As the landlord of a rental unit, you may be catering to short-term as well as long-term tenants. While the rent and terms of the tenancy may differ for both tenancy durations, one thing that does not change is your responsibilities as a landlord to ensure the maintenance of the rental property every time a tenant leaves, and another one is due to arrive to occupy the space. Getting a property ready to rent is fairly easy. Here’s a checklist for preparing a house for rent that you can use as your guide every time the unit is about to change hands.
Checklist for Preparing a House for Rent
It is one of the core responsibilities of a landlord to get the rental property ready for a move, and every tenant should inspect the property before signing the rental agreement. Lack of care and maintenance is also one of the major reasons why tenants move out of a rental even before their tenancy is up. A home or flat that has been well cared for will automatically attract more renters than one in a dilapidated and neglected state.
So, how should you prepare a property for a new tenant? Well, here’s a step-by-step approach:
- Inspect the Premises
- Clean the Rental
- Begin the Repairs
- Replace What’s Possible
- Change the Locks
- Paint the Walls
- Improve Curb Appeal
Now, let’s discuss the rental home preparation checklist in detail below.
Inspect the Premises
As soon as your tenant moves out, visit the rental property and walk through it. Inspect it from the perspective of a potential buyer or renter. Would you invest in the property in its current state? What would you modify? What do you think requires work or repair? Jot down all of the points that catch your attention.
Clean the Rental
Unless you lucked out and had the world’s best tenant living in your rental unit, you’re bound to find stuff that needs a thorough cleaning from a landlord’s perspective. Vacuum or wash the carpet, wipe down the walls, furniture, and fixtures, wash any dirty dishes and kitchen appliances, clean the bathrooms, and remove the cobwebs.
Thoroughly cleaning the property is essential, not just after a tenant moves out but also before a new one moves in, particularly if there’s been a sufficient gap in occupancy in between. Proper upkeep is also quite important if you’ve been struggling with finding tenants for a while now, as this may be one of the major reasons why your rental property has been vacant.
Begin the Repairs
The second step to getting your property ready to rent is to repair whatever’s broken. This includes the plumbing, appliances, light fixtures, any broken windows, jammed door locks, scratched furniture (if you rent out a furnished home), and more. At present, we’re not replacing anything. We’re only fixing what can be fixed.
If the microwave oven has gone past its usable life, keep it aside. Don’t waste your time or money on anything beyond repair or that the technicians told you was close to bailing on you, the last they came over.
Replace What’s Possible
While preparing a rental for a new tenant, remember that your rental property is not your primary home and is a means of earning an income, so think of spending on it as an investment. Add and replace only the most crucial items that you know people can’t live without today so that the money invested into replacing the appliances actually comes back to you in the form of higher rent.
You should also keep your targeted tenants in mind as you make the replacements. For instance, a busy career-oriented couple might not be able to make it a week without a coffee maker or a microwave, but a washing machine or refrigerator might be a more suitable purchase for a family with kids. Here are some of the factors that increase the rental worth of any property.
Change the Locks
To ensure complete safety while moving into a new home, most tenants will change their rental unit’s locks with the landlord’s permission. It is one of the few times when changing the locks of a house is a necessity. We’d advise you to talk to your tenants before you make this move though, as there is no point in changing the locks at your end if they are going to do it all over again.
Come to an agreement regarding who will change the locks at all the entryways and then proceed with it if your tenant trusts you to get the job done right. Otherwise, move on to the next step in this checklist for preparing a house for rent. It is important to note that if you’ve just evacuated a tricky tenant from the unit by force, you should always rekey the locks to avoid another illegal occupation.
Paint the Walls
While it may be a costly task, painting the interior of the rental property gives you a better chance to wow your potential tenants when they visit. It is also not necessary to paint the entire home. For instance, if a bathroom has faced water seepage in the past, which has resulted in cracked and chipped paint, consider giving it a fresh coat to boost its appeal.
Alternately, if only one wall of the room is suffering from cracks and chipped paint due to its prolonged exposure to the sun’s heat, paint that particular wall in contrast to the rest of the room to not just improve its aesthetic appeal but also add a bit of contrast to the interior colour scheme.
Improve Curb Appeal
Remember that when you’re getting a property ready to rent, the outside is just as important as the inside. Trimming overgrown bushes, cutting off stray branches, mowing the lawn, planting fresh flowers, and making your home look presentable is necessary, and if your old tenants did not have a green thumb, the yard’s going to a mess. Don’t let that scare you!
Everyone wants to live in a presentable home. Deliver on that by making the front garden and yard as pretty as you can, so that you don’t scare away potential tenants at the first sight of the overgrown mess surrounding the house. Use your expertise or hire someone who can help you out and boost the curb appeal to make your rental property ready for new residents.
Now, put this checklist for preparing a house for rent to good use and set up the rental unit for its new residents in an organised manner. Ultimately, the goal is to add more value to the property by intelligently investing time, money, and effort for a better return. Keep the end goal in sight as you make your rental property ready for new residents.