At Mynd Property Management, our regional construction manager has been in the industry for more than 10 years. He has some tips and some best practices for how to get your property rent-ready.
Getting a property rent-ready means ensuring it’s in the right condition to be listed on the market. If it’s an attractive, well-maintained home that’s priced competitively and being widely advertised, you’re probably going to generate a lot of interest as soon as it’s listed. But, you don’t want to let prospective tenants go and see it if you’re not sure that it’s move-in ready.
So, before you start taking those marketing photos or running those advertisements, make sure you’ve taken these important steps to prepare your home or unit for the local rental market.
Curb Appeal Counts
The best place to start your rent-ready process is with your curb appeal. This is especially important because a lot of prospective tenants will form an opinion about your property just by the way it looks from the outside. First impressions matter, especially when people are deciding where they want to live. So, make a good first impression. Give prospective tenants a reason to schedule a showing and view your property. Give them a reason to get excited about the property. The right curb appeal can tap into their emotions and help them to feel great about your property.
Start with the landscaping. If it’s a single-family home you’re renting out or a building with a lot of outdoor space, pay attention to the grass. You want to keep it mowed and healthy. If there are trees and bushes, make sure they’re trimmed and pruned. You don’t want a lot of branches covering the windows of the building or dropping onto the roof.
You want the building and the outside area to be clean. Remove any debris or trash, and look for eyesores like dead cars and broken furniture. Clean everything up when you’re listing a unit. If you have a single-family home, make sure the front door and the walkway are clear, clean, and easy to see. You need sufficient, bright exterior lighting and an easy, well-marked path to the home’s entrance.
Stand on the street or the sidewalk in front of the property. Does this look like a property that good tenants will want to enter and inspect? If it does, then you’ve created some great curb appeal.
It’s Time to Walk the Wall
Once you know your exterior curb appeal is on fleek, it’s time to walk the wall.
This is a process that professionals do when we’re inspecting the property or preparing it for the rental market. The idea is to enter the property through the front door and take an initial look around from that perspective. As you’re standing at the entryway, you shouldn’t see any spider webs or debris. There shouldn’t be any insects hurrying to hide. The paint needs to look good and the carpets need to look fresh and everything should look and smell right before you begin to look around.
Then, you will walk the wall. Start from the left or the right and follow the walls through the property until you’ve done a complete circle and you end up back at that front door.
This gives you the opportunity to check every inch of the apartment or the home. You can look at every outlet you pass, you can test each set of blinds that you encounter. You’ll be able to check windows to make sure they lock and look at screens to make sure they’re in place and in excellent condition. Look for cracks in windows or window frames. Check the paint and make sure there aren’t any scratches or blemishes on the walls. Turn on all the faucets, look for leaks under each sink, and run the garbage disposal. You want to open and inspect each appliance to make sure it’s clean and working.
Take a look at every bit of the property.
Make a List of Necessary Repairs
The next thing you need to do to prepare your property for the rental market is make a list of the things you may have noticed while walking the wall. Perhaps there was a light bulb that had burned out or an outlet that wasn’t working. Maybe a toilet seemed to be running or the air filter was caked with dust. Keep a checklist with you as you walk the walls so you can keep a detailed record of the things you encounter that need attention. Taking pictures is a good idea so you can make before and after comparisons.
Make sure your list is extensive and includes everything. Even if it’s a minor repair or a simple fix; add it to your list. You don’t want to overlook any of these things because the prospective tenants are going to walk into that house imagining that they can move right in. They won’t want to hear that you plan to get the dishwasher fixed and they don’t want assurances that you’ll be painting the walls as soon as a lease is signed. Everything needs to be right the first time they walk through the door.
Another reason to have a comprehensive list of repair and maintenance requirements is that you want your vendors and contractors to go over to that property one time only. You don’t want them going back and forth over and over again to fix things that weren’t noticed the first time. Time is money and it’s valuable. Make sure you’re minimizing the amount of time you’re preparing your rental property. If you have great relationships in place with vendors in your local area, you’ll be able to make these repairs and updates quickly and get that property on the market as soon as possible.
If you’re making the repairs yourself, go to the store with your list and gather everything you need. But, only make the repairs yourself if they are things that you know how to do. This isn’t something that you want to be casual about. It’s important to make all the necessary repairs and to make them properly. If there’s something that’s needed and it’s outside of your expertise, hire a professional. It’s going to save you time and money because professionals will get the job done quickly and they’ll get it done right the first time. You don’t want to keep making the same repair.
Replace what needs to be replaced. Sometimes, landlords will over-repair a system or an appliance that should really just be replaced with a new one. If your refrigerator keeps breaking down and it’s 20 years old, don’t spend the money to repair it. Buy a new one instead. This will cut down on the maintenance that’s required for your fridge, and you’ll have a brand new appliance that will really appeal to prospective tenants when they’re looking at your listing and visiting your property.
Check every system and every detail. Make sure it’s ready for tenants to see. By walking the wall, you’ll catch even the small issues. It’s worth your time. You don’t want to be called over to the unit in the first 30 days to fix something that you could have fixed before the tenants moved in. And, you don’t want your unit to be vacant for longer than necessary because you forgot or neglected to do something critical in the property. Be thorough. It keeps your tenants satisfied before they even move in, and you’re establishing a great relationship for the tenancy.
Check the Cleaning and Clean Again
Cleaning is critical when you’re getting your property rent-ready. It should be clean and free of dust and debris when you’re walking the walls. You don’t want any stains on the carpet or the floor. Hire a cleaning crew to really do a deep clean, which should include pulling the appliances away from the wall to clean and dust under them and behind them. You’d be amazed at the crumbs and dust that can gather around appliances.
While the initial cleaning is important, you also want to clean after the work is done. When you have repair people coming and going through the property, additional cleaning will probably be necessary before you put the home on the market.
If you don’t pay attention to the cleaning, you’ll have a longer vacancy. Good tenants will never be willing to move into someone else’s dirt.
These steps are important and they keep you from losing time and money. A rent-ready property will rent faster to better tenants and for more money.
If you don’t have the time or the resources to inspect your property before you list it, work with professionals who have experience in this area. With the help of our construction and maintenance teams, we’re pretty good and pretty fast at getting properties rent-ready. So, if you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Mynd Property Management or any professionals in the industry. We’d be happy to help you.