Ten Tips on Getting Your Home Ready to Rent Out

Posted in Blog Posts on August 27th, 2012 by capitalhm

Getting a home ready for to rent is not so different from selling it, even as the stakes are not as high. To attract the best tenants and get the highest possible rent you want it in ship shape before putting it on the market. Take care of the items listed below, and you’ll be ready!

1. Make repairs and touch-ups
Check fixtures and appliances for functionality and make necessary repairs. Address any known problems with electric, plumbing, windows and doors. Have the HVAC system(s) serviced. Fill in nail holes, touch up paint or repaint rooms if necessary. Touch up floors as needed and make sure carpets are cleaned. Don’t forget window treatments, light fixtures and fans. If you are not sure about the state of the home at all, hire a professional home inspector to point out problems.

2. Clean up
Start with cleaning the home out completely, unless it is a furnished rental. Closets and shelves need to be empty, except maybe for a few leftover cans of paint for touch-ups and appliance manuals. Tenants don’t like locked closets containing belongings of the owner – it’s supposed to be their home. Have it professionally cleaned from top to bottom, including the inside of the refrigerator, the oven, the microwave, and the cabinets. Have the windows and frames washed for a sparkling appearance.

 3. Improve Lighting
Replace broken light bulbs, preferably with energy-efficient ones. They save energy and need fewer replacements. For outside, consider brighter light bulbs for security reasons.

 4. Safety and Security
Make sure your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are sufficient, up to date and working. All exits need to be free of obstacles.

5.  Spray for Pests
Consider signing a contract with a pest control company and let them treat the house before you rent it out. It is usually easier to prevent infestation than to respond to pest problems.

 6. Spruce up Landscaping
Don’t go overboard, but make sure the grass is cut, plant beds are weed-free, and shrubs are trimmed. You want to make a great first impression with a well taken care of home.

7. Obtain Landlord’s Insurance
Talk to your insurance agent about what kind of policy is right for you. If you have a mortgage, it must suffice the lender’s standards as well. Also, require in your lease that the tenants get their own insurance.

8. Inform all Interested Parties
Check with your lender, your homeowners association and your municipality on rules and regulations for renting out a home. Don’t forget to tell the neighbors – they don’t like surprises – if you want to maintain a good relationship with them.

9. Decide upon Property Management
One big advantage of using property managers is emotional distance. Good property managers take good care of tenants and they’re sympathetic, but their job is to make sure that you get the rent. Other decision points are closeness to the property, time and money. Are you able to be at the house within 30-45 minutes in case of an emergency? Do you have the time to take care of tenant search and screening, repair and maintenance, and all the financials? If the answers are mostly no, you might want to look for a professional property manager. If money is an issue, look for companies that are willing to customize their services for you, so you only have to outsource what you deem necessary.

10. How much Rent?
Find out what comparable homes in the neighborhood or area go for. There are plenty of online resources available to get that kind of information. Be critical and conservative when you compare features and the appeal of your home with others. You want to ask for slightly less than a good comparable to attract most tenants and rent out quickly. Time is of the essence! If your home is vacant for only one more month than it has to be, it is typically harder to make up that full month rent than a small discount per month. A property manager and/or realtor can give you valuable input how to set the rent right. Also, keep in mind that about 25% of the rent will be used for monthly upkeep and repair escrow.



One Response to “Ten Tips on Getting Your Home Ready to Rent Out”

  1. Carol Kaminsky says:

    Thanks for the tips. My mom has a rental in NJ and she is evicting her tenants. We go to court next week. Becides lost rent there are alot of damages and filth. Strangely the tenant had excellent credit 2 years ago.

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