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How to prepare your property for future tenants: a comprehensive guide

Home improvement
How to rent out your home
Property management tips
How to prepare your property for future tenants: a comprehensive guide
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Are you a homeowner looking to rent your property to prospective tenants? If so, this comprehensive guide will help you prepare your rental for prospective tenants. We will walk you through the four main steps: moving everything out, deep cleaning all surfaces and appliances, doing safety evaluations, and taking care of any repairs and modifications. Following our tips, you can ensure that your rental property will rent out for the best value and is ready to be a home for new tenants!

One important caveat is that sometimes homeowners rent their furnished property. Here are some pros and cons of renting a furnished home and some more considerations to help you decide. At Doorstead, we require houses to be unfurnished because they appeal to tenants looking for longer lease terms. Learn about Doorstead's property management process and see what some of our customers have to say about their experience.

If you're a rental homeowner looking to present your unfurnished property to tenants for listings or move-in, you'll want to begin by moving everything out.

Moving everything out

Moving everything out is the most effective way to prepare your home for new tenants, as it allows you to start with a completely blank slate. You can then deep clean, make necessary repairs, and potentially stage or furnish the property before listing it.

Clear out all personal belongings:

Remove all your belongings from the house, including clothes, furniture, knick-knacks, and anything else that is not essential to the property. You want future tenants to be able to imagine themselves living in the house and customizing it to their wishes.

Use resources such as FB marketplace to sell items that you no longer need:

Once you have cleared out all your personal belongings, you may find many things you no longer need or want. Rather than throwing these items away, you can sell them using resources such as Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Selling items is a great way to make extra money while decluttering your belongings.

Junk removal services

If you have many heavy or bulky items to remove from the property, consider hiring a junk removal service. Junk removal services can efficiently clean out your house, saving you a lot of time and effort. It's a great option if you live far from the property or require additional physical ability to remove the items.

Secure a storage unit 

You may have some belongings that you are not ready to part with but do not want to keep in the house. Depending on how much stuff you have, you may need to rent a storage unit to remove all your belongings and furniture.

Secure a mover earlier rather than later

If you are planning on moving large items out of the rental property, you'll want to secure a mover earlier than later because they can book up quickly, especially during the peak moving seasons. Getting items moved out immediately also helps you complete the rest of the steps earlier to start sharing your property.

Deep cleaning of all surfaces and appliances

After you have removed all your personal belongings and cleared out all unwanted items, it is time to deep clean the entire house. Deep cleaning includes scrubbing surfaces, washing appliances, cleaning carpets and floors, and then mopping and vacuuming. A thorough cleaning will help you take a step back and see a more evident state of the property once everything has been cleared out of the way.

This step will be required if you plan to use a property manager or a property management service. For example, Doorstead requires this step after doing the initial evaluation. Additionally, it's best to do this step before showing your property to tenants or before your tenant moves in.

Here are some useful tips for the cleaning stage:

Start with the ceilings and work your way down

When cleaning, start with the ceiling and work your way down. This method will help you avoid missing any spots and not backtrack on your cleaning work. You can use a ladder to reach the ceiling or hire a professional cleaner to do this portion for you.

Wipe down all surfaces

Once the ceilings are clean, you will need to wipe down all of the surfaces in the house, including the walls, floors, countertops, and windows. Be sure to use a cleaning solution appropriate for the surface you are cleaning. This Washington Post article has additional advice on cleaning different surfaces in your home.

Clean the carpets and upholstery

The next step is to clean the carpets and upholstery. Thorough carpet cleaning removes any dirt, dust, or stains that have accumulated over time. Home Depot has a guide for cleaning your carpet. You can either hire a professional to do this for you or rent a carpet cleaner from your local hardware store.

Smokers or pet owners may need to do additional cleaning in this step.

If you or the previous tenants smoked cigarettes or owned pets, you might need to do an additional cleaning to remove any smell or pet hair. You can shampoo carpets, wash any upholstery, and take other measures to remove odors. Again, you can either hire a professional to do this for you or use a home cleaning product designed for these specific purposes.

Finally, clean the appliances.

