As a property manager or landlord, there are a number of steps you or professionals need to take in getting a rental property ready to show to new prospective renters. “Rent ready” means the property has been cleaned, repaired, or remodeled and that it’s in rent-able condition for new tenants. Here is a 10-point checklist to make sure your rental home is ready for tenants.
1. Re-key locks and change alarm codes. To help tenants feel safe and secure, re-key all outside doors since you never know who may have a set of your old keys or codes. Re-keying and recoding locks makes old keys unusable – which is important. New tenants will also need keys and codes for garage doors, mailboxes, outdoor sheds, side gates, HOA-issued gate codes, community pools and fitness centers.
2. Hire professionals for top-to-bottom interior cleaning. Renters expect their rental property to be move-in condition, so have the property professionally cleaned. Professional cleaners can get every area of your property clean – from scrubbing the baseboards, cleaning out the refrigerator clearing cobwebs and professionally cleaning the carpets.
3. Spruce up the yard for curb appeal. Cut the grass, trim the bushes, prune the trees, pull the weeds, fix broken sprinkler heads, replace dead or dying shrubbery, and add some new flowering plants (if it’s the season) to flower beds. Remember to remove flower pots, yard furniture and garden decorations; and don’t forget to spray any dirt from the cracks in the sidewalks and patio.
4. Change the air filters. In addition to changing the air filters, cleaning the vents and surrounding ceiling area, it’s not a bad idea to replace any reusable air filters with disposable ones. Disposable air filters don’t require monthly or quarterly cleaning (like reusable ones) and make for one less maintenance item your tenant needs to remember.
5. Light the way properly. Inspect all interior and exterior lighting fixtures to make sure they are working properly and have safe energy efficient bulbs. Replace any broken light bulbs and consider putting in energy-efficient bulbs, which reduce energy costs and don’t need to be replaced as often. If a lighting fixture has a dimmer do NOT use a halogen bulb. Halogen bulbs powered with less than full wattage and can CATCH ON FIRE. For outside lights that don’t need to be replaced, give them a thorough wipe-down: dirt and debris tend to make these lights dim and when it comes to outside security, brighter is better.
6. Inspect ceiling fans. Make sure that all fans operate properly and are dust-free. This is especially important if the property is older and hasn’t been inspected in a while.
7. Inspect and clean windows and sliding glass doors. Windows and sliding glass doors can easily build up dirt. A good cleaning will not only let in more light, but may help them work better. When dirt builds up, say, on a sliding door’s slot, it may prevent the door from operating properly. The door can jam and become a costly repair for you.
8. Clean, repair or replace screens. Torn screens can allow pests into your rental property and present a security and visual problem.
9. Spray for pests. It’s better to have the property sprayed on a regular schedule than to wait until there’s a pest problem. You’ll definitely want to hire a professional pest control company to give your property a full treatment for all of the common bugs in your area.
10. Paint, repair and fix. Fix any holes in the walls before applying a fresh new coat of paint. Repair or replace any carpet that shows signs of damage or doesn’t come clean after a professional carpet cleaning. Fix or replace any damaged tiles.
Mike Murphy is the principal of Northwind Property Management in Roseville California and can be reached at 916-780-5989