In order to get the best possible tenant, at the best possible rental rate, in the shortest period of time and have the fewest amount of problems once the tenant moves in, the savvy landlord invests the time, effort and money to get their property ready for the rental market prior to marketing it for rent. Many of these items may seem like common sense; however, as some say: "common sense is not that common anymore". In this first of two blog posts, we will discuss the structural/mechanical items to address to get your property ready for the rental market and and in the next blog post we will cover the cosmetics.
The first thing to do is to ensure the power and water utilities are on. Showing the property when it is dark, 15 degrees or 100 degrees doesn't give the prospective tenants the warm and fuzzy feeling you want them to feel about their new home. Additionally, the other items that need to be done such as miscellaneous repairs, cleaning, etc. are very difficult to do without power and water. Go ahead and setup a landlord agreement or continuous service with these utility providers and never think about them again.
The next thing the savvy landlord does is to remove all personal property from the residence. Nothing good can come from a landlord leaving personal property in their rental property during a tenancy. While it may be frustrating for a landlord to find their personal property damaged or destroyed by a tenant, it is much worse when a tenant falls off the ladder the landlord kindly left for them and then sues the landlord for their hospital bills, missed work, pain and suffering, etc. because of the "dangerous ladder" the landlord provided.
After all personal property has been removed, the landlord should go through the property and ensure all smoke detectors, locks, lights, fixtures and mechanical items are working properly. If any of these items are in need of repair, it is cheaper and less hassle to make the repairs at this time. This is also a good time to replace all the HVAC air filters.
Once the power and water utilities are on, the personal property has been removed and the minor miscellaneous repairs have been made it time to get the property looking its best. In the next blog post we will go over some simple cosmetic improvements that will greatly enhance a landlord's chance of attracting a quality tenant in a short period of time.