The last step is to clean the inside and outside of all appliances. Clean the house's oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and other appliances. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to clean each appliance. NBC shows you how to clean every appliance in your home, and Youtube has some great video resources and cleaning hacks,

Deep cleaning can be much work, but it is necessary to make your rental property look it's best and get it to a condition where tenants can tour the listing or move in.

Safety Check

After deep cleaning the property, you'll need a safety check. 

  1. Make sure that all of the windows, doors and locks are in working order.
  2. Install any missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensure that the electrical system is up to code. Ensure CO detectors have batteries, smoke detectors are working correctly, and safety equipment on the property, such as a fire extinguisher.
  3. Scan for immediate safety hazards, ensuring no loose wires, broken stairs, or other potential dangers.

If you find any safety hazards, you must repair them before tenants move in. Another essential step in preparing your rental property for tenants is to inspect the property for pests, like rats, termites, ants, cockroaches, or spiders. If you find any pests, call a professional exterminator to get rid of them.

Ensuring the property is safe for tenants is crucial, as it can help prevent accidents or injuries. A safety inspection will also give you peace of mind knowing that your rental property is in good condition and ready for new tenants.

Repairs and modifications

Once the house is clean and evaluated for safety standards, you must make necessary repairs or modifications. Repairs may include painting, repairing holes in the walls, and fixing or replacing broken appliances.

Check to see if any amenities need to be updated.

Replace or repair broken refrigerators, washers, dryers, sinks, or toilets before tenants move in. Doing so helps tenants have a comfortable experience and all the necessary amenities. See our standard list of what tenants expect in rental properties: Check to see if any amenities are outdated, including the air conditioner, furnace, water heater, and any other appliances that tenants may use.

Non-functional features/missing features

Non-functional or missing features in rental properties can be a turn-off for tenants. To ensure that your rental property is appealing to tenants, you should check if there are any missing or non-functional features such as a broken doorbell, broken lightbulbs, a non-working stove, or a missing smoke detector. These features should be repaired or replaced before tenants move in.

Repair leaky sinks, plumbing issues, and electrical issues

If there are any leaks, you will need to repair them before tenants move in. Fix leaky sinks, repair plumbing, and any outstanding electrical issues. By making these repairs before tenants move in, you can avoid any problems or complaints down the road. Repairs that may not seem like a big issue are experiences that the tenant has to deal with daily, so it is crucial to ensure that everything in the rental property is in its best working order.

Finishing Touches

Once you have made the necessary repairs and modifications, you will need to do some finishing touches.

Window Treatments

Replace window curtains with neutral, white blinds. White blinds are standard; they appeal to a more extensive range of tenants and will help your property list at a higher value. 

Paint old, outdated areas 

Paint old walls with fresh, new paint, especially if it's been more than 3-5 years. If you want your rental property to look more spacious and welcoming, then neutral tones are the way to go. There's a reason why light colors are so popular among renters - they make rooms appear more open and spacious. If you paint your house yourself, make sure to paint trim work, doors, and cabinets in addition to the walls. Give your surfaces time to dry before performing other actions inside the house. This duration will depend on the paint you use and can take anywhere from 12 hours to 24 hours to dry.

Update flooring

Another finishing touch that you can do is update the flooring. If your rental property has old, outdated, or damaged flooring, you should replace it with new flooring. New flooring will help make your rental property more appealing to tenants and increase its value. You can install new flooring yourself, or you can hire a professional.

Carpet cleaning or replacement

If your rental property has carpets older than five to eight years, consider replacing them before tenants move in. In addition, this transition period would be perfect for remodeling your rental property to hardwood so that it lasts longer and increases its market value. Carpet replacements or upgrades are a finishing touch that will make your rental property look more presentable and increase its value. 

Modifications may also be necessary to make your house more tenant-friendly or to list your property at a higher price. Doorstead has a list of 7 ROI-generating home renovations that are worth your investment. 

Doorstead offers a wide range of property management services to help you prepare your rental property for new tenants. We can help you with repairs, painting, flooring, carpet cleaning, and more. We also help you manage your property and generate rental income effectively. Contact us today to help you manage your rental homes.

These steps will help ensure that your rental property is in good condition. After you have completed these comprehensive steps, your rental property will be ready to welcome new tenants. Thanks for reading! For more curated tips on property management best practices, venture over to our blog. 

Ally Gong
Ally Gong
Content Specialist

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