Tips on preparing a property for rent
Are you thinking about investing in a rental property this year? Or renting out your current home? Like when selling, making the effort to prepare your property for rent is a wise investment of time and energy which will pay off in the long run.
Here are several key things to consider when getting your property ready for the rental market, which when done right will not only make your home more appealing to potential tenants but also ensure you are meeting your obligations as a landlord.
While your property doesn’t need to be in totally perfect condition, as a landlord you need to ensure it is in good repair and fit to live in, while complying with all applicable safety regulations and laws.
Check your property meets current state and federal regulations and safety guidelines relating to energy efficiency, smoke alarms, ventilation, mould or vermin/pests, swimming pools, window safety and overall security. Also check the current obligations for landlords relating to stairs, decks, balconies, railings, blinds, water efficiency standards and electrical/ gas safety regulations.
If the property has safety switches – which turn off the power immediately if an electrical fault is detected – arrange to get them tested.
Get out the toolbox
Cast a critical eye over the home and ensure anything that needs repairing is fixed – either DIY or call in a licensed tradesperson where required. Don’t overlook things that seem trivial or which you’ve grown accustomed to, like mouldy bathroom grout, dripping taps, broken tiles or chipped paint.
By fixing as much as you can at this stage while the property is empty, this reduces the risk of small problems growing or requiring the costly involvement of emergency tradespeople later.
Deep clean inside and outside
Beginning a tenancy with a thoroughly clean property increases the likelihood of it being returned in the same condition. Set the initial benchmark high by deep cleaning the interior, paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom(s), cupboards, carpets, curtains, blinds, flyscreens and windows.
Attend to all outdoor areas including the garage and patio—sweeping and washing paths and driveways, cleaning paintwork and window frames, removing cobwebs and clearing gutters.
A tidy, low-maintenance garden is appealing for renters, so mow the lawn, rake up debris, and prune overgrown plants and trees. Weed the garden beds, adding mulch to reduce the need for ongoing weeding.
Prepare the pool
Take time to thoroughly clean the pool before the tenancy, ensuring it complies with all relevant laws (in most states pools need to be registered and inspected for compliance).
Before advertising your property for rent decide if you are going to include pool maintenance in the rental agreement. If not, it's a good idea to have the pool water’s chemical balance tested prior to the tenant moving in.
Consider ways to add value
Think about any items you could leave which may appeal to tenants, remembering that whatever you leave at a property you are obligated to repair or replace if something goes wrong.
For example, no one wants to hand-wash dishes so leaving a dishwasher adds a lot of value to tenants. You might also consider leaving a gas heater (a major purchase for tenants) or a built-in fridge or washing machine to save tenants having to re-install them.
Check your insurance
It’s easy to overlook when you’re busy preparing to rent out a property – but don’t forget to arrange suitable landlord insurance, or update your coverage if you were previously living in a property that is now being rented out.
There’s a lot to think about before renting out a property, so as well as conducting your own research it is worth enlisting the help of a good property manager. In addition to explaining your responsibilities as a landlord, a property manager will be able to advise on marketing, property presentation, tenant selection and management, helping to ensure a stress-free experience with maximum return on your investment.
To find out more about renting out a property, speak to your local Hockingstuart agency today.