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How To Prepare Your House For Rent: Top 10 Tips from Property Managers

View of single family home, prepare your house for rent

To prepare your house for rent involves several steps to ensure it is in good condition, appealing to potential tenants, and meets legal and safety requirements. With nearly 300 rental homes in our western Washington property management portfolio, we’ve worked with all types of landlords and many types of homes.

Naturally, every landlord wants to maximize profitability. This means, having your home prepared prior to placing it on the rental market, not taking shortcuts and pricing it right. 

Here’s a guide to help you prepare your house for rent:

Clean. Clean. Clean.

Start by thoroughly cleaning the entire house, including floors (even under the appliances!) walls, windows, window tracks, and appliances. If you have the time and ability to perform this task yourself, it’s a great way to save on the cost of preparing your house for rent. This is one of the most important aspects of preparing your rental, so don’t skimp. If you hate to clean, hire a professional who specializes in move-in and move-out deep cleaning. Here’s a deep cleaning checklist to use when you prepare your house for rent.

Repairs and Maintenance

Address any necessary repairs or maintenance tasks before renting out the property. Fix leaky faucets, replace broken fixtures, repair damaged walls or flooring, and ensure all appliances are in working order. Conduct a thorough inspection to identify any issues that need attention. Not only will this help you rent the home more quickly, it’ll save you the headache of maintenance calls when you do rent your home.

Safety Precautions

Ensure the property meets safety standards and regulations. Install smoke detectors on each floor, check carbon monoxide detectors, and provide fire extinguishers. Verify that handrails, staircases, and entryways are secure and in good condition. Make sure your drinking water is safe, check for mold. Washington state shares a list of rental safety resources for homeowners here.

Landscaping and Curb Appeal

Enhance the property’s curb appeal by maintaining the landscape. Trim bushes and trees, mow the lawn, and remove any debris. Consider adding some potted plants or flowers near the entryway to create a welcoming first impression. Again, this is a good area to save money on your rental prep if you have the time and ability to take care of this. If it’s not your cup of tea, hire a professional. 

Interior Upgrades

Evaluate whether any interior upgrades or cosmetic improvements are necessary to attract tenants. Be honest with yourself. It’s easy to dismiss things in an effort to save as much money as possible, but that won’t help you in the long run. Tenants want to live in a home that feels well cared for and attractive. Repaint walls with neutral colors, replace outdated fixtures, and consider updating flooring or countertops if needed. Major renovations should be carefully planned to ensure a return on investment. A qualified and experienced property manager can advise you on what are the “musts” to update and what can wait. 

Deep Cleaning Carpets

If your property has carpets, have them professionally cleaned to remove any stains, odors, or allergens. This can help improve the overall appearance and hygiene of the property. If your carpets are worn and shabby looking, consider replacing them. Having new carpeting installed provides a major facelift to your rental home and can be a reasonably priced renovation. While you are considering replacing the carpet, think about the benefits of replacing it with a sturdy vinyl plank floor. Vinyl flooring can also be relatively affordable, adding beauty and durability to your home. 

Security Measures

Enhance security by ensuring all locks are functional and provide a sense of safety. Consider installing deadbolts, secure windows, and outdoor lighting to provide peace of mind to tenants. Tenants may appreciate a smart security camera to enhance their safety. Make sure they are able to create their own account and pair with the equipment themselves, not piggyback off an existing account. That way they know they are the only ones accessing the device. 

Document and Inventory

Create a thorough inventory of the property, including photographs or videos of each room’s condition before tenants move in. This documentation will help protect your interests in case of any disputes or damages. When you hire a property manager, like VerraTerra, the manager should provide this service for you. Photos and videos are much more effective ways to document than just using a checklist. 

Review Legal Requirements

Familiarize yourself with local and state regulations regarding rental properties, including landlord-tenant laws, lease agreements, security deposit regulations, and fair housing laws. Ensure that your property and lease documents comply with these laws. If you are overwhelmed by this task, it’s a good idea to consider hiring a property manager.

Professional Property Management

If you prefer to have a professional handle the day-to-day management of your rental property, consider hiring a property management company. They can handle tenant screenings, lease agreements, maintenance requests, and other administrative tasks on your behalf. Overall, it will make preparing your house for rent a lot easier for you. VerraTerra provides full service property management in the greater Seattle area for a fraction of the cost other property managers do. Get in touch so we can help. 

Remember, it’s essential to provide a safe, clean, and well-maintained property to attract and retain quality tenants. By investing time and effort into preparing your house for rent, you increase the chances of finding responsible tenants and fostering a positive rental experience for both parties involved.