Gumtree, the online classified adverts site, has always been a top choice for landlords looking to rent out their properties. Firstly, it’s free to use and you simply post your property ad on the site for prospective tenants to see. Secondly, adverts on Gumtree generally produce a good response rate: many landlords report a flood of enquiries from potential tenants. But is it all as simple as it sounds? We take a look at the potential problems with advertising your property on Gumtree.
1. Quantity over quality
It’s true that enquiries through Gumtree are plentiful, but are these applicants actually suitable? Many users report that applicants aren’t serious, aren’t right for the property or haven’t even read the details in the advert. When you’re screening lots of applicants personally, hearing ‘how much is the rent again?’ can get very frustrating! You may also find that a lot of applicants with pets will apply to properties on Gumtree, because they get the chance to speak to the landlord directly and explain their situation rather than the blanket ruling of many lettings agents: ‘No pets allowed’. Whilst this isn’t an issue if you are happy to accept a tenant with pets, it could get trying if you don’t.
2. Free for a fee
Gumtree is technically free to use. But when your property is competing with potentially 100’s of others in a small area, it can get lost in the mix and end up right at the end of the search pages. Gumtree offer a solution to this by giving landlords the option to ‘bump’ their property listing back to the top of the list, but for a price. With costs ranging from around £3 per day outside of London and £7 per day in London to bump a listing, this can start seriously adding up for a ‘free’ service.
3. Rightmove triumphs
At Upad, we were interested to see how the online lettings portals compared in terms of where enquiries were coming from. We found that we received 4 Rightmove enquiries for every Gumtree enquiry! We also found that enquiries from Rightmove were statistically more likely to lead to a tenancy than with Gumtree. When you consider that you can get your property on Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location for £120, the equivalent of 2 and a half weeks of ‘bumping your advert’ on Gumtree, and with better quality applicants, Gumtree just doesn’t compare to the big players.
4. Website woes
The website isn’t easy to navigate, and the general layout is cluttered and confusing. Updates aren’t pushed through regularly, if at all, and it can take 24 hours for Gumtree to action a change to your advert- valuable time in lettings. You may also find that because of the older operating system the website uses, your advert may not be displayed correctly in the first place. The search function is also difficult to use, because it needs to be standardized for anything a user might search for on the website. So you may find it difficult locating your own advert on Gumtree, let alone your next tenant finding it!
5. Anything and everything
Gumtree isn’t just for property listings; you can find used car parts in the same place as your next rental property! Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why the seriousness of applicants can fall a bit short, as it’s much easier for someone to make a quick enquiry with no intention to move right away.
Whilst Gumtree has been a big player for savvy landlords looking for a cost effective way to advertise their properties in the past, many are finding the problems outweigh the savings and looking to alternatives – even if it means spending a bit extra to get the results.