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How to Get Your Property Rent Ready

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Lots of homeowners rent their property out. In fact, when the market is skewed towards sellers, many prospective buyers turn to the rental market instead to avoid high rates of competition and paying higher prices for homes. If you’ve decided to rent out your property, there are a few things you should do before listing your home for rent. Here are some tips and insights to getting your property ready for the rental market!

Decide whether you’re managing your property. There are plenty of reasons to rent your property out, but one of the major decisions you’ll need to make includes whether or not you’re managing the property yourself. There are lots of property management companies out there, all of which could take care of the menial tasks you’d need to do if you were taking care of the place on your own. However, for homeowners who want a more hands-on approach to their rental experience, you might want to manage the property yourself. Be forewarned, though – managing your property can come with a couple of setbacks, including:

  • Replacing appliances and fixtures: This isn’t just the stove or washing machine, either. It also includes the kitchen cabinets, light bulbs, ceiling fans, and anything else that might need replacing. Windows, door frames, showerheads…many of these things are going to be your responsibility as a property manager. Of course, you can specify in your lease what is and isn’t included, but as the person who manages your own property, you might have to take care of that.
  • Lawn care: Is your home a single unit that has a yard? If so, who will take care of the lawn care? For many homeowners, it’s the renters. For others, it’s their HOA. For others, it’s a separate landscaping company. This is something you should consider when you’re deciding whether or not you’re going to manage your property. You might have to provide lawn care for your tenants.

Invest in legal representation. That’s right – legal representation is essential in getting your property rent ready. An attorney can help you determine what fees are legal to charge tenants, such as application fees, cleaning fees, and even security deposits. They can also educate you on elements of the Fair Housing Act and any other legal entities that can impact your role as a property owner renting your space out. Another thing an attorney can do is help you craft a lease. A lease is a legally binding document that details who will rent from you and all the things they can and cannot do with the space. A lease is always a good thing for both property owners and tenants. It protects you, your property, and the tenant in a variety of ways. An attorney can explain all those aspects to you and, while it’s an expense that you might not want to spend money on, it’s an important element of your new journey as a property owner.

Do some renovations. You should complete some renovations prior to listing your property for rent. Whether you install luxury vinyl plank flooring over your previous laminate flooring or you install some new light fixtures, there are lots of renovations you can complete prior to putting your home on the rental market. Doing these renovations now can actually allow you to list your home for rent at a higher rental rate than you might expect. Renters like amenities, and if you can offer soft-close, ready assemble cabinets, a smart thermostat system, or even auto-closing blinds in the windows, then you can probably charge a bit more per month than other property owners in your area.

Consider including utilities. While renters like amenities, they also like convenience. And, many like the idea of including utilities in their rent. While including utilities doesn’t take into account the variable usage of different utilities, you’ll find that your tenants might be happier if they don’t have to manage three of four different billing companies. Some of the common utilities include electricity, cable/internet, water, sewer, trash, and even natural gas if your home has a gas hookup. Your prospective renters will love the fact that you’re offering an inclusive rental rate. At the very least, consider including water, sewer, and trash in your rent.

Spruce up your curb appeal. While doing some internal renovations can go a long way in getting your space ready for renters, updating your curb appeal can do wonders. If your home looks good from the outside, it’ll make prospective renters even more intrigued by your space. Paint a fresh coat on the front door, install some new perennials and even consider adding some pavers between your front door and the driveway or curb that goes through your front yard. Either way, sprucing up your curb appeal will make your home that much more appealing to prospective renters. If they can envision themselves at your home, then you’ve done what you needed to do.

Take quality pictures. If you’re managing your own property, make sure you take some quality pictures prior to creating the listing. Try to highlight unique features of your home as well as take pictures in a way that shows the flow of your home to prospective renters. When renters can see the flow of your home, then they can envision themselves there. Take the pictures during the middle of the day when the light is best, and avoid using the harsh light of any inside lights. These pictures will really go a long way in ensuring that you get quality tenants!

Layer on a fresh coat of paint. A fresh coat of paint on the walls will help to ensure your space is perfect and ready for renters. Keep the walls a neutral color and, instead, ask the tenants to hang artwork that adds some character and flair to the home. Painting your walls might seem insignificant, but it will make a major difference in whether or not your home seems prepared for renters.

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