Online rental ads have proven very useful for landlords. The very first stop for house hunters now is the internet. If you doubt this, just look at how much rental companies with listings sites have grown. They have because it is lucrative. For this reason, a landlord must make the conscious choice of advertising their vacancies online. Not only does it reach a wide range of people it also helps reach more target tenants rather than just anyone.

Advertising rental vacancies online has proven especially useful to foreigners who need to move here but do not know how to start making arrangements for their living situations. The point here is, online advertising opens up the market. It widens the pool of prospective tenants. With so many people surfing the net looking for a place to live, you need to make your ad seen. It needs to be well done and memorable. Below are a few pointers.



Many will take more time on the body of the ad and the remainder on this part. There is a reason it is first on this list. This is quite possibly the most important part of the ad. This will be the reason people click to see more of your ad. If not well thought out then this part could discredit the entire ad thus making your efforts basically worthless.

Think about what you would like to say. Think about the person who would be best served by your ad. Think about what would attract that kind of person. It does not have to be something quirky and funny. Actually, quirky and funny will get you nowhere. The title should give a preview of the ad. It should summarize in a very few words what the customer wants in a house.

Experts have come up with a formula for the perfect rental ad title. It includes the rent, size and location. You may pick one exciting feature about the house just to sweeten the deal. An example could be a 32k two-bedroom house in South B with master ensuite. That ad tells the reader the most important things they want to know. So they will click on the adjust to see pictures and see what other things are on offer. It is both informative and will grab the attention for the intended target tenant.


After the title, the body of the ad comes a close second in terms of importance. This part must be very detailed. It must tell the reader everything they need and want to know about the house. If you do it well the only thing an interested person will need to say is, “I will come for a viewing tomorrow.”

The size of the unit should obviously be included in this part. It should not just be about how many bedrooms there are. Landlords in Nairobi tend to enjoy putting the bathroom and toilet in one room perhaps to save on space. The ad should let the person know so they are not surprised. Is there a compound? Is there parking space? Is there a play area for the kids? There should also be information like presence of a balcony and a proper description of the kitchen. Is it a kitchen area, kitchenette or an actual kitchen? A kitchen area is just a corner on the side of the living room with a sink and a counter. A kitchenette barely fits two people. A kitchen will have its own door and cabinets including designated spaces for various kitchen items like a fridge. It will be functional.

You should also describe the location of the house properly as if giving direction to someone who actually intends to show up. The prospective should know if the utilities are included in the rent. If the building enjoys water supply round the clock then this would be something to brag about especially if it is in an area with relative water shortage like Zimmerman for example.

It is always advisable to start with the best feature. What is the best thing about this rental? Is it the location? Is it the size? Is it water availability in a hood where it is normally a problem? Whatever it is, that is the feature you start with.

Mental images

It is important that on top of giving the necessary information, you help the person picture themselves in that house. For that reason, you must have a target tenant in mind. If you want to appeal to a family then talk about all the schools in the vicinity. Talk about all the play areas and kid fun spaces in the area. Talk about safety and security. Use adjectives that show the unit in the best light. However, do not go so overboard on the adjectives that you start to oversell or embellish. For example a spacious two-bedroom house with a beautiful view of the sunset. That puts the tenant-right there in front of that window with vast space behind them. They may want to visit the property just to see the view.


These are the third most important element of your ad. It will complete the mental image that will be evoked by your description of the house. The pictures will help the person visualize a more accurate picture of the unit.

Please note the use of plural. That is because you will need several pictures of the unit for it to be accurately represented. Some areas of the house will need to have multiple angles. Like the living room for example. What does it look like as soon as you walk in the door? Can the person looking at these pictures do a quick floor plan of what the house would look like with their stuff inside? Can they immediately place their couch and entertainment stations? If the unit is a big house with multiple floors then you will need a view of the downstairs from the top. You will need to show chandeliers and fireplaces. The number of pictures and angles will depend on the kind of house. It will depend on what your target tenant would be interested in seeing.

They should also be professionally taken, preferably. If you cannot afford to have them taken professionally then at least invest in a good camera and take proper pictures. They should not be blurred. They should not have unsightly shadows in them. Do not waste space on random pictures of the toilet seat unless it is gold plated and can read you the news. Also, watch how you place them in the ad. The placement should be chronological. While flipping through the person should feel like they are getting a walk around the house. You will be required to take a header picture. The picture that will accompany your title. You should be careful about this. A good idea would be to pick a shot from the front door.

Keep in mind…

  • Your aim is to be clear and detailed but also interesting at the same time. You want to communicate but also be remembered. Your ad should provide as much information as possible. It should also be interesting enough such that the person will not click off without reading the entire thing. No need for complete sentences but also make sense. For example, ’18 pm’ instead of ‘The rent is 18,000 per month’. Speaking of which, abbreviations are your friend. Use ‘BR’ instead of ‘bedroom’. This will save you a lot of space. It will help you say more. However, be careful not to use abbreviations that would be hard to decipher.
  • The kinds of words you use will also be very important. First, read up on real estate buzzwords. Words that may say one thing but communicate another. For example, if you say kitchenette everyone will know that it is barely three inches of space with a counter and cabinets. You should also be mindful of keywords. These are words that anyone or most people would use to search for a unit like yours. That means do not be fancy and say- budet.
  • Review your ad often. There are resources you can use to check how much activity your ad is getting. Compare that to the actual calls and inquiries you have received. If those numbers are not closer to equal than unequal then your ad is the problem. Look through your ad and find the problem. Try to get a few people to help you correct it and make it more appealing to your target tenant.
  • Speaking of your target tenant, you should think about who this person should be before you start to draft the ad. If you plan to house families then they probably want to know about the schools. Highlight that fact. Create a character in your head and write an ad for that person. Imagine what questions they would have and answer them.