Should Landlord use Free Websites to Advertise their Rental Property?

by Propertyhawk - Date: 2007-11-06 - Word Count: 942 Share This!

Can landlords really market their rental property for free?

I recently came across a landlord discussion forum where a landlord had asked which were the best free letting websites? So I set out to investigate.

The Internet has seen a boom in recent years of property marketing websites; many of these however require an advertiser to pay a small fee. Recent research indicates that between 85-90% of us now use the Internet to find property. I thought that the topic of websites allowing landlords to advertise their investment properties for free demanded further exploration.

There's no such thing as a free lunch for landlords?

My initial findings weren't promising. On the discussion forum the first two websites suggested by landlords came back with broken links or a page of nonsense code. Clearly these two sites were not going to set the world of Internet marketing alight! We persevered and other websites suggested by fellow landlords seemed to have more potential. One of these was

This site only advertises London property. Another free letting site we found for landlords with London properties was

The problem for landlords is that whilst London is a strong lettings market, landlords really need a site offering national coverage to deliver the volume of potential tenants they require.

One long established national website that deals with sales but also letting is Houseladder. This seemed to have a good national presence and with a reputed 400,000 visitors every month is was clearly popular. However, when testing precise location for properties advertised there appeared to be few properties in certain locations. This would inevitably reduce it's attractiveness to tenants.

Another free site is which offers landlords an opportunity to advertise their property without charge although if landlords then want to enhance their listing there is a small £10 charge. This website appears to have a good selection of property to let UK wide and is easy to use.

Gumtree is another free site, which is growing rapidly. Gumtree is owned by e-bay and originally started in London in March 2000 and has since spread to many towns and cities in the UK. Gumtree is an online community in which promotes various goods and services but is particularly popular with tenants looking for rental accommodation. Where it stands out from is the ability for landlords to use visuals to market their buy-to-let investment property. Landlords can add up to 3 photos for free and even a URL to a U-tube video for the technology savvy landlord.

My experience with Gumtree has been promising. I had a number of responses to a recent rental advert although the nature of free property marketing is that a landlord seems to have their fair share of ‘weirdos' which a landlord then needs to filter out.

A Reality Check for Landlords
The reality is that the property marketing world is still dominated by one website Rightmove. This is where many tenants start their search for rental accommodation. It is therefore vital for a landlord to get on this website. Rightmove is only available to letting agents. To get on it a letting agent or a web marketing site has to pay a pretty hefty fee. Therefore in order for a landlord to be featured on this site they will need to go through a letting agent or marketing site who will look to recover these costs by charging some form of a fee to the landlord.

Landlords Paying for Results
Landlords therefore should be aware that using a free letting site could be a false economy. In property marketing it is all about a landlord getting their buy-to-let investment property viewed by the highest number of suitable tenants. Where a letting market is very local in nature then this could be best served by an advert in the local paper or even the corner shop.

To illustrate this point one contributor to the discussion forum commented

"But been honest; I have never had any replies from the free web sites
All my 3 tenants in the last 2 years , in 2 properties have come from the local Solicitor web site.

But then it is looked at by every one in Aberdeen.

This local approach all works fine if a landlord is prepared to limit themselves to local tenants. Increasingly landlords rely on tenants that might be moving into an area and therefore who will use national websites such as Rightmove or Fish4homes to find their rental properties.

How can a landlord get effective national coverage?
In this case landlords need to get onto the main national websites such as Rightmove if they are to maximise their buy-to-let investment properties exposure to the maximum number of potential tenants.

One service that enables landlords to do just this is Discount Letting Direct Service Ltd. Its' name is a bit of a mouthful but like all great ideas what it does is pretty simple. For a sum of £59 Discount Letting Direct Service Ltd will get the marketing details of a landlord's buy-to-let property featured on all the following national websites.

* Rightmove
* Fish4homes
* Findaproperty
* Propertyfinder
* Upmystreet
* Yahoo
* Times Online
* Telegraph

to name but a few...

If landlords find themselves in a highly competitive letting market it might be worth them trying FREE and PAID because a void period of a week or two can quickly wipe out any savings in marketing costs.

Property Hawk,a site aimed directly at UK Landlords. The site incorporates free property management software that enables a landlord to track all their financial data relating to their portfolio. It allows landlords to print tenancy agreements and other forms FREE FOREVER. The site generates a real time rent book for each property as well as calculating a landlords tax liabilty. Free at

Related Tags: property, software, investment, free, management, landlord, bt, landlords, agreement, deposit, scheme, tenancy, tds, ast, assured, shorthold, rentbook

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