Whether you’re renting out for the first time or trying to fill a vacant property, there are steps to take to get rent-ready. Before making adjustments to your home, sit down and create a plan for your rental. Are you renting it out for the long term? Do you plan on moving in afterward, or eventually selling the property?
Answering these questions will make it easier to decide what needs to get repaired or replaced. By focusing on your property’s safety, maintenance, and cleanliness, you can provide the best home for renters.
Safety should be on the top of your home improvement checklist. Failure to provide a safe and livable home to tenants leaves landlords open to liability. Inspect all areas of your house for anything that does not meet your city’s compliance standards.
All rental units are required by law to have two exits in the event of a fire or other emergency– this includes doors and windows. Keep in mind that an adult must be able to fit through a window for it to be considered an exit.
Check handrails, stairs, and decks to make sure nothing is loose or otherwise dangerous. Repair anything that poses a safety risk. If there are trees near your home, inspect them and trim any branches that are too close to the property and could cause damage.
Details like adding new batteries in every smoke and carbon monoxide detector are an inexpensive way to prevent danger. Carbon monoxide detectors are a life-saving must have, especially if your property has an attached garage or any gas appliances. Be extra cautious and change the batteries every time a tenant moves out, especially if you are unsure if previous tenants switched the cells themselves.
Mold not only causes expensive damages to your home, but it can also pose serious health threats to your tenants. Look for rust in bathroom tiles and fixtures, dark corners of the laundry room, and closets.
All homes built before 1978 require lead paint testing. Lead paint forms dust as it deteriorates which is toxic, especially to small children. Lead paint must be inspected and removed by professionals who are certified by the EPA.
It’s better to have the home treated for pest-control while it’s vacant than to wait until unwanted house guests bug your tenants. Save yourself the trouble and schedule regular treatments by a professional pest control company.
Repairs and Maintenance
Everything in the home should be in good working order before tenants move in. Go through and test your home’s appliances and equipment. An inspection such as this should include heating, plumbing, electric, ventilation, air conditioning, kitchen, laundry units, and so on. These components of the home should be in good condition no matter what.
Make sure all windows open smoothly, and the tracks are clean. Replace broken screens and ensure locks work properly. Also, take this time to rekey or replace all bolts on your property for new tenants.
After assuring everything is in working order, assess your plan and the value of your home before deciding what else needs some TLC. Try to avoid upgrading beyond what other homes in the neighborhood have. You could waste money without doing much for the value of your property. It’s important to assess which upgrades will make your home rent faster and have the highest return on investment. Minor changes to your kitchen and bathrooms, such as adding a fresh coat of paint, swapping out hardware, or updating appliances are most likely to pay off in the long run.
A neutral coat of paint throughout your home will instantly make it look spotless, and you can save money by painting it yourself.
For many homes, cleaning is the most significant part of getting rent-ready. Not only do renters expect the house to be spotless for move-in, but many also use the neatness of the property to gauge its maintenance level.
Get top-to-bottom interior cleaning by professionals who can get every bit of your property clean. From scrubbing the molding to cleaning out the refrigerator, no part of your property will be left out.
Hire a professional to clean carpets because vacuuming alone will not do. Lingering odors from pets or tobacco can make even a clean home seem dirty. Get your carpets washed and steamed between tenants. Tenant turnover is the best time to replace or repair any carpet that shows signs of damage or doesn’t come clean after a professional cleaning.
Homeowners don’t often pay attention to windows and sliding glass doors. Cleaning them will let in more light and make your home more rentable. Maintaining them will also prevent door jams which are a costly repair.
Prepping a house for rent is very similar to prepping it for sale. With a proper plan in mind and the best upgrades for your home, you’re ready for rent!