Whether preparing your property to rent for the first time or again after a tenant leaves, there are things to take care of to make the property rent-ready. With plenty of rental choices, make your property the one everyone wants to rent with our checklist of 10 tips for getting your property rent-ready.
A Thorough Check
The first step is to do a complete walkthrough of the entire property, both inside and out. If the property was rented before, this is essential. Is there any garbage left behind? Are the windows in good shape and do their locks work? Make a list of everything that needs to be repaired, replaced, or disposed of.
If this is the first time the home is rented, inspect it anyway. Even if it’s only sat for a week, you never know what changes could occur. You may want to consider a home inspection from a professional if it’s been a while or hasn’t happened at all. Home inspectors know what to look for and won’t miss a thing. It’s not a bad idea to build a relationship with one or add them to your investment team so they’re always available when the need arises. Here are the things a home inspector checks:
- Windows and doors
- Structural issues
- Attic and insulation
- Plumbing and electric
- Ceilings and walls
- Cracks and moisture in the basements and any of its windows
Investors sometimes cut costs in areas such as home inspections but doing so isn’t wise. It’s best to take care of any issues while they’re small instead of waiting until they get worse. If you don’t, the tenant might end up finding the problem first. It’s a great way to send a tenant running. Instead, have your home inspector do a thorough job, then make any necessary repairs, and feel confident letting potential renters know your rental property was recently, fully inspected.
Cleanliness is the most important of the 10 tips for getting your property rent-ready. A filthy property will turn renters away quickly, no matter how great everything else about the property is. Go room by room, cleaning them from top to bottom. Don’t forget the inside of cabinets, drawers, and appliances. Let’s look at a list of suggested areas to clean, assuming the property is emptied out.
- Stove and oven
- Bathroom vanities, including the insides of cabinets and drawers
- Pantry and closet shelves
- Window treatments
Replace When Necessary
As a property owner, it’s understandable that you want to cut costs when possible in order to enjoy more profit from your rental. However, there comes a time when spending money to replace broken-down things on the property is necessary to keep renters coming. Also, some replacements show you care and make tenants feel secure. Here are some examples of things that often need replacing when you own a rental property.
- The batteries in smoke detectors
- Locks on doors
- Furnace filter
- Ripped window screens
- Worn-out carpet
- Old appliances
Run a Few Tests
You won’t know a lightbulb is burnt out if you don’t test it. Go through the property and flip light switches off and on to see if bulbs need replacing. Don’t forget the outside lights. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, run faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen to check for leaks. Even outlets need testing now and then to make sure the wiring is still up to par.
Nothing freshens up a home like a coat of paint. After each renter leaves, new paint should go on the walls of your rental property. For instance, the mailbox post or any house trim will look brand new with a paint touchup.
When painting your rental property, always save any leftover paint to make touch-ups easier. Just remember to stir or shake the paint very well before using it.
Look at each new renter as a fresh start and a reminder to take care of maintenance. Stick with routine maintenance for your HVAC system. Give it a once-over to check for any needed servicing before new renters come in.
After one occupant has left a property, one way to make the next renter feel comfortable is to rekey the locks. A locksmith can do this on the spot quite quickly. The same locks stay in place but the pins are replaced, requiring a new key. It’s an added security measure that new tenants appreciate.
Don’t Forget To Look Down
There isn’t an area in a home that sees more action than the flooring; dirty shoes, busy feet, and jostled pieces of heavy furniture scrape the floors daily. If furniture and rugs are moved as you prepare to rent the property, who knows what you’ll find under them. As we mentioned, if it’s needed, then the flooring should be cleaned thoroughly or even replaced. When a rental is empty, the floors take center stage. Install new carpet, refinish wood floors, and replace any flooring that’s no longer acceptable.
Find an Agent
This is an often-overlooked tip when getting your property rent-ready. Who else, other than a real estate agent, keeps a list of people needing a home? It’s not a common practice. Add a successful real estate agent to your property investment team if you’re forming one and make your property the one they refer their clients to. Preparing ahead of time ensures a property doesn’t sit vacantly.
Find a Property Manager
With so much to take care of and prepare for when owning rental property, you’ll need someone who makes that their full-time job. You, most likely, don’t have time for it. A property manager takes care of everything we discussed today and also screens tenants so you don’t have to.
Owning rental property is a great investment and it comes with great responsibility. Renters are counting on you to provide a safe, clean, and healthy environment for them. Every extra step you take to make that happen makes your property the one that will never be vacant.
Excalibur Homes, voted “Best in Georgia,” understands the needs of property owners, and that’s why we offer full-service rental property management in Birmingham, AL, and surrounding areas. Contact us and let’s discuss how we can help you get your property rent-ready.