Whether you are a Do-it-Yourselfer, an experienced Investor or a reluctant Landlord working with a property management company looking to turn your home into a rental home, there are basic minimums to complete in order to prepare your home for the rental market before you should even consider marketing it for rent. This quick guide should help you get started:
1. Get an Inspection
Schedule a whole home inspection prior to renting your home to someone else. For a few hundred dollars, depending on the region you live in, hire a home inspector to evaluate your home. By doing this, you are proactively choosing to be an informed homeowner. There is power and knowledge in being informed. In addition to gaining a wealth of information, you will also have documentation for the baseline of your home’s condition prior to renting it out.
2. Take Care of ALL of those Needed Repairs and Maintenance Items:
Maybe you didn’t need a home inspection to tell you that you needed to take care of the electrical wiring in the bedroom, but if you are aware of an issue, please fix it. It is much better to start out with a functional space; it will be less expensive for you in the long run and it will do wonders for building good-will toward your new tenant. Addressing a known issue is always better, more efficient and less costly than waiting to fix the problem.
Aside from repairs and things that actually need fixing, taking the time to perform some proactive maintenance makes the difference between an average property and a great property that rents quickly and for more money. From things like fresh paint and making sure there are working light bulbs and clean furnace filters, to taking the time to weeding the garden and tightening loose drawers, taking care of these details in the home is crucial to a smoothly operating home and a fresh, clean start for the tenant. The better the condition that the property is handed over, the better the condition you can expect it to be returned in.
3. Clean Everything!!
Seriously, clean everything and don’t cut corners. This includes removing your personal belongings completely and not leaving things behind in a garage, shed, closet or other storage area. From the floors, walls, ceilings, vents, counters, appliances, blinds, basement, garage and everything in between: scrub it, clean it, make it sparkle! Prepare it in the same way you would want to live in it, only better. Clean rents faster, makes a better impression and starts things out on the right foot.
4. Document, Document, Document!
Document the condition of the interior and exterior of your home with pictures, videos and notes. Be sure to include an inventory list of the entire home’s contents, systems, serial numbers and make sure all of your documentation is dated. This step is time consuming, but necessary for insurance and can be priceless if there are ever any legal issues in the future.
After completing these steps, you are ready to begin the next stages of turning your home into a rental.