Making a property move-in ready often requires more than cleaning up.
Today we are on-location at a property in Houston with Pete Neubig, Regional Director of Texas with Mynd Property Management, to discuss what needs to be done to make this property move-in ready, and what investors and property managers should look out for when making their own property ready for new tenants.
Steve Rozenberg: Hi everyone.
This is Steve with Mynd Property Management Houston and I am here in Texas, with my good friend, Pete Neubig, who is the Regional Director of Texas for Mynd.
Pete, so tell us a little bit about this property that we're at now.
Pete Neubig: Sure. So, we're in a house in Katy.
One of the things that we like, as investors in Katy, is that they have a really good school district, which brings really good renters or tenants to the property. So, in this house here, we're standing in the living room.
What we like about this house is, notice here we have laminate flooring. And then we have the tile from the kitchen area, the dining room and kitchenette area.
And we like the fireplace, it's real nice.
Pick the Right Paint Color (Beige)
Pete Neubig: Now, with this house here, the owner probably lived in this house. I don't know for sure, but most likely, because you could tell the coloring on the walls.
Now, even though the coloring is kind of bluish, which we're not—
Steve Rozenberg: We wouldn't pick that.
Pete Neubig: As investors, we would use the color beige. It's still a soft enough color, and it was a really good paint. And it's in good shape.
Kitchen Size Matters
Steve Rozenberg: And the nice thing about these houses, especially here in Texas, is the kitchen area is open, so it makes the house look much bigger because the kitchen is open.
Pete Neubig: Along with the high ceilings, as well.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, the high ceilings, as well. 80% of your time is spent in the kitchen. So again, this is good. The kitchen looks great. I mean, the stainless steel appliances. The cabinets look good. This house is ready to go.
Pete Neubig: This house is going to run a little bit higher than a normal house that we have. This house is going to rent about $2,000. And so that's why, with a house for $2,000, you will get new paint.
You want to have a nice floor and you want to have the higher-end, nicer appliances.
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. So we'll take a look around the rest of the house and we'll show you some more stuff.
Okay. So now we are in the master bedroom. Good size. You can tell, like you said earlier that there are distinct colors here, right?
Blue paint, but it still looks nice.
Consider Carpet in Bedrooms
Pete Neubig: The paint's a little too dark for me. But because you have the high ceiling, and you have a lot of windows, it doesn't make the room too small.
Steve Rozenberg: It doesn't make it dark.
Pete Neubig: Now the thing I like about this house, and this is not something I would normally do. Normally, I would do carpet in bedrooms. But, look at how beautiful this floor looks. And so it actually brings like a real modern look to it. And so, when people come to see this to rent this, the flooring doesn't matter at this point. You can put an area rug here.
Paint is in really good shape here. The crown molding and you notice the two-tone paint which makes it look real nice. And then of course the small things like you have new switch plate covers.
The Little Details Matter
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. It's the little details like the switch plate covers that make a huge difference.
Okay. So, now we are in the master bathroom. This is a typical master bathroom for a house. And like you said, someone obviously probably was a person that lived in this property before they turned it into a rental, just the way it was taken care of.
Cleanliness Matters Too
Pete Neubig: The main thing you can tell here, Steve, with this whole house is how clean it is. So, there's two things that really sell properties to renters. Number one is paint.
Does it have that new paint smell, or at least, does it look like brand new paint? Which this house has the brand new paint look.
And two, is it clean? This house is incredibly clean.
Large Storage and Closet Spaces
Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, very nice. And you know, again it looks open and everything, let's take a look at the master closet. Now, this is a little bit bigger than the average master closet. So, just to give you an idea. But look, this is pretty big.
This could be a bedroom in some cities, right?
Pete Neubig: I know my first place I lived in, I rented a room that was smaller than this whole room. But yeah, this is an incredible master closet.
Steve Rozenberg: And they did a great job with the shelving and everything.
Pete Neubig: And the nice thing is, again, you have got this type of flooring throughout the house. So, there's no carpet in this house. So, mainly when somebody does move out two years later, it's minimal. And if they dump this chip, you just pull this whole thing up.
Steve Rozenberg: That one piece.
Pete Neubig: Correct.
Steve Rozenberg: This right here is another bedroom, and this is what's considered a Jack and Jill closet. But here's another bedroom that, again, looks nice.
This could have been a nursery or something.
Pete Neubig: If you look here, you can see there's a couple of holes that were here for nails. They were able to paint over. Because it's so small, you can barely see. You can see if you look for. But if you're a tenant looking at this—
Steve Rozenberg: You're not going to go to that. It's not going to be a problem.
Pete Neubig: And it's not like I'm not paying rent to this house because of this right here. So, we don't like doing a touch up in most cases. But there are some cases where it does work very well, especially on this type of paint.
Steve Rozenberg: And then again, the flooring doesn't? It's shiny. It looks good. It's open. You've got the white half, and then it goes to the dark paints. If it was all dark, it may look a little darker. This just happened to be the way it is with the halfway, and that looks pretty good.
Pete Neubig: And it's like little things like this, a little blemish. But, when the house is super clean, when the house is super light, the paint is great in most everywhere in the house, and you got great flooring and it smells good in the house, that's when these little things get—
The Finishing Touches (Like Blinds)
Steve Rozenberg: You get higher rent. And even something like this—if you look at the blinds, these are nicer, upgraded blinds. They're a little more expensive, but it just adds a nicer touch.
And if you want more money for your rental property, these are the things you have to do—these finishing touches that make the difference.
Pete Neubig: Correct, and these two inch blind, they'll last longer than your little vinyl blinds that tend to break pretty quickly.
Backyard and Outdoor Space Landscaping
Steve Rozenberg: Yep, so we're going to go walk a little bit more. We're going to show you the backyard, and show you what is out there.
Okay, so now we're in the backyard. This is a beautiful backyard. It's got a covered backyard porch, which is very nice. Pete, talk about the backyard—kind of the grass and the structure and what's important to know about back here.
Pete Neubig: Yeah. So, one thing, the nice thing is they do have a little concrete here and it's covered, so you can spend time out here, which is a seller. But, notice here how the landscaping is kept up real nice.
But more importantly, notice the fence. So, a lot of times, we have clients that they don't want to fix a fence. There's broken pickets. But most of our residents, about 80% of our residents have a dog or some kind of pet. And so it's important that you have the yard and the fence kept up real well.
Steve Rozenberg: And it's important that you do this before the property is rented because once someone's here with an animal, and then the animal gets out because the fence is not fixed correctly, now it's a bigger problem.
Pete Neubig: Well and also, aesthetically, it's pleasing. The fence looks good, the landscaping looks good, people come in, and you want to sell the property, right?
And so to rent it, is to have good landscaping and, just like you do to paint, you want to have good landscaping, you want to have the fence kept up.
Attached vs. Detached Garage Space Tips
Steve Rozenberg: The extras are good here. So, let's take a look at the garage. This is a standard garage for a Texas property. This is called the detached garage. And so this is what a detached garage looks like. Very well taken care of.
Pete Neubig: Well, this is what a detached garage should look like. One thing you notice with the garage is that there are no things in the garage. So, there's nothing in the garage, right?
Steve Rozenberg: Which is important when you're trying to rent a property, that you don't have just stuff and put all of your trash in the garage while you're trying to rent it.
Pete Neubig: Especially if you haven't lived there in the past. And then notice, it's not finished. And it's okay if it's not finished. Here in Houston anyway, having a finished garage is not really necessary.
Steve Rozenberg: It only has to be finished if it's attached. If it's detached. It does not have to be. If it's attached, meaning it's part of the house, then it's got to be finished.
Pete Neubig: Then you want it to be finished. Correct. And of course it has the electronic garage door opener, which is necessary. Especially on a house that's renting for $2,000, you want to make sure that you have that as a feature.
Steve Rozenberg: Absolutely. Hey everyone. So, this was a house that was made to be rent ready. It's a beautiful house. What does this rent for, about roughly Pete?
Pete Neubig: So, this house is around $2,000. It's in Katy, which is a little suburb. It's about 30 minutes West of downtown Houston. It's close to two major highways, 99 and I-10. And it's in a great school district. So, and it's on a col-de-sac. Near parks. It's an amazing house.
Steve Rozenberg: Again, this is a great area. It's a great house. But again, this shows you what a house looks like, from what a make-ready could be, to what is done after and when the property is ready. So again, this is a standard house in Houston, Texas.
If you want to know more about Houston and learn about it, go to our website. It's mynd.co, M-Y-N-D.co. Or you can go to our Facebook group, MasterMynd Real Estate Investment Club on Facebook.
Bottom Line on Making a Rental Move-In Ready
When making a property move-in ready, it’s the little details that matter. This can mean replacing switch plate covers, or changing out old blinds.
Likewise, new tenants look for a property to feel new and clean. This obviously means making sure the house, itself, is clean, but also means touching up the paint or repainting completely.
It also means keeping up with landscaping and, equally important, maintaining the fence. As many tenants have pets, having a well-maintained fence is a clear draw. It also makes the home more attractive, overall.
Keeping the interior and exterior of the property maintained, as well as thoroughly cleaning a property before showing it are necessary to get tenants in quickly and keeping them happy, overall.