Get Your House Ready to Rent in 7 Easy Steps
Congratulations! You’ve decided to become the owner of an investment property. Whether you’ve purchased a fixer-upper or a home in great condition, it’s time to decide how you’d like your most recent investment to do the work for you. The most common choice? Turning your new home into a rental property.
Unfortunately, turning your investment into a rental property is easier said than done. What seems like a simple task tends to quickly pile up and overwhelm prospective landlords. But don’t let this scare you away!
Follow our Rent-Ready Checklist to easily break down the tasks ahead of you. You’ll be closer to landlord-ship each step of the way.
1. Walk-Through Assessment
You want to make sure that your home is in good condition so that potential tenants feel safe when renting, so the very first step in making a property rent-ready is a thorough walk-through assessment. Walk through each room of the home and test the appliances, smoke detectors, and outlets. Make sure that everything is in working shape, and that there are no glaring issues.
Pay special attention to the following areas:
Many kitchen appliances require frequent repairs and should be thoroughly checked before moving on to any other areas. Make sure that appliances are plugged in, working properly, and free of damage that may affect performance.
You should also check all kitchen plumbing to make sure it is in proper working order. Check for leaks, disconnected pipes, and other potential plumbing issues.
Make a note of spots, mold, or paint chips on the walls of the bedroom. Make sure all windows can properly be opened and closed, and take care of any flooring issues that may exist within the room. Make sure that smoke detectors in the room have batteries and can be heard by occupants.
Inspect the closest shelves to be sure they have not come loose over time. You should also ensure that bedroom doors can be fully closed. If applicable, door locks should properly work.
Your first step when checking the bathroom is to turn on the shower, bathtub, and faucets to ensure that water flows properly. Make sure each water source can deliver both hot and cold water before moving on. Double-check the piping to remove any clogs, and make note of any damage to the porcelain or faucets.
Flush the toilets to make sure that they drain correctly and do not leak onto the floor. If the toilet is running when not in use, it could signify an internal problem. If you notice plumbing issues, contact a certified plumber.
Ensure that any shelves in the garage are firmly attached to the walls and that any outdoor appliances are properly working.
Ensure that the garage door can be opened by both the button on the wall and the emergency cord. The garage door should not slam down when open. Double check that the eye sensors are in proper working order by placing an object taller than 6-inches within the door opening. If the garage door does not close due to the object, you’re good to go. If it does, however, you’ll need to contact a repairman.
Step outside and look around the backyard. Make sure fencing is properly placed within the ground, and double-check that the yard is not missing patches of turf.
Turn your attention to the outside of the house itself as you inspect the eaves, gutters, and downspouts. Make sure that the doors are properly sealed to prevent airflow when closed. Check to be sure that the patio is free of chips and wear and tear.
2. Prioritize Repairs That Add Value
As you make your home rent ready, you may encounter numerous repairs that need to be completed. Not all of these repairs must be taken care of promptly, however, and should be prioritized based on necessity.
Maintenance should be completed on appliances and fixtures that contribute to a tenant’s well-being, such as leaky faucets or a malfunctioning water heater. Normal wear and tear on the house can often be left until the end of your maintenance checklist, as it does not contribute to an urgent problem within the house.
3. Increase Lighting
A helpful way to attract prospective renters is to increase the lighting throughout the property. Not only does a brighter space seem larger, but it can also help change the functionality of a room and the mood of a resident!
Switch out outdated light fixtures for modern lighting. Choose light-colored lamp shades and make sure that the light bulbs produce enough lumens to light up the space. We recommend replacing fluorescent light bulbs with new LED bulbs.
4. Deep Cleaning
This is often the hardest part of any rental makeover – the cleaning. Start low and go high as you clean everything from the hardwood floors to your ceiling fans. Be sure to declutter the home beforehand, and don’t be afraid to put in a little elbow grease as you scrub surfaces.
When it comes time to clean the carpet, we suggest that you hire a professional cleaning company to deep clean the fibers of the carpet. This will ensure that any trapped allergens, dirt, and spores are fully gone.
5. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
People living in residential properties like to feel as though they were the first to live in the home, but this cannot happen if the walls are full of holes, paint chips, and uneven paint jobs. Freshly painted walls make a big difference in appealing to prospective tenants.
Add a neutral color to the walls. The color should be trendy, but not overwhelming. You want to make sure that whatever furniture your future tenants bring to the house won’t have a large chance of clashing with the walls.
6. Notify Your Insurance
Before your investment property is ready to receive its first tenant, you need to make your insurance company aware of your intent to rent.
People with rental homes are considered a ‘high risk’ on most insurance policies. Because of this, your insurance company may drop your coverage if you begin renting out your home without prior notice. Your insurance policy must be updated before renting your home.
You will need to upgrade your regular property insurance to landlord insurance. This will provide you with much of the same protection as your traditional insurance, but for your rental property rather than your residence.
You should also encourage your tenants to purchase renters insurance. Not only will this limit your liability in the case of a lawsuit, but it can help to prevent large problems down the road. Both you and your tenant will be protected from property damage, and your chance of increased insurance premiums will be lower. Renters insurance also allows you as a landlord to be more pet friendly, as it helps to protect from pet-related damages.
7. Notify Your Mortgage Lender
You should also notify your mortgage lender when you choose to rent out your home. Under the terms of a traditional mortgage, you are not allowed to rent the property, and renting the home without notice will breach this contract. Talk to your mortgage company, as some may allow a short-term rental exception.
If you would like to rent the property to a tenant in the long term, you will need to upgrade your mortgage to a buy-to-let mortgage. This will allow you to purchase the home with the mortgage, and then rent that property to tenants.
Be sure to check the laws of your local government to be sure you are legally compliant with all mortgage and insurance laws before proceeding.
8. Hire the Right Property Management Company
Being a landlord comes with many responsibilities and a large time commitment. If you worry that this may become overwhelming, then it would be smart to begin looking into property management companies. Property managers oversee:
- The setting of monthly rent
- The collection of property rent
- The marketing of the property
- Screening of prospective tenants
- Any maintenance requests
- Proper budgeting of the home.
At DJW Property Management, we strive to make you money while handling the day-to-day operations of your rental property. We strive to reduce your risk as a landlord, maintain your cash flow, and increase the overall value of your property. Give us a call if you would like to become a landlord and start earning passive income!