Get Your Property Rent-Ready in 10 Steps
Whether you’re looking to rent out your piece of Tucson real estate for the first time or are getting it ready for someone new, getting the best return on your investment means making sure your property is rent-ready before you list it. What does this mean? Essentially, it needs to be cleaned, repaired, and be in good enough shape to entice potential renters to choose your home or unit over others on the market. Here are 10 steps we suggest for getting your property ready to go and at the top of everyone’s viewing list.
1. Secure the Property
This is very important if you were previously renting out your property. If anyone besides yourself might have a copy of the keys or know an access code, it’s time to make some changes to the locks. All outside doors should be rekeyed, as well as locks on all gates, sheds, and mailboxes. This renders any old keys floating around as completely useless. All access codes should be changed, as well for maximum home security.
2. Get a Deep Cleaning for the Space
Unless you’re extremely detail-oriented when it comes to cleaning, this is a job that should be outsourced. A deep cleaning is very different from the typical cleaning you do at home. Tasks such as washing walls and baseboards, cleaning out the air ducts, and steaming and shampooing the carpet are all needed. Not only are these things rarely done, but they also can require special tools that most likely won’t have on hand.
3. Think About Curb Appeal
Whether you’re renting out a single-family home or a unit in a multi-unit building, curb appeal matters. When potential renters drive up, the outdoor space and the façade of the building will be the first things they see, so you’ll want it to look nice. Take care of yard maintenance, plant something colorful, and slap on a new layer of paint, if needed. You might also find that power washing is required to get the building and the sidewalks looking their best.
4. Focus on Light
Both inside and out, make sure that all light bulbs are working and replace them as needed. It’s also a good idea to take the time to test electrical outlets as you go, as working electrical fixtures are important to potential renters. While electrical lighting is not all that renters will care about, natural lighting matters too. Look at your windows to ensure they’ve been properly cleaned during the deep cleaning and that the glass doesn’t appear to be discolored from age. If it is, you might want to consider having the windows replaced.
5. Ensure Everything Opens and Closes Properly
Doors and windows can be a major source of problems for landlords. Because they are used so often and are central to the security a tenant feels, their proper function is vital. Even doors that don’t offer outside access can make a big impression, especially if they glide easily or tend to stick. Ensure that all doors and windows open and close properly, including doors you might not give much thought, such as closet doors and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
6. Get Rid of Those Pests
Whether from not-so-clean previous tenants or the vacant property having attracted some non-paying residents, if there are pests of any sort hanging around your rental property, you’ll need to banish them before you start showing it to future tenants. We suggest hiring a professional service for this, as many issues can arise when trying to get rid of bugs and other critters. A professional will also know which treatments work best for the pests you’re battling.
7. Spruce it Up
At this point, everything should be neat and tidy and look great from the outside. Now it’s time for the finishing touches. Repair any remaining holes in the walls or other problems in the home or unit. Replace anything damaged beyond repair and ensure window screens won’t be letting any flies or bugs inside. Once that’s all complete, paint the walls and do another final cleaning to ensure the entire space looks good enough to inspire potential renters to fill out applications.
8. Speak with Your Insurance and Mortgage Providers
Many property owners assume the insurance policies they had while living in the property are enough coverage for renting it. However, a standard homeowner’s policy will not offer the proper coverage for renting it and doing so may even be against the rules. You may also run into similar issues if the property currently has a mortgage on it, so be sure to speak to your lender as well.
9. Check the Laws for Landlords
If you’re new to the rental market, you’ll need to research the laws apply to you as a landlord. These laws vary from location to location. The state of Arizona has its own rules, for example, while the city of Tucson has additional laws that apply to properties within the city limits. You’ll need to know about any paperwork, licenses, and additional items you need, as well as which procedures you’re legally obligated to follow. These laws can vary and be about topics from maintaining the property to evicting a tenant.
10. Get Set to Launch
Once everything else is taken care of, it’s time to get your rental policies, marketing, and background checks into place. When it comes to rental policies, think about what you want from the tenants. Parties, pets, and routine inspections are all things to think about. You’ll also need to know what’s fair to charge for rent, how you’ll will market your property, and how you’ll be vetting potential renters.
Consider Rental Property Management Assistance
If all of this work sounds like more hassle than you’d prefer to deal with, know that working with a property management company might be the best solution for you. Here at Bancroft and Associates, we’ve been managing Tucson area rental properties more than four decades and would love the chance to manage your rental property.