If you ponder the idea of getting into the property rental niche, one of the first questions you may have is how you get rental leads.

Or maybe you are already in this real estate niche and still need to learn strategies and tactics to generate these leads.

This article will show you in three steps how to get rental leads. 

It’s written from a bird’s view but also includes a small case study, so you better understand the approach.

First off (spoiler alert): the property rental niche has a different dynamic than property sales because everything moves faster.

Understand the Target Audience of Rental Leads and Their Dynamics

I considered branching out into real estate rentals when I ran an international referral real estate agency.

I tested it for a few weeks and quickly realized that this real estate niche is a whole different game.

How so?

It’s really speedy, and if you don’t respond quickly to rental leads, you lose them faster than buyer leads. 

And this speed is faster or slower, depending on the rental prices you manage.

So, you will need to balance rental prices low enough to get steady business and high enough not to get overwhelmed with too much business overhead.

Now, let’s look a bit further into the different types of renters to better understand the target audience of rental leads.

Why is it essential to understand the target audience?

This is always key in everything (real estate) marketing and lead generation strategies because by knowing your audience well enough, you learn about their needs, problems, and more.

Based on this knowledge, you can derive offers and your messaging tailored to these needs, problems, etc.


Seven Types of Renters, Their Needs, and Marketing Channels to Reach Them

1) Young Professionals

Young professionals are people that have just started their careers, and they mostly belong to Generation Z and/or Millennials.

The best chances to reach Generation Z are via YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram

If you market on these platforms, you will reach 75% of Gen Z (source).

For Millennials, TikTok is not that important, but similar to Gen Z, YouTube and Instagram are important, too.

Additionally, they also use Facebook a lot (source).

Their needs are affordable rental properties because they often still have entry-level salaries. 

Also, they often need a convenient location close to work and amenities (think walkability).

2) Students

This group of people attends college or university.

It needs rentals near campus where they can live during their academic year.

Student renters again belong to Gen Z, which you can target, as already mentioned above, via YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

Additionally, you could use offline channels, such as campus bulletin boards and college and university housing services.

This renter group also needs affordable rent because of their limited income and proximity to campus.

The rental properties also often need to be more short-term because of the academic schedules.

3) Families

These are renters with children, belonging mostly to Millennials and Generation X.

You can target Millennials on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, and Generation X on YouTube and Facebook, but also via direct mailing (source).

So, compared to Millennials, when targeting Gen X, Instagram gets thrown out, and direct mail gets added.

Family renters need a spacious family-friendly place for their members and also need closeness to schools, family-friendly amenities, and parks. 

Additionally, they want safety and security for their families.

4) Retirees

As the name indicates, this group of renters comprises retired individuals or individuals about to retire.

Currently, most retirees belong to the generation of baby boomers. 

A while back, I already wrote an article about how to market real estate to this group; you can find it here.

While some also use social media like Facebook, the best bet to target them via online marketing is to use SEM (search engine marketing) as a channel and direct mail.

You may also consider local newspapers, magazines, and online classifieds. (e.g., Craigslist)

What are their needs?

They often need affordable rent because of their fixed retirement income.

Also, they often have concerns about the safety and security in the neighborhood and need rental properties suitable for their aging needs.

5) Freelancers/Remote Workers

Tenants from the freelancers/remote workers group work primarily from home and are often spread over various generations.

So you may deal with Gen Z, Millennials, and even Gen Xers.

All the earlier mentioned marketing channels for these demographics can be viable to target this tenant group.

What are their needs?

Since they work from home, they need a dedicated workspace and a reliable, fast internet connection.

Additionally, the location should be quiet and peaceful to support their productivity.

6) Couples

The couple’s tenant group is romantic partners looking for a place to live together.

Typically, they belong mostly to the Gen Z and Millennials groups. Thus you can target them through the marketing channels mentioned earlier.

What are their needs?

They prefer living close to entertainment and other social activities and need privacy and personal space.

7) Single Professionals

As the name indicates, this type of renters are singles and belong to either the age group of baby boomers or Gen Z (source).

Therefore, you can use the ideal marketing channels for both demographics: 

SEM (search engine marketing) and direct mail to target baby boomers and YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to target Gen Z.

Because of their likely limited income, they need affordable rental properties. 

The location should also be closer to work and amenities.

So, regarding getting real estate rental leads, you will likely deal with one of these seven groups.

And for your real estate lead generation strategy, you may want to focus only on one of them.


It’s similar to why it is beneficial to focus on one real estate niche, covered in my article about this topic here.

Here is an excerpt of the benefits:

  • Fewer competitors
  • Better ability to focus your business efforts, such as lead generation
  • Higher chances of clients being loyal
  • Easier to show your expertise in the niche

Regarding the needs, I didn’t dive too deep into them. 

However, if you choose one group, you want to dig a bit deeper into their needs, so you can produce better sales copy for your marketing channels.

Below I prepared a table with an overview of the various renter types and viable marketing channels to target them.

Renter TypeDemographic 1Marketing ChannelsDemographic 2Marketing ChannelsDemographic 3Marketing Channels
Young professionalsMillennialsYouTube, Instagram, FacebookGen ZYouTube, TikTok, Instagram--
StudentsGen ZYouTube, TikTok, Instagram----
FamiliesGen XYouTube, Facebook, direct mailingMillennialsYouTube, Instagram, Facebook--
RetireesBaby boomersSEM (search engine marketing), direct mailing----
Freelancers/Remote workersGen XSEM (search engine marketing), direct mailingMillennialsYouTube, Instagram, FacebookGen ZYouTube, TikTok, Instagram
CouplesMillennialsYouTube, Instagram, FacebookGen ZYouTube, TikTok, Instagram--
Single professionalsBaby boomersSEM (search engine marketing), direct mailingGen ZYouTube, TikTok, Instagram--

You also want to remember that tenant leads have a much higher customer awareness level.

If you want to read up on the different real estate lead types, you can do that here.

Most of them are either already warm or hot.

It’s not the same as with properties for sale, where you may get many leads that may or may not be interested in buying or selling a year from now.

No, these leads may want to move and act in a few days or weeks.


19 Types of Property Rentals

Conversely, you must also know what type of landlords to target with your lead generation.

And depending on what renter type you focus on, you will know what type of landlord and rental property in which location to target.

Here is a small list of 19 rental property types:

  • Apartments
  • Condos
  • Townhouses
  • Duplexes
  • Triplexes
  • Lofts
  • Houses
  • Guest houses
  • Studios
  • Cottages
  • Cabins
  • Mobile homes
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Retirement homes
  • Student housing
  • Shared houses
  • Micro-apartments
  • Co-living spaces
  • Commercial properties (see my article here)

How to know which comes first, generating renter or landlord leads?

It depends on your market situation. 

A good rule of thumb is always to focus on the more scarce side, thus having more value.

Note an oversupply of vacant rental properties, but it’s hard to find tenants? In that case, you want to focus on generating tenant leads.

And if there is a lot of demand from renters, but only a small inventory of rental properties, you target the landlords.

Set Your Rental Leads Goals

The typical commission for real estate agents working with property rentals in the U.S. is one month’s rent (source).

Yes, there are other ways of charging commission, but this is the most common.

Knowing how many rental leads (landlords or tenant prospects) you need depends on your annual income goal.

Say you want to earn $57,000, free of taxes. 

At an assumed tax rate of 25% and a 50/50 commission split with your brokerage, you would actually need to make $152,000.

This number results from dividing $57,000 by 50% (commission split) and then dividing by 0.75 (25% income tax).

Let’s assume your rental niche is student housing, and the average rent is $850.

To make $152,000 per year finding landlords and/or students to rent the different units, you must close 179 transactions per year ($152,000 divided by $850).

That’s 15 per month, and, if you ask me, it’s a lot of transactions (almost 4 per work week).

You may already see what I mentioned earlier. 

Depending on the rental property you focus on, you may have to deal with a significant business and organizational overhead.

Let’s also assume that there is an oversupply of student housing, and you need to target the renters, hence Gen Z.

To reach them, you will likely use marketing channels like YouTube, TikTok, and/or Instagram.

Already have a following on these channels? In that case, you may post relevant content, e.g., promotional posts about the rental property.

If you don’t have an organic following, you can use Ads.

Suppose you use TikTok Ads. In that case, you will need to factor in the cost per lead you have on this platform.

According to my article, in which I collected different lead costs, you may pay $1.37 per lead.

If we further assume sales closing rate (my article) of 10% (the average is 27%) and your need of 15 “rental closings” monthly, you will need 150 leads per month.

This means you need to factor in a monthly budget of $205.50 to generate these 150 leads so you can convert 15 of them at 10% to rental clients working with you.

Assess Your Constraints and Compare Them with Available Marketing Channels

Once you have set your rental-lead goals and calculated the budget you need to reach them, it’s a good idea to also assess your constraints.

Because chances are your constraints may conflict with your goals and the methods to reach them.

An example of a constraint could be that you need to reach this goal within a year.

Still, you neither have a (large enough) following on the mentioned social media platforms nor experience running ads on them nor the minimum monthly budget needed.

If, in the above example, you only would have a monthly budget of $100 and no experience but want to reach the goal within twelve months, being in the student housing niche may be unviable for your situation.

As you can see, many factors and constraints need to be compared with the actual lead generation methods to reach the set goals.

By the way, the Ultimate Real Estate Lead Gen Strategy & Performance Suite can help you find the right lead gen strategy factoring in various constraints and your individual goals, so you don’t focus on a niche and marketing channels.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher