But despite my success stories, Gumtree is often a topic of debate among landlords- is it actually a good solution to find tenants?
By no means do I consider Gumtree to be the most effective solution of finding tenants, paid or otherwise- nope, not even when compared to the other free options available (I’ll talk more about those shortly). But, I can’t argue with the fact that Gumtree does fundamentally work, and perhaps that’s why a ridiculous amount of landlords and tenants flock to the website every day. Along with the fact it’s completely free and consequently infinitely cheaper than high-street letting agents, of course.
My faithful (and patient) subscribers’ will already be aware of the fact that I’ve recently been on the hunt for a shiny new tenant to take residence in my soon-to-be vacant BTL property, and that usually means, with some hesitation, Gumtree is among the arsenal of marketing tools I utilise.
Other free tenant-find websites I used with Gumtree (which I recommend using)!
This time round – as part of my tenant-find campaign – Gumtree joined the ranks of the following free tenant-finding solutions:
- Upad – an awesome online letting agent that allows landlords to market their property for free on Rightmove & Zoopla. Highly recommend, and as a standalone service, much more favourable than Gumtree.
- TheHouseShop – a popular property portal (similar to Rightmove) which allows landlords to market their property for free.
- Facebook – I’m generally against renting to my nearest and dearest, purely because it’s usually an epic disaster if things do wrong, and that’s bullshit politics I can’t be assed for. However, for one reason or another, I went against my better judgement and gave a head’s up to my “friendship base” via a status update on Facebook, informing them that I’ll have a vacancy soon. I’ve had success with Facebook before, where a friend of a friend became my tenant. So yeah, it’s always worth considering Facebook as marketing tool to find tenants.
Just to clarify, I’m not not a total skin-flint, so I’m not adverse to using paid solutions (which I usually do). I just wanted to experiment with free solutions this time, and prove that it’s entirely possible to find good tenants efficiently for free.
So, after loading Gumtree and Upad with my property details, I quickly started being inundated with enquiries, but unsurprisingly Upad generated the most amount of enquiries- which you’d expect since they’re sourcing enquiries from the two property portal powerhouses, Rightmove & Zoopla.
Upad alone generated 16 enquiries with in 7 days. Of course, not all of them were ‘quality leads’ from suitable applicants (to put it nicely). But that’s the nature of the game these days, you generally ALWAYS get ‘chancers’ trying to substitute cash with a bag of beans.
Obviously I’ve already yanked the cat out of the bag: Gumtree proved to be an effective source of enquiries for me. I received 8 enquiries in total, and I ended up choosing one of them as my next tenant. Believe it or not, I managed to get my grubby little mitts on a small family in search for a long term tenancy, with perfect rental and employment records, with the breadwinner being a Doctor at the local hospital.
Do I think you should use Gumtree?
I suppose I’ve already answered the question, but if there’s any doubt, let me assure you that my answer is yes!
I’ve successfully found tenants on Gumtree multiple times now. It’s not been the most effective means (using an online letting agent that markets on Rightmove has been far more successful), but it’s worked. Well!
But I do want to provide a caveat before you start tripping over yourselves to upload your property details onto Gumtree (I know, I’m shamelessly crass to believe that my ramblings has that kind of potenacy). While Gumtree is absolutely capable of finding landlords tenants quickly, I personally wouldn’t rely on the service alone; I would use Gumtree among OTHER methods just like I did. That’s actually not an exclusive caveat for Gumtree, I’d offer the same tippet for anyone that’s inclined to put all their eggs into one limited basket. DON’T DO IT! You need to diversify your shit, man.
Why Gumtree is a topic of debate?
So, here’s the thing. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about Gumtree.
Yes, it can be a very effective tool for landlords to find tenants for absolutely free (which is totally compelling), so I wouldn’t hesitate recommending other landlords to try it, even if only once. But from my experience, which is backed up by thousands of other landlords, the platform has major flaws, but one in particular which causes a lot of concern. And, that is, Gumtree is notorious for generating high-volumes of dog-shit leads (more so than other platforms), so landlords often have to sift through a gigantic pile of crap and deal with frustrating time-wasters before discovering the diamond they’re looking for (i.e. a Doctor with impeccable rental history), which is the very reason for why there’s often debate around on how suitable Gumtree is for landlords. Not only is it a breeding ground for spectacularly under-qualified applicants, but it’s also riddled with scammers, looking to rob every Tom, Dick & Harry blind.
I know of many landlords that unequivocally refuse to use Gumtree because of how toxic the leads can be, and I really can’t blame them [for being such pussies].
I’d say Gumtree is the Wild West of marketplaces for finding tenants, so keeping your wits about you is critical. CRITICAL! But the situation shouldn’t come as any surprise, because unlike with using letting agent, Gumtree provides little to no screening practises, which ultimately filters a lot of noise. So landlords directly receive all the noise, which can be demoralising and paralysing.
Needless to say, it’s not a deal-breaker for me, or many of the other landlords that still use Gumtree, because just as long as you use common sense and practise caution, you should generally be okay. That said, let’s not forget, junk enquiries can be sourced from anywhere; even agents that use rigorous screening algorithms are prone to infultration, so using due diligence shouldn’t be reserved for the likes of Gumtree- it should be standard practise.
Referencing tenants on Gumtree
Following on from my points above…
While thorough tenant referencing is critical no matter where you source your tenants from, I’d say it’s especially important if you’re sourcing your leads from Gumtree.
In my head, that statements makes no sense whatsoever, because I’d say the same thing if I was talking about any other platform, but I can’t help but feel there’s more of a necessity when using Gumtree in particular. Yes, even though I can’t think of a time when it wouldn’t be “especially important”
So, please, do your due diligence! Don’t fall for any stupid scams, and you’d probably be best served to approach any offers that “seem too good to be true” with extreme caution…
Have you used Gumtree? Or are you going to use them?
If you’ve used Gumtree, or contemplating using them, I’d love to hear your experience(s)! Please share…
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.