Being an owner of income properties has not been easy during the recession. The mortgage payments keep coming even when you have vacancies. In many cases, you have vacancies, but you are hesitant of paying a person or service to list them for you. In this market, cash flow is a premium, and you do not know when they will get leased. It’s hard to keep the enthusiasm up for anyone.
Fortunately, there are three do-it-yourself listing services that have been particularly helpful, and they are all free. First is Craigslist (www.craigslist.com), second is Rentlinx (www.rentlinx.com), and third is Loopnet (www.loopnet.net). They are all free at the basic level, and if you do manage to rent out some of your properties, you can send them some love and sign up for the paid service.
First, we all know that Craigslist is free. However, if you do not refresh the listings, they quickly fall to the bottom, and that happens very quickly in large cities. Most readers will not have time or patience to scroll through page after page of listing, especially when there are so many vacancies. So you have to refresh them every 48 hours, and it is hard to be so disciplined. While free, Craigslist has other limitations as well. For example, you can only post 4 pictures, and they together they must total more than 10 MB.
Second, Rentlinx, www.rentlinx.com, which is very helpful. The basic level is very good and free. They aggregate for many other websites, including Show Me the Rent (www.showmetherent.com), trovit (www.trovit.com), and others (including Craigslist every 15 days). You can list as many residential properties as you like, and Rentlinx has much more flexibility in terms pictures and details. You can refresh every hour, and watch your web traffic increase, and compare statistics month to month. Rentlinx is a real gem. The customer service folks at Rentlinx are excellent, and responsive even if you are a free member! No strong sales pressure tactics, but do send them some love if you happen to rent out a property. They do even more for the paid listings.
Third, for commercial properties is Loopnet.net (www.loopnet.com). They allow you to list your first three properties for free. Loopnet.com say that their paid service will get you 10 times more leads, but I always found that they provide me enough leads as a “courtesy” to keep me going. Furthermore, when the listing are stale, they will prompt you to refresh your leads. Loopnet is also aggregates many other services. I have never had a “spammed” lead with Loopnet. Again, don’t forget to send them some love it they manage to help you out.