possible shot with a standard lens.

You can easily use your phone, and touch the photos up in Lightroom or another photography app.

Be sure to move the bins out of the way for the exterior shots, and clear any clutter away in the garden. I had to keep moving things in the house (eg packs of tiles, decorating clutter) so that the photos and video were clear of “stuff”. It’s worth making the effort – something letting agents rarely do.

Don't fo

rget the written description

Again, many letting agents skimp on the written description, and it can be tempting to use the auto-generated one on OpenRent.

I took the time to set out the property’s features, including that it had been refurbished and that all of the appliances were new. I also explained there was a new efficient boiler with a Google Nest Learning Thermostat, which helps keep down heating costs with the intelligent app. I also provided information about proximity to public transport and the town centre.

It's important for the description to be accurate and not misleading. Don’t go overboard on the hard sell, or use waffly flowery language.

I hope you found that useful. Please leave a note in the comments if you have any questions or if you’d like to share your experiences of letting.

PS Here is a link to a referral code that will give you a free trial on OpenRent.

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