Upgraded listings DO NOT cost money, they save it.

Contributed By: Nick Buick on

There is a VERY strong mentality amongst onsite managers, that upgraded listings are expensive. I hear it every day. I get managers calling me up telling me they desperately need to find a tenant, and they’re losing rent, and when I explain the very simple solution is to boost exposure, they balk because of the ‘high cost’ of an upgrade. This is wrong-headed thinking and not the correct way to approach marketing. Marketing doesn’t cost money, marketing saves money!!! Good agents know this.

The average real estate agent commits hundreds of dollars EVERY MONTH on EVERY RENTAL LISTING to market them. In fact most real estate offices are now on UPGRADE ALL plans, where they automatically upgrade every single listing, every 30 days. They pass this cost onto the landlord of course, so it doesn’t actually cost them anything, but *why* do they do this?

They do this because they understand the most expensive thing in property management, is an empty rental. No one’s getting paid in that scenario, not the owner, not the manager. A couple of hundred dollars is nothing, compared to six weeks trying to find a suitable tenant. If you’re the only manager in your suburb who isn’t upgrading your listings, that’s a lot of listings prospective tenants will be scrolling past before they even see yours. It’s going to take vastly longer to get enquiries, and find tenants, and your rent will suffer as a result. Less rent, more empty days cost your owners a fortune.

Whenever my own personal properties come up for rent, I always upgrade them, straight away. This gives them the best fighting chance of getting a quality tenant quickly, and at reasonable rent. If you have to drop your rent just five dollars, it will have cost your owner more than if they’d simply taken out a highlight listing in most suburbs. If your $500 a week rental sits empty for just 3 days, it will have lost more in rent than the same upgrade as well. If you drop your rent $5 and sit empty for three days, your rent loss has DOUBLED the price of a highlight upgrade. In reality, owners agree to drop their rent far more than this and tolerate sitting empty far longer than this when their campaign has failed to attract a tenant – and managers have to convince them this is a good idea. Why? It isn’t a good idea at all, what managers should be doing is convincing the owner that if they want to compete with the other listings in their area, and attract quality tenants paying top rent, quickly, they should commit a small amount of tax deductible marketing budget to get the job done. Is it a gamble? Sure, but it usually pays off. Dropping rent and sitting empty NEVER pays off, it’s a guaranteed loss.

Here’s a conversation I had just yesterday:

*manager calls me up*

Nick I haven’t had any enquiries on this rental and I’m freaking out.

That’s a thirteen hundred dollar listing!

Yes it’s a two story penthouse on the ocean. But we urgently need a tenant.

It’s really beautiful! Why don’t you upgrade it, it looks amazing but it needs way better exposure.

They cost money though right?

You know what else costs money? A thirteen hundred dollar listing sitting empty. If it sits empty for just one single day, the lost rent will exceed the upgrade cost.

My owner won’t want to pay for that, it’s a break lease.

If it’s a break lease, your tenant will have to pay the rent every week it sits empty till a new tenant is found, for just one day’s rent they have to pay anyway, they can get a replacement tenant faster and save themselves a fortune! It’s a no brainer!

That’s a good idea Nick. I will put it to them, thanks.

That’s why I’m here.

I generally have a discussion like this once per day, every day, with a manager (hence why I’m writing this article, so you can all hear it at once). Upgrades don’t cost money, upgrades MAKE money.

Some other questions I get asked DAILY about upgrades:

Q: How much will it cost to upgrade my listing?

A: There are a lot of factors involved to determine the price, I can’t tell you off the top of my head, but the site will know. Simply open your listing up, view (or enter, if a new listings) the address making sure it’s valid, then click the Campaign Upgrades panel, this will show you all the upgrades available and their exact costs for your type of listing, in your area.

Q: How long do upgrades last?

A: 30 days, but you shouldn’t NEED 30 days because it’s an UPGRADE! The whole point is to fill the rental as fast as possible. For normal agents, the remainder of their campaign is forfeited once a tenant is found, however as all your listings are in the same location you can easily reuse your upgrade on a different listing, once a tenant has been found for the original one. This lets you spread upgrade costs between multiple listings for an entire month, giving you a huge competitive advantage against outside agents. You should capitalise on this, it’s crazy not to.

Q: My owner doesn’t want to pay to upgrade. Won’t they’ll just switch to an outside agent?

A: Have you asked them? *MOST* outside agents these days are on upgrade all plans already, meaning most agents will charge a marketing fee as a default and mandatory cost, if they don’t want to upgrade, they’d be better off staying with you who can offer them the choice and freedom of upgrading or not, but I strongly recommend upgrades.

Q: How do I upgrade, what do they look like, what information is there on them?

A: Every single time you advertise a listing on our site, you scroll past the Campaign Upgrades panel, it’s right there on the listing while you edit it. Simply open this panel up, everything you need to know is in there! Prices, examples of each type of upgrade, even downloadable brochures explaining the benefits and features. It’s all there, take a look!

Upgrade Listing FAQs

Please, give upgrades some consideration, and consider the TRUE cost of not upgrading. In most cases, upgrades will be much cheaper than the “free” alternative.


  1. I totally agree with Nick, if my owners do not want to upgrade, I will upgrade it and pay for it because when I get the new tenants i will have the one week letting fees to cover. The upgrade listing definitely shortens the vacancy and it always works for me.

  2. Author

    I just sat down with REA yesterday and they compiled a series of case studies off our own listings. The difference in vacancy rates of upgrade to standard listings is very large. I will run a follow-up article on this in the next week.

  3. I agree with Nick, its money well spend.
    Most of the savvy investors will appreciate a quick turnaround. At the moment I have more tenants wanting rentals , than rentals I can supply, however when it turns around and it will soon, I will implement this, we all know it works.

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