You may follow all the tips and tricks to get your renters to renew their lease, but sooner or later, you're probably going to deal with a move-out.
With these steps, you’ll be able to streamline the property turnover process, which will get your property on the market faster, save you time and money, and keep you from losing any of your rental income to vacancies.
Know in Advance
Knowing if your tenant is going to renew or not makes the turnover process much more manageable. With month-to-month rent, tenants only need to give a 30-day notice. With longer leases, you want to include as much information as possible in your policy.
If permitted under local laws, stipulate 60 days in your lease agreement. With a longer lease, ask in writing if your tenant plans to renew. If you're only allowed a 30-day notice, you can still ask your tenant for a moving notice at least two months ahead of their planned move out date.
If they don't intend to renew, remind your tenants of the timeline and process they agreed to in their lease agreement.
General Maintenance, Cleaning, and Upgrading
Here’s what you should do right after the tenant moves out.
- Make sure all your appliances work.
- Replace some appliances (particularly if you haven’t had new tenants in a while).
- Keep in mind that replacing appliances can be costly, so do so only if it’s necessary.
- Caulk the sinks and tubs.
- Replace rusted fixtures.
- Inspect doorbells and doors.
- Replace broken cabinetry and faucets.
- When you make your repairs, invest in items that will last. That means not skimping on faucets, doorknobs, cupboards, etc. This will also minimize the number of complaints your tenants might have.
- If you have time and money, consider some upgrades.
- Replace the flooring
- Light fixtures
This will improve your property’s appearance and value and make it more durable in the long run.
- Have the landscaping taken care of (mowing, weed pulling, bush trimming, etc.)
- Have the property professionally cleaned after any painting or repairs. This means the carpet too.
- If the property is unoccupied for a week or more before the move-in date, go back for one final touch up. Your tenants saw the property in excellent condition, and that’s the condition it should be in when they move in.
Provide Your Tenants With a Move in/Move Out Form
A move in/move out form lists some minor forms of wear and tear. Your tenants fill out the form so that you know they’re not responsible for the damage. Of course, you should still get multiple shots from multiple angles of the entire property to document its appearance before any new occupants.
Rekey the Home and Use a Master Key System
Every time someone new moves in, you should rekey your property. You don’t want anyone besides yourself and your tenants to have access. Even if your previous tenants gave back the keys, they might have lost some. It’s just better to play it safe. The average cost of rekeying a home is $125, which is well worth the peace of mind.
You may also want to consider a master key system if you have an apartment building. This way, you only need one key to access all your units. After that, you can have your deadbolts rekeyed to match your master key system, which is less expensive than getting a new lock. And if your tenant needs a key replaced, they just visit the locksmith and pay for the key themselves.
Paint Between Move-Ins
After 3 to 5 years, you should consider a full repaint. Before then, just touch up any normal wear and tear. Although, depending on the damage, you may have to do a complete repaint before the 3 to 5-year mark.
To save money on paint, buy in bulk. This way, you also avoid any confusion when it comes to matching the paint color. Even in units where two-tone paint is being used, continue to buy in bulk.
When it comes to choosing paint, think about your property and the community it’s in. An upgraded home in an upscale area merits at least a middle of the road quality paint. Basic paint will do if your home and appliances are standard issue. Whatever quality your home is in, don’t go with the most inexpensive color. It won’t hold up over time and will give your property a less inviting look.
Ditch the Carpet
Carpet is pricey, often needs replacing, and needs to be professionally cleaned before every move in. Instead, use luxury vinyl tile (LVT), ceramic tile, or some kind of snap together flooring. These options are more resilient, save you lots of money over time, and are easier to clean and maintain.
Use Mini Blinds
By installing mini blinds, you'll prevent your tenant from installing their own curtain rods or nailing blankets to cover the windows. This saves you the hassle of repairing drywall and, in a worst-case scenario, replacing any windows. Mini blinds can also help you find a tenant faster because curtains become one less concern that they have to worry about.
There are many reasons to use LED bulbs.
- They save money on electricity, so you'll save money between tenants when the cost of utilities is your responsibility.
- LED bulbs last between 25 and 50,000 hours, so you don't have to change your bulbs as often. This saves money and avoids frustration.
- Not all tenants replace their bulbs correctly. They may ruin light fixtures or ceiling fans. The longer the bulb’s lifespan, the less opportunity your tenant will have to do any damage.
Use the Same Cleaning Crew
If you use the same cleaning crew for each of your properties, they’ll know exactly what you want and won’t need to be managed. This will save time and money!
Advertise After Cleaning and Repairs
Put your best foot forward. That means advertising your property after it’s gotten its cleaning, repairs, and any renovations. This way, you also ensure there aren’t any dashed expectations if the repairs aren’t done by the time you start showing the apartment.
Bottom Line on Managing Tenant Turnover
The easier you make the repair process for yourself, the faster your property turnover will be. By keeping your unit clean, maintained and making a few upgrades, you’ll be able to get new tenants faster and can even increase your rent to cover your expenses.
And if you know how to avoid vacancies in your rental property, you’ll also have to confront the turnover property less often.