Are you getting ready to show your rental unit to prospective new tenants? If so, you’ll have to prepare it for viewing.
Finding new tenants can take some time, and it’s tempting to want to start showing the unit as soon as your old tenants move out.
But there are a few things you’ll need to do first …
To get your property ready, check out these seven essential steps to preparing your apartment for new tenants.
1. Make Repairs
No one wants to live in a dirty place with stained carpets, broken windows, or holes in the wall. So there’s no point in showing the property to potential tenants unless it’s in good condition.
Before you list your apartment for rent, take the time to repair any damage the previous tenants left behind.
Depending on the level of damage, you may be able to make some repairs yourself. But for big jobs, such as installing new floors and windows, it’s always best to hire a professional.
You should always hire licensed pros to do any jobs that involve heating, plumbing, or electricity.
Between tenants, give your apartment a fresh coat of paint. Buy some painting supplies and hit every wall, door, and windowsill in the unit. Make sure to spackle any holes in the wall, too.
Something as simple as new paint can take your apartment from dingy to pristine in a matter of hours.
Here’s a recommendation:
Your first instinct might be to paint the walls white or beige. But there are other “neutral” colors worth considering.
Light shades of blue, grey, and tan are all good options. They are easy to coordinate with different types of furniture but have a little more “pop” than traditional white. The right color can make your place stand out from other listings in the same price range and may even attract more interest.
Consider all of your options before you run out and buy two gallons of eggshell white paint.
3. Clean Everything
When you’re done painting and making repairs, hire a professional crew to clean the apartment thoroughly. That includes tubs and sinks, kitchen appliances, walls, and windows.
If you have hardwood floors, mop and wax them. If you have carpet, it’s best to replace it between rental periods. If you can’t install a new carpet, hire a professional to steam clean the existing one.
Open all the cabinets and wipe down every shelf. Remove any lingering stains or spills in the refrigerator and stove. Go the extra mile by cleaning and disinfecting every surface to make the best impression on potential tenants.
4. Check Air Filters and Heating Units
When you give tours to possible tenants, it’s important that the apartment looks good. But it’s even more critical that it’s a safe place to live.
Take the time to install new air filters. Make sure that A/C and heating units in tip-top shape. Hire professionals to service HVAC units, check carbon monoxide levels, and ensure that all events are clear.
As a landlord, it’s your duty to provide a livable environment for tenants. Safe heating and proper ventilation systems are essential to a healthy, comfortable home. If you have a range hood or a kitchen vent over the stove, check that too.
It’s also a good idea to replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. At the very least, replace the batteries.
5. Check All Appliances
If the stove doesn’t work properly or if the refrigerator doesn’t keep things cold enough, no one is going to rent your unit. So before you rent to anyone, make sure that all appliances are functional.
If need be, hire someone to ensure that they are working at optimal levels.
If appliances need minor repairs, make them. If major repairs are required, it’s best to replace your appliances with new ones. It’s always easier to install new appliances in an empty place than it is when someone is living there.
Keep appliances consistent in color. You may be able to save a few bucks on a basic white fridge, but if all of your other appliances are black, spend the extra money for the black refrigerator. You might pay a bit more upfront, but a nice-looking kitchen is a big draw for renters (and it might allow you to get a few extra dollars in rent).
As the landlord, if you pay for some or all of the utilities, install energy-efficient appliances to lower monthly costs.
6. Change the Locