Guide On How Landlord’s Should Advertise On Gumtree

Gumtree
I’ve mentioned several times before in various blog posts that I’m a huge fan of Gumtree when it comes to advertising properties for rent. If ANY Landlord is looking to avoid letting agent fees, I would highly recommend trying out Gumtree to get enquiries from prospective tenants. I don’t think Gumtree should be the one and only method of marketing, but it should definitely be one of the primary resouces. Why? Because IT’S FREE, popular, and takes only a few minutes to setup.

I’m not entirely sure how Gumtree performs geographically, but I know from personal experience that it’s an extremely powerful marketing tool for properties with in London and surrounding counties E.g Essex, Hertfordshire. I imagine it does pretty well in other major cities in England as well, but I can’t confirm. But it’s worth a try, regardless of your target area.

Like with all marketing strategies, there are certain principles that I think should be applied to practice. Here are my top tips for using Gumtree (some of these will apply to marketing your property in general):

1] Check out the local competition

First things first, you need to see how other landlords are marketing their property. Before creating a campaign, search the website for similar properties in the same area to your own. Find out what the going rates are and how much competition you have. If you’re overpriced, don’t expect many enquiries.

2] Market your property in the correct region

The Gumtree website is pretty big, and it’s split up by location (major cities and counties). Make sure you create an advert in the correct location E.g. if you’re BTL is in Essex, you should be creating an advert here: http://essex.gumtree.com/. If you go to gumtree.com, you can navigation to your correct location by clicking “change city” at the top of the page.

I once accidently created a campaign in the London section when the property was situated in Essex. I’m not sure how the searching algorithm works on Gumtree, but I noticed I wasn’t getting any enquiries. When I switched it to Essex, I started getting more page views and consequently more enquires.

3] Constantly refresh your ad

This is by far the most important tip, and I can’t stress that enough. Once you create an ad, it’s important you update it as frequently as possible, even if that means every few hours. Gumtree search results are displayed in order of freshness. Basically, it puts all the fresh content at the top of search results. You will want your advert at the top so it gets the most exposure.

If you’re marketing a property in a popular area like London, there are probably hundreds of properties being added to the system daily, so your property will be buried rapidly.

To keep your advert fresh, all you need to do is log into your control panel, press “preview your ad” and then “submit your ad”. It’s as easy as that.

UPDATE– On the 8th of Feburary 2011, Gumtree has decided to charge landlords for the privilege of refreshing (also known as *bumping*) their adverts, in order to get it back up to the top. While the fee is a royal pain in the arse, there are ways to avoid it. Here’s more on How Landlords Can Avoid Gumtree’s “Bump” Fee

4] Upload pictures, and make them good

If you were looking to rent a property, would you bother responding to an advert without pictures? Probably not. I’m pretty surprised when I see properties being marketed without visuals.

Make sure you use good quality pictures, and show the most appealing features of the property. I always put a picture of the front of the house, the kitchen and a bedroom (there’s a max limit of 3 pictures). I personally think they’re the key areas.

Pictures will avoid wasting time. A prospective tenant will know what to expect before viewing the property if they have seen pictures of the kitchen, bedroom and exterior- so they’re already interested. A tenant that hasn’t seen pictures isn’t necessarily interested in the property before seeing it, so the success rate will become intensely lower.

5] Link to external resources, if you can

I just mentioned there’s a max limit of 3 images, but unfortunately, that’s some times just not enough, especially for larger properties. There is an alternative method you can use to expose further images and descriptive blurb to your audience. You can also provide an external link to another website which hosts further details about the property. For example, if you’ve got a website of your own – or even a flickr account you can put extra photos and descriptive text on, and then link to it.

6] Get the description right

Try to give away as much details as possible in your description. Again, this will avoid wasting time. Here are a few key features that I put in my descriptions:

  • How many bedrooms there are
  • Size of bedrooms
  • allocated spaces and/or garage space
  • who is responsible for bills
  • condition of property (be accurate)
  • whether there is a garden
  • double glazing
  • Flooring plan- room measurements

7] Provide email AND telephone contact details

Gumtree allows you to be contacted via email and/or telephone. I recommend making it as easy as possible for someone to contact you, so make sure you allow users to have both options. I’ve noticed that a lot of people only allow communication through email. I personally think that will reduce enquiries because the process of emailing is a lot slower than telephone communication- a lot of tenants want accommodation asap!

