Are you planning to rent out your property? This article discusses 5 quick and easy house improvements that will help you make a great first impression on potential tenants.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the US rental market is on the rise, however it doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to find tenants. You have to work for it – and you are still in competition with other rentals in your area. Most of the time, finding tenants is not as easy as posting one ad, and then watching them compete with each other to get your rental. You have to be competitive!
While rent prices still tend to be the main deciding factor for most prospective tenants, statistics indicate that highest vacancy rates are with properties that have not been maintained (go figure!).
To rent your property quickly, reduce vacancy rates, and command the most money for it, you’ll need to make your house appeal to tenants before showcasing it – not after they move in. Think about it, would you ever buy a house if the previous homeowner says “oh, don’t worry, I’ll fix that toilet after you buy the house from me”? I think not.
During the typical life-cycle of a lease, the majority of non-critical property repairs tend to happen either between tenants move-out/move-in, or within 1 month of a lease ending.
5 Easy Home Improvements
These 5 quick improvements are the areas that I try to focus on before listing my available rentals:
1. Improve Curb Appeal
Improving the landscaping is one sure way of making your property more appealing to viewers. Begin by assessing your property to see how you can spruce up the property’s look. Some simple things that you can do to make your property more appealing include:
- mowing the yard
- edging the lawn along sidewalks and driveways
- including spring flowers and plants, especially the ones with bright colours like yellow and red near the walkway and other front areas
2. Stage Your Home
You don’t have to be a professional interior designer to successfully stage your home. The basic tips are:
- Remove personal items and clutter so potential tenants can picture themselves living there when they visit.
- Remove things like toys, papers, magazines, make-up products, bathroom appliances and family photos which allow the tenant to image their stuff in its place.
- Give your house a “blank slate” feel so you appeal to the largest audience.
- Remove extra or bulky furniture which might be over-crowding the space.
Learn More: the following articles provide some great advice on staging:
- Landlordology: How to Maximize Your Rental Income through Renovation & Decoration
- BiggerPockets : Home Staging – Why You Can & Must Do It
- HGTV: 15 Secrets of Home Staging
- Investopedia: How To Stage Your Home For A Quick Sale: 15 Secrets of Home Staging
- Better Homes and Gardens: Staging Tricks from the Pros
3. Paint Your Walls
Consider adding a new coat of paint, especially on the walls and window frames. This will make everything look cleaner and fresh. Additionally, using bright colors such as white and light tan will also make rooms feel bigger. As discussed in the previous article “Amazing Paint Colors for Rental Properties“, a great color combination is Manchester Tan for the walls, and Decorators White for the trim and doors.
4. Clean the Floors
Flooring is one of the first thing that potential tenants will notice when they enter a home. Prior to every showing, dust, vacuum, and mop the floors to ensure they shines.
For laminate flooring, vacuum and use a floor shiner (like Swiffer). If the flooring is irreparably stained or broken, consider hiring a laminate flooring professional for replacement. If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood flooring under your carpet, pull the carpet up and refinish the hidden hardwood floor.
For other types of flooring, such as cork, linoleum, etc, simply vacuum and mop the floors to keep them clean and attractive.
If you must have carpet, consider using a high-quality berber carpet which will be able to withstand rough and turbulent tenants.
5. Maximize Lighting
Regardless of the weather (cloudy, sunny, rainy, etc), turn on every light in the house to brighten it up. Open all the blinds or curtains to let light in. For an evening or nighttime showing, ensure the outside of your house is well-lit with sufficient flood lights, and walkway lighting.
One time, I forgot to turn on the porch light, which made the house numbers hard to see from the street. It took an applicant an extra 10 minutes to find the property simply because I forgot to turn on the light. It was not a great way to make a first impression.
What Will you Do?
Which of these 5 tips will you use the next time you need to rent out a unit? Let me know in the comments below.