When an apartment or house is coming on the market for rental there are a few things I do to make sure that it is priced accurately for the market and in line with the owner’s wishes, assuming those wishes are reasonable and based in reality.
First I check online for comparable units. If it’s a house I only compare with other houses. Matching the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is essential. And I try to find units whose location is near to, or equally desirable, as the neighborhood in which I have a house to let.
Currently I use Craigslist and Zillow. I never blindly rely on the Zillow suggested prices, which I find to vary widely above and below the actual price that the market will bear.
Then I bring my suggested price to the client and we have a conversation. If my client wants to try for a price that I think is more than what the market will bear I simply post an ad to test it out.
Since I advertise at least 45 days before a vacancy–unless that’s not possible for some reason–we have some leeway to test out prices. If they don’t pan out we still have weeks before a vacancy.