8] Construct a useful advert title

Have a useful title for your advert. Something as follows is USELESS: “property for rent.”

I tend to put the road name, town/city and cost. So something like this: “2 bedroom house Church Langley, Harlow (£760 pcm) “

The latter example will get a lot more targeted traffic. Additionally, Gumtree has an open search box, so a lot of people will often search for the location they’re looking to rent in. So for example, if I’m looking for a property in “Harlow”, I’d do an open search for “Harlow”, and because Harlow is in the title, my advert would return in the results. So basically, all i’m doing is making the title keyword rich.

9] Submit your full postcode

While you fill in the details of your BTL, you’ll notice a postcode box- populate the box with the correct postcode so that Gumtree can add a Google map (a virtual map of your property plotted on a map). A remarkable number of people don’t do this. Particularly in London, a couple of streets can make the difference between a lovely area and a crap one.

10] Check your advert is live

After creating an advert, it doesn’t always go live immediately- can take up to 3 hours, so I’m told by the Gumtree officials. So make sure you look out for when it goes live. If it takes too long (over 4 hours), I would suggest contacting them to see what the hell is going on.

Right, so they’re my personal tips for any Landlord that wants to take advantage of Gumtrees free advertising service. Does anyone else have any other tips, or think that any of mine are dogshit? Talk to me, people…

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14 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Danny 3rd March, 2009 @ 21:44

I think your advice is great, I'm about to rent a studio flat out and intend of using Gumtree after trying a letting agent. I drive lorrys so its hard to get the time to do the veiwings but I decided to suck it and see. Ill arrange the veiwings for the weekend do you think that could work?
Love your blogs
Cheers

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 4th March, 2009 @ 08:15

Hey Danny,
I've taken loads of viewings over the weekends in the past. Tenants are generally accommodating for weekend viewings- I don't think you'll have a problem there!

Glad my advice helped! Good luck!!!

Kind regards

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Guest Avatar
Debra 30th April, 2009 @ 09:07

Really good sound advice for all.

Gumtree is clear and concise and your advice will certainly help those seeking tenants for their properties.

My specialism is HMOs and easyroomate is grand for these.

Kind regards

Debra

3
Guest Avatar
Sam 30th April, 2009 @ 10:08

Having just gone through the hell of moving, I completely agree with these points. So many people - including professional agents - get it so wrong; crap (or misleading) photos, rubbish descriptions, email only contact, paltry detail.

One thing I've found incredibly helpful in filtering potential properties is the availability of floorplans, or even just good room measurements. I was looking for a 4 bed house, but so many of the places I went to see I walked out of instantly because one of the supposedly double bedrooms was big enough for a double bed and nothing else. Complete waste of time for me, and complete waste of time - and money - for the agents. It might take you half an hour to do a rough floorplan, but if an abortive viewing takes half an hour, you're saving immediately, plus you have it ready for when you tenants move out.

Remember that you can also put a link in the ad, so if you've got a website of your own - or even a flickr account you can put some photos and descriptive text on - it's worth putting up even more photos, more detailed descriptions, or a floorplan and linking to it.

Another really helpful thing is putting in the full postcode, so that Gumtree can add a google maps map. A remarkable number of people don't do this. Particularly in London, a couple of streets can make the difference between a lovely area and a crap one, which, again, can result in a lot of wasted time. I've even had some landlords try to book a viewing over the phone without giving me the address, telling me they would "confirm on the day". Needless to say, most of the time, as soon as they've confirmed the address I've pulled out of the viewing because it's not a nice area.

