To attract the right tenants and get your property rented quickly, the home has to be move-in ready. Prospective tenants will see your ad online or drive past the “For Rent” sign in front of the property, and when they go inside to see it, they want to imagine being able to move right in. To effectively prepare your property for the rental market, there are a few things that you absolutely must do.
Price the Property to Rent Quickly
Many rental property owners don’t realize how much of an impact price has on the type of tenant you attract and the length of time your property is vacant. When you’re getting your home ready for the market, you have to make sure it’s priced to attract the attention of good tenants.
Every investor wants to earn as much rent as possible, but to achieve the most rental income, you shouldn’t necessarily charge the most per month. The best way to increase your rental income and your ROI is to avoid longer than necessary vacancy periods. So, place a good tenant in your property quickly. Take a close look at the market and price your home accordingly. Look at comparable properties in the neighborhood with the same amenities and features as your own rental home. Base your price off how it holds up to others around it.
You need to know the competition when you’re pricing your home, and you need to be flexible. Good tenants have a lot of choices, and if your price is too high, they’ll select a different property.
Take Care of Maintenance and Repairs
Before you put your property on the rental market, it must be safe, functional, and habitable. You don’t want to invite prospective tenants to see the home if there are still repairs that need to be made. Assuring a tenant that you’ll take care of the leaking pipes and the broken window blinds is not going to make the property appealing. Everything should be well-maintained before you list and show the home.
When you take care of maintenance items, you’re also preserving the value of your property. Paying attention to maintenance and making repairs right away will cut down on deferred maintenance costs. It also shows the tenant that you care about the condition of the home. This is important, because good tenants want to move into well-maintained homes. They don’t want to move into properties that are not ready for them.
Put together a checklist and go through the property. Once you know the maintenance issues have been resolved, you’re offering potential tenants a clean slate to start with, and they’ll notice that when they visit the home. You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind knowing your property is fixed up and ready or the market.
Invest in Minor Upgrades and Improvements
Many investors have an extremely hard time putting money into a property before earning any income from it. However, investing in some small cosmetic upgrades can really help in the long run. It may allow you to ask for a higher rental amount, and it will definitely attract the best possible tenants to your home.
There’s no need to completely renovate the house. Instead, take a look at some inexpensive improvements that will make the home look fresh, modern, and appealing. Start with the kitchen, which is where most tenants spend a lot of their time evaluating a rental property. You could install new hardware on the cabinets, and new drawer pulls that match. It’s a simple change that can easily grab the attention of potential tenants. You could also install new faucets in the kitchen or the bathroom.
Consider new curtains or window treatments. Go outside and look at the property from the street or the yard. If there are broken or bent window blinds, take them down and put up something else. A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference on the inside walls. Don’t settle for touching up in places where the paint is worn or scratched. The walls will look much cleaner when you paint the whole wall.
Flooring is another place where you can invest in upgrades. A professional carpet cleaning is essential before you list your home on the rental market, but if that carpet is old and looking worn, replace it with new carpet. An even better idea is to replace carpet with hard surfaces on floor, like tile or even a high-quality vinyl. This gives your home a clean and updated look, and those floors will also be easier to clean and maintain. It will surprise you how little improvements make a big difference. This is an essential step in getting your property rent-ready.
Check State Property Codes
Before you can rent your home out to a tenant, you need to make sure it’s compliant with any local and state laws and regulations. Get to know the Florida landlord and tenant laws before you put your property on the market. There are many legal requirements, so make sure you are meeting those before you begin showing the property to potential renters. The implied warranty of habitability applies to Florida rental homes, so you’ll need to meet your repair and maintenance obligations immediately. Florida also requires several disclosures to be included in the lease agreement. Make sure you’re prepared for all the legal responsibilities of a landlord. If you don’t know the laws well, talk to an attorney or a property manager who can help you establish a legally compliant lease and move-in procedure.
Provide a Professionally Cleaned Property
De-cluttering and removing your own personal items or items that belonged to former tenants is a must. If you lived in this property previously, you might think it’s okay to leave behind a few things in a closet or in a garage. This is not advisable. Before you rent out the home, clean everything out of it. Tenants don’t want to move in around someone else’s personal possessions. Leaving things behind can also cause liability issues. You might think you’re doing your tenants a favor by leaving a lawnmower in the backyard. But, what if a tenant’s child starts to play with it? Empty the house completely except for the appliances that are included in your lease.
Once the property is empty, make sure it’s fresh and clean. Hire a professional who will clean every inch of the home thoroughly. You want to show a property with ceiling fans clear of dust and sinks that are sparkling. A professional cleaning service will scrub bathtubs and appliances.
When you present a home that’s clean and well-maintained, you’re showing your potential tenants that you care about the condition of the home. It also gives you the opportunity to explain your expectations in terms of cleanliness. Tenants who see a perfectly clean home will get the message that you expect it to be returned in equally clean condition.
Curb Appeal and Landscaping
First impressions are very important, and the way your property looks from the outside will help the tenant decide whether or not they want to see the inside. Refreshing your curb appeal is an important part of making your property rent-ready. Take care of the landscaping. Keep the lawn mowed and trim any bushes or shrubs. Debris should be cleaned up and everything should look neat.
This is a good time to check the roof for any leaks or gathering sticks and branches. Clean out the rain gutters and power-wash the outside of the home. Consider new exterior paint if the house is looking dirty or faded from the sun. If your property is in an HOA or a condo complex, make sure the common areas are cleaned up and appealing.
Curb appeal can help your property stand out from others that are also for rent.
Develop a Strong Marketing Plan
The final step in preparing your property for the rental market is putting together a successful marketing strategy. Once all the maintenance and cleaning and curb appeal is complete, you can prepare to market your property. To find the best tenants, you want to adopt a comprehensive and aggressive plan of attack. Don’t just put an ad on Craigslist or stick a sign in the yard. You need to take some great photographs that really show off your property. You need to write a great description, and you need to post that listing on as many rental websites as possible. Cast a wide net so you get as much exposure for your property as possible.
If you’re not sure about how to best market your home or where to find the best tenants, consider getting professional help. Hire a professional property manager who offers a clear and strong marketing plan. Good marketing will enable you to rent your property to great tenants faster.
Preparing your property for the rental market is an important first step in becoming a landlord. If you have any additional questions about getting your property ready, or you need help with any of these tips, please feel free to contact us at Specialized Property Management in Orlando.