Before your new tenant can move in, there are a couple of things you need to check off the list. Going through this checklist can help you identify issues that need to be addressed before the new tenant arrives. Here are nine things you should do to get your property rent-ready:
#1 Conduct a Walk-Through
If you hired a single-family property management company, you would already have a move-out condition report that details everything that needs to be replaced, repaired, and cleaned. Generally, a walk-through is the last thing you should do when a tenant moves out, and the first thing you should do before a tenant moves in. By conducting a thorough inspection, you can spot anything that needs attention, such as broken tiles, damaged windows, etc. Your past tenant’s security deposit should be able to cover the damages.
#2 Change the Locks
Before a new tenant moves in, it’s a good idea to change all of the locks on your property. Change the locks on all of the doors that provide access to the outside world such as the front door and balcony door. This keeps your new tenants safe — you don’t want to get an angry phone call from a renter who caught an old tenant trying to get in. Also, don’t forget to change the locks on your mailbox, garage door, outdoor shed, side gates, etc. because you never know who might have an old set of keys to your place. You should also consider installing keypunch locks so that you don’t have to replace or re-key locks each time a new tenant moves in.
#3 Paint and Fix the Walls
Repainting the interior is one of the most common rental property repairs that landlords have to deal with. Most tenants expect newly painted interior walls upon moving in — you can DIY this by buying a can of paint or by hiring professional painters. A fresh coat of paint will instantly liven up any space, making it look as if it just went through a complete makeover. It’s also a ‘quick fix’ for covering up imperfections like doodles on the wall courtesy of your past tenant’s toddler. But before applying a new coat of paint, be sure to check for any holes in the wall and repair them first.
#4 Check All Appliances
Is your refrigerator still running? Even if your last tenant left your property in one piece, it’s still a good idea to check if all of the utilities are in working condition. Check everything including the fridge, washer and dryer, television, radio, smoke detectors, and more. By making sure that everything is functioning, you can avoid emergency repair requests during your tenant’s occupancy. If you find that your appliances are on their last leg, purchase new items as soon as possible. You don’t want your tenant to move in only to find that the refrigerator is missing.
#5 Clean Windows and Glass Doors
Windows and doors, especially those made of glass, can easily accumulate dirt. Cleaning them not only lets in more natural light, but it also improves their functionality. When dirt and other debris build-ups on a window or door, the sliding mechanism gets jammed, which can result in costly repairs if left unaddressed. You can wash the windows and doors yourself, but hiring a professional cleaner will save you a lot of time. This is also a chance to check for torn screens so you can replace them before move-in day.
#6 Clean the Property
When checking in at a hotel, guests sometimes can’t go up to their rooms because housekeeping is still tidying the room up. This is how you should treat your property. Tenants expect to move into pristine units, which is why you should thoroughly clean and deodorize the entire property, especially in ‘messy’ areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. You can clean the property on your own if you want to save money, or you can hire professional cleaners to do the dirty work (literally) for you. Don’t forget to shampoo the carpets!
#7 Have Your Property Inspected
Depending on where your rental property is located, it may have to be inspected by the city inspector before new renters can move in. Inspections are conducted to ensure the habitability of your property. In South Florida, landlords are not allowed to lease a property unless it has been deemed “safe to live in as a full-time dwelling”. This includes ensuring that plumbing and electrical systems are working, checking for bed-bugs, inspecting for mold, and more. It’s important to be familiar with your town or city’s laws — hiring a property service company can help you stay compliant year-round.
#8 Spruce Up the Lawn
Show your landscaping some love! Your front lawn is the first impression that will greet your tenants and passersby, so it’s only ideal to spruce it up once in a while. You can do simple tasks such as cutting the grass, trimming the bushes, pulling weeds, adding new decorative plants, and so on. You could even pay a professional landscaper to ensure that your garden is the best on the block. However, you may want to go for low-maintenance plants — you don’t want to leave your new tenants with the burden of watering your plants.
#9 Ask the New Tenant for Specific Requests
There are situations where a tenant has specific requests, such as painting the home a certain color or installing warm lighting. It’s up to you to grant these requests, but if you do, make sure that you add the requests to your lease agreement. For example, if a tenant requests to paint the entire interior white, you will need to include the $1,000 you spent on repainting in the lease agreement. This serves as proof that the tenant is fully aware of these terms.
Welcoming a new tenant into your home requires more than just handing over a set of keys. There are several steps involved, but it will be worth it when you see how happy your tenants look when they move in.
With Luxury Property Care, we make sure that your home gives its new tenants a warm welcome. We handle everything from conducting property walk-throughs to preparing the lease agreement.