Be HONEST; if it's a bit scruffy, say so, but contextualise it. "Decoration is clean and basic; not top notch, but this is reflected in the rental price". Plenty of people are happy with basic, but don't try to pretend a property is something it's not. Again, there have been so many places where I've walked in and left within 30 seconds, because when asked about the level of finish, people have lied. Complete waste of time. I'm not going to change my mind about what I want because you've got me through the door. It just annoys me, and makes me less likely to deal with you in the future.

Having seen close to 70 houses over the past three months before finally finding something suitable, this comes from long and bitter experience!

4
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 30th April, 2009 @ 10:24

Hey Sam,

You added some great tips there. MANY thanks. I've updated my post to include the postcode tip, along with providing a link to any other useful sources regarding the property.

Can't believe you viewed 70 properties- I don't think I would have had the motivation or willpower!

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "be honest"- it saves so much time for both parties.

Kind regards

5
Guest Avatar
virginia 13th May, 2009 @ 17:03

Hi Sam,
I have just had the most dreadful experience trying to rent my chelsea studio through gumtree. Having paid out £50 for a featured listing and placed the ad at 6 am on Saturday to try and get a good position for the weekend, my ad wasn't posted until late Monday Morning. Therafter, it was constantly deleted without reason and never ranked in a decent position. The gumtree staff are in total denial and even complaints to ebay's top management were ignored. Definitely NOT RECOMMENDED.

6
Guest Avatar
Sharon 26th August, 2009 @ 12:53

My sister paid out good money to place an advert on gumtree. The money was taken but the ad was never posted. This also happened to me once and now I will only place free adverts (which also dont seem to get posted unless I complain). The gumtree automated messages give the impression your advert has been posted, but you should really check it for yourself. Gumtree these days is not worth the hassle.

7
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 26th August, 2009 @ 13:22

Hey Sharon,

I've never used the paid service, so i can't comment on that. But i've never had a problem with the free service. From what I remember, it can take a few hours for the advert to go live- it doesn't happen just instantly.

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Guest Avatar
Sharon 26th August, 2009 @ 13:25

Hi Landlord,

My free adverts never appear on gumtree. Not unless I email gumtree and ask them to look into the matter. I used to think it was because I am in France, and I have a french IP address. But when I was in London last month, I tried posting an advert on Gumtree and it still didn't appear, even taking into consideration the 4 hour lag.

9
Guest Avatar
Petrona 10th February, 2010 @ 07:13

I'm in Perth, WA, and we have a lot of success using Gumtree to advertise our apartments. For some reason with the free ad service we can post 5 pictures, and I always do! We've found it's the best way to target our particular market of young travellers looking for fully furnished properties for the short to medium term.

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Guest Avatar
diavolina 7th February, 2011 @ 11:52

Hello, this is a fantastic site, brilliant writing and resources. I'm just about to let out a property, and was compelled to respond to this thread...

I'm worried about putting a postcode in the description, and wasn't going to - this is because my property is empty at the moment and I'm worried that someone might go along and somehow get in and squat (even if I have double checked any points of entry are locked!).

I suppose I'm mad in thinking this? I will take no offence!
Thanks in advance

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Daniel Demmel 17th October, 2011 @ 22:39

Thank you very much for these points, I wish landlords / agents weren't as lazy as they are and done even half of these so I don't have to waste my time looking at incomplete adverts!

Diavolina, I wouldn't worry if I was you, I don't think anyone is crazy enough to squat an advertised property where you are going to come over for a showing. Also, if you closed / locked everything it's a break-in which is going to be taken care of by the police immediately.

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Guest Avatar
Rob 30th December, 2011 @ 17:12

This is very good advice, I use Gumtree all the time. One upcoming new web site I’ve come across recently is http://www.placebuzz.com
They also offer free listings and interestingly online tenancy agreements…

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Guest Avatar
Diana 14th October, 2014 @ 18:24

Hi thanks for the useful advice.We have had a bad experience with our last tennant. Pleasant and helpful when sober but impossible after 11am when the wine would come out. No peace for the neighbourhood till 11pm. Even the police suggested I gave him notice. I want to stipulate "of sober habits" in the add. Would that be strong enough? Would rather sell than go through that again. Thanks.

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