Tips for Writing a Great Newspaper Rental Ad

What to Include With Sample Ads

A man on a city balcony reading a newspaper
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Advertising a rental property vacancy in the newspaper has its challenges. You have to make a big impact in a very limited amount of space. With so little space, it is important to choose your words wisely and to include the most important information. Here are five tips for a great ad

5 Goals of a Rental Ad:

1. Include the Basics

Start by including the basics. Essential information that prospective tenants want to know includes:

  • The Rent
  • Number of Bedrooms
  • Number of Bathrooms
  • Your Name
  • Your Contact Number
  • If Pets Are Allowed 
  • The Town Your Property Is Located In- If you are advertising in a paper that covers multiples towns or counties.

Other basics, depending on the amount of space you have, can include:

  • If Heat and Hot Water Are Included
  • The Amount of Security Deposit Required
  • The Move-In Date Available

2. Use Abbreviations

To save space, you can abbreviate certain words that are well known. These are the words that people will quickly understand the meaning of. For instance, 2 bedroom written as 2 BR is commonly known and accepted.

Avoid making up abbreviations, such as instead of saying garden view, writing GRDN VW. Few people will understand what you are implying and may not want to waste any more time looking at your confusing ad.

Here are Some Common Abbreviations:

  • Available March 20: Avail 3/20
  • Apartment: APT
  • Bathroom: BA
  • Bedroom: BR
  • Cats Allowed: Cats OK
  • Dogs Allowed: Dogs OK
  • Eat-in-Kitchen: E.I.K.
  • Heat: H
  • Hot Water: HW
  • Included: Incl
  • Stainless Steel appliances: SS
  • Section 8: Sect 8
  • Pets Allowed: Pets OK
  • Washer/Dryer: W/D

While abbreviations will help you save space and money, if you use too many and do not include descriptive adjectives, then your ad will not stand out. This can cause you to get fewer calls about your rental. You want to balance the abbreviations with descriptions. For example, you can say “Stunning 2 BR” instead of just “2BR.”

3. Include Two or Three Amenities

Once you have included the basics, you can move on to include some desirable features of your property. You want to include one or two things that will set you apart from the competition and make your property seem more appealing. This could include: 

  • Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Quiet Neighborhood
  • Balcony
  • Walk-In Closet
  • Private Entry
  • City View

4. Analyze the Competition

Make sure your rental price is in line with your local competition. If every other two bedroom listed is going for between $900 and $1000 a month and your two bedroom is listed at $1600, either your pricing is ridiculous, or you must have some amenity that would justify the higher price such as a city view, outdoor space or completely renovated apartment. Also, if everyone lists their property using adjectives such as “sunny and spacious,” you will want to look for other ways to describe your space so your property will stand out.

5. Sample Rental Ads:

Here are examples of a bad, an average and a good rental ad.


Large apartment. Has a lot of good features. Come take a look and see for yourself. 555-1234

This ad is bad for many reasons. It doesn’t even include the basics such as a number of bedrooms or bathrooms or even the rent per month. It is very vague and will generate little or no interest.

People do not want to hear an apartment has “good features.” They want to know exactly what features it has. The one bright spot in this ad is that they remembered to include a contact number. However, there is no name to call, which makes the ad seem less personal. You always want to include a name with the contact number, so people know who they are asking for.


Raleigh, N.C. 3 BR, 1 BA. $1200/mo. 1 month Security Deposit. H/HW incl. Avail 6/20. Pets OK. Call John 555-1234

This ad is good in that it includes all the essential information. However, it does not have anything that will excite people or entice them to want to come and see the apartment.


Commack/ Suffolk. $950/mo. Beautiful 2 BR/1BA. Newly renov. All new S.S. Appliances. EIK. Walk-in pantry. Hot watr incl. Sect 8 welc. No Fee. View pics at www.”yourwebsitehere”.com. Call John 555-1234

This ad is better because it includes all the essentials. It includes specific features and balances out abbreviations and longer words, so it is easy to read.