02 Oct How Do I Get My Property Ready for a Tenant?
The 2 Stages of Preparing Your Rental Property
You’ve purchased a rental investment property, and you’re anxious to bring it on market and find tenants as soon as possible so that you can start making money. Preparing a rental property takes time and due diligence. When getting your rental property ready, don’t rush through the particulars, don’t cut corners, and don’t waste your time and money. Taking these shortcuts can cut into your future earning potential! The foundation of your new business venture is a clean, functional, and sound property. Take the time to do it right.
How do I get my rental property ready for a tenant?
These two stages of preparing your property are critical for several reasons. The care and quality of your property directly affect the quality of your tenants and whether or not you retain them, and the amount of rent you can charge. Additionally, regular care and maintenance of your property will ensure that your home doesn’t decline in value.
Before You Market Your Property for Rent
Have a property inspection. This inspection will give you a list of needed repairs so that you can plan accordingly. Regular checks will help you prevent sustained, long-term damage and potentially dangerous situations for your tenants (creating liabilities for you). Inspections and more in-depth repairs are always better done without someone living in the property.
Make sure that your property adheres to state laws. Get to know your state and local property code requirements, such as:
- Prepare to have the exterior locks rekeyed and upgraded as necessary. You’ll want to do this with each new tenant, preferably on move in day.
- Install safety-related devices.
Your property’s plumbing requires the most care. Hire a good plumber to:
- Inspect your property and make recommendations to correct and prevent plumbing issues.
- Upgrade the shut-off valves at water sources like toilets and sinks.
- Ensure the correct ventilation for your water heater. If the unit is in a garage, make sure it sits on a proper stand. If your water heater is over eight years old, consider replacing it now. It’s not a question of if a leak will spring, but when. Head off future water damage and gain peace of mind with a new unit.
- Check your property’s water pressure. If your pressure regulator is defective, it could be a ticking water bomb.
- Locate your property’s water shut-off valve lives so that you can show the tenant. Make sure it’s not buried and works efficiently and adequately without tools.
- Check your washer hoses. Steel braided hoses hold up better than rubber. Rubber can wear down leading to leaks after five years.
A property requires regular maintenance, so make sure you hire a state licensed inspector to perform a full inspection before purchasing the property and then have an expert to walk the property and look for problems that the tenant may not have reported at least twice a year.
The Make-Ready Between Each Tenant
Once your property is sound and that there are no significant functional, or structural issues, you’ll need to prepare your property for your new tenant, the ‘make-ready.’
- Check every moving part in the house. Keep a running list a list of all functional issues and then have your contractor repair them. This check will likely be part of your walk-through after your previous tenant vacates the property.
- Have your plumber inspect your property and make recommendations to correct plumbing issues such as slow drains or rusting angle stops.
- Leave a garbage disposal wrench in your property so the tenant can clear blockages on their own.
- Paint the interior. Don’t scare off potential tenants with bright or specific color palettes. Neutral paint will appeal to most renters and will help them visualize themselves in your property.
- Have your property professionally cleaned, including carpets
- Replace any flooring that is beyond repair.
- Smell something strange? Hopefully, it’s just a minor issue, but odors can also indicate major problems. Plus, no one wants to rent a property that stinks! It doesn’t matter how clean your property is if it doesn’t smell great.
Now, it’s time to document. Everything. Take photos of the condition of your property before your tenant moves in. Walkthrough the property with your tenant on move-in day and log any cosmetic issues you both see. As an alternative, you can ask your tenant to provide you with a list of problems within three days of move in. Remind them that if they do not send you a list within three days, they agree that the home was in perfect shape. Your lease should already cover this in detail, but it never hurts to reiterate it.
Here’s the bottom line. A better quality property, sound in structure, clean, and well maintained, a better quality tenant you will attract.
If making your property ready for renters feels overwhelming, 1836 Property Management can help you take your time and do it right the first time. We help you manage all aspects of your rental property, from leasing to maintenance, so that you can achieve the highest return on your investment.
By: Matt Leschber, 1836PM Founder