Your Rental Advert’s First 48-Hours (and Why They Matter So Much)

We’re analysing our rental data to bring landlords valuable insights on how to find great tenants quickly.

By looking at the most popular times for tenants to view your advert, and send you a message, we can learn some valuable lessons. 

The First 48 Hours 

The 48-hour period after your advert first goes live is usually the busiest. These keen early-bird tenants may end up being the best applicants you find, so it pays to be prepared. Make sure you have enough time to stay on top of the interest you receive.

That could mean:

All these things will help you be prepared to move quickly when those first enquiries come in during the first 48 hours of your tenant search. 

Distribution of tenant enquiries by days since rental advert goes live
This graph shows the average % of enquiries received on each day after the advert goes live on the portals.

But why are the first 48 hours the busiest, anyway? There are two reasons.

(i) Search Alert Emails & App Notifications

Firstly, tenants create alarms for new properties that meet their criteria. When a new property is published which meets their criteria, they will get a notification.

OpenRent allows users to create these search alerts easily. As do the portals, Rightmove and Zoopla. In theory, a tenant could be receiving three emails containing your property in one day, in addition to receiving notifications on the Rightmove and Zoopla apps. That’s a lot of prompting to look at your advert in the first day or two!

On top of all this, if tenants are searching for joint tenancies with family or flatmates, then they will be sharing your advert on social media and messaging applications. 

(ii) Sorting Order: New to Old is Default

Secondly, for tenants just generally scrolling, being new means you will be at the top of the search results. Both Rightmove and Zoopla list properties from newest to oldest by default.

That means that you will have pole position on Day 1. You may still be on the first page on Day 2. But by Day 3, you will have moved to the second or third page.

OpenRent, incidentally, does not rank properties based on how old they are. Because we are the landlord’s agent, not just a portal, we know that all our properties are available and remove them when they are let. That means that how ‘old’ they are is much less important. 

On OpenRent, your advert will always rank top of the results when it is the most relevant property, no matter how long it has been live.

Perfect First Time?

The importance of the first two days does not end here. On top of ~12% of enquiries coming through in the first 48 hours, it is also true that a massive 44% of advert views happen in that time, too. 

This graph shows the amount of views a randomly selected advert received on OpenRent. This property had nearly half its views on the first two days. It was let on Day 7 (the average OpenRent property is let in seven days) and then shown as ‘let agreed’ on the OpenRent site on Days 8, 9 and 10.

A typical property's distribution of page views on OpenRent.
A typical distribution of page views over the days after an OpenRent property advert goes live. The property was let on Day 7.

This is just one property. Remember that page-views vary significantly by day of the week. More on that here!

How to Use this Data to Find Tenants Quickly

If the majority of people who see your advert will do so in the first three days, then it is crucial to make sure your advert looks great as soon as it goes live. 

The majority of tenants who are looking for a property in your area with your number of bedrooms will see your property almost as soon as it is uploaded. If your property goes live with bad photos or without the right information in the description, then it will be too late to change it later. 

The tenants who wanted to see those nice photos will not be returning to your advert. They will be looking at the newest batch of properties in the inbox or at the top of the portals listings. 

Top Landlord Tips from this Data:

  • As a landlord, if you want to hijack the portals’ algorithms, you need to get your advert right first time.
  • Be prepared to act on high-quality tenant enquiries as soon as the second or third day. That means:
    • Be able to facilitate viewings (either yourself or via our new Accompanied Viewings service)
    • Know what you’re referencing process will be and how to order it
    • Understand the holding deposit procedure — Remember! It has recently changed due to the Tenant Fees Act.

Notable Replies

  1. this is all very good but many applicants dont read the listing or think they are exception to the landlords requirements >I advertise no pets but had at least two applicants who have pets. Also "no benefit applicants "and I must have had about 10 applicants on benefit. When I tell them I will do a check or reference They do not reply … .that speaks for itself… So out of a very good response those who fit what I am looking for are few. So a few questions weed out the chancers

  2. Avatar for Sam Sam says:

    Thanks for these comments Colin. Do you use our auto-reply message at all?

  3. Avatar for Amy2 Amy2 says:

    I’ve found that it’s best for your listing to hit Rightmove/Zoopla on Thursday evening/Friday morning.
    I think potential tenants tend to look at the new listings on a Friday with the intention of doing viewings over the weekend.

  4. No I dont use the auto reply

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This article is not intended to form legal or investment advice. Investments in property are not guaranteed and can decrease in value as well as increase.

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