Preparing Your Property for Rent

20 Tips for Getting Your Property Ready to Rent

Many landlords underestimate the importance of getting their property ready to rent the right way.

I have watched numerous investors buy a property, do minimum repairs, and rent the property as fast as they possibly can.  

Here is what happens more often than not if the property is not in proper rentable condition.

  1. The only tenants who will look at it or rent it are the ones who have no choice. They have either bad credit or some other issues in their background. This leads to evictions and many other problems.
  2. The landlord has no standing to request from the tenant to maintain the property because they gave it to them in bad condition. If the owner doesn’t care for their property, why should they?
  3. The tenant starts calling the first day after the move in and this continues until everything that should have been fixed is fixed. This costs a lot more money because every trip the handyman makes costs extra. Sometimes breakdowns happen on the weekend which either frustrates the tenant or costs extra.
  4. And finally, the deferred maintenance leads to even more problems and even costlier repairs.

I am sharing this with you because I have seen this happen many times. 

Smart landlords prepare the property so it’s appealing to tenants but also in a way that will be durable and minimize expenses in the long run.

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The 20 tips that are listed below are collected from my decade long experience as a landlord and property manager for hundreds of properties. I wish someone had given me this list before I started. It would have saved me thousands of dollars in maintenance and costly repairs.

  1. If the property doesn’t have a water shut off valve, get one installed. If you have a major leak inside the home, the tenant can turn the water off quickly.
  2. Recaulk bathtubs, sinks – this doesn’t cost much and will save you thousands in water damage.
  3. Clean the dryer vents and leave instructions for the tenants on how to use and clean the dryer. Each year, 35 million in property loss and 100 deaths are reported from fires caused by clothes dryers.
  4. Change the AC filter and pour vinegar into the drain line to clean it. If you have a Home Warranty, make sure you get a professional HVAC company to tune-up your system or the warranty will become void.
  5. Install Freeze Protector on your AC, it saves the evaporator coils from freezing.
  6. In areas where there is a lot of lightning, advise your tenants to get a surge protector if the Electric company offers them. It protects not only your AC but also the tenant’s electronics.
  7. Check all blinds and replace them if needed.
  8. Check all faucets for drips and leaks, check inside the sink cabinets.
  9. Spray for pests, outside and inside.
  10. If you are replacing floors, choose tiles in the south and durable wood floors like engineered wood in the north, remove all carpet.
  11. One of the most common repairs requested is the refrigerator’s ice makers. If you are buying new appliances choose a fridge without an ice maker. There are many fridges that look great but don’t have an icemaker. This doesn’t apply to high-end rentals.
  12. If you just bought the property and it has different colors in each room or even if it’s just an outdated color, paint it. Very neutral paint is Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. Painting the whole house will serve two purposes: one, you will know exactly the color you used so when you have a tenant turnover you can just do simple touch-ups, and two, it will increase the appeal of the property greatly.
  13. Paint the front door and change the hardware if it’s outdated. This is your chance to install smart door locks to help with self showing the property, letting maintenance in, and eliminating lockout calls.
  14. Buy a welcome mat. It keeps your property cleaner when showing it and adds a homey feel.
  15. Clean the whole house, this includes the windows.
  16. Pressure wash the house, driveway, and fence (if needed). If you are doing it yourself get a surface cleaner attachment for your pressure washer. It makes the jobs much easier.
  17. Mow the lawn, trim bushes, weed, and mulch.
  18. If your property is in an area that has high crime, add a strike plate to your door, install motion-activated lights. 
  19. For single-family homes, one improvement that pays off is a fenced back yard. It improves the security and attractiveness of the property.
  20. Finally, check your smoke alarms with a smoke alarm tester. We also make videos of these tests and keep them on file.

Finally, prepare a property’s maintenance kit, which you should give to your tenants. This is what should go into it.

If you prepare your property and make it as attractive as possible, the pay off will be lower maintenance cost, higher rent, and better long term tenants.

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