Do Paper Ads Work for Rental Properties?

No landlord wants to be sitting on a vacant unit. To get your unit occupied quickly by a high-quality tenant, you must create a compelling listing and market your property well.

On average, you’ll be competing against 100 other properties in a real estate market, and demand is only increasing. For this reason, it’s crucial that you reach the widest pool of renters you can.

If you’re new to property management, you may be wondering where to advertise your property. After all, there are several marketing avenues available to you these days.

Back in the day, the only options landlords had for marketing their rental properties were newspaper ads, yard signs, and printed flyers. But do these paper ad techniques still work? 

When to Use Paper Ads

Paper methods may work in densely populated areas that consistently receive a large amount of renters year after year. For example, a college campus might be a good place to post paper ads.

By posting a flyer or sign in a good location that receives a high volume of traffic, you can generate some interest in your property. On your ad, you should make sure to include a QR code that goes to your website.

Why You Can Usually Skip Paper Ads

In most cases, though, you should skip paper methods. The cost of making, printing, and placing paper ads is not worth it for the insignificant return you’ll receive.

Newspaper ads, for example, cost an average of $12 per inch. And since most people don’t read newspapers anymore, let alone use them to hunt for rental properties, posting ads in newspapers isn’t worth the cost.

Unless you’re in a highly concentrated area with a lot of tenant turnaround and can cheaply make yard signs and flyers to put in key locations, paper ads usually aren’t worth your time.

Online Marketing

Over the past decade or two, the internet has taken over property management marketing. 

There are a lot of sites designed for landlords to post listings for their residential or commercial properties. These listing sites have become the number one way renters look for apartments. 

Not only will your property get much more traction on listing sites than paper methods, but they’re also quicker and cheaper. While some have charges attached to them, listing rental property for free is an option on many listing sites. 

Here’s a rundown of some of the major listing sites available to you:

  • is the largest listing site in the country, attracting over 35 million renters each month. Landlords can post listings for free, and despite its name, lists every kind of rental, not just apartments.
  • Zillow Rental Manager is one of the most popular listing sites, and it’s well-received by landlords for having a user-friendly interface. While your first listing is free, Zillow charges $9.99 for each subsequent listing per week.
  • Craigslist, while not designed specifically for rental listings, is a great place to list your property. It’s free, and it’s become a high-traffic site for renters.
  • Airbnb is a great site to use if you’re looking to list your unit for short-term or vacation rentals. Listing your property is free.
  • Zumper is another popular site that’s free of charge and easy to use.

You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle by using listing syndication through property management software. With listing syndication, you only have to create one listing, which the software will post to multiple listing sites. This allows you to reach a wider pool of renters in a short period of time.

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about making and keeping track of individual listings for each site, which minimizes the risk of overlooking or missing an interested tenant. Listing syndication is a great way to save time and money by filling your vacancy quickly.


While newspapers, printed flyers, and yard signs were traditionally the methods of advertising that landlords used for their properties, they’re no longer the preferred methods. In most cases, paper ads have become obsolete and are not worth your time and energy. Most tenants look for properties online by searching popular listing sites, and as a result, these listing sites are your best bets for marketing your rental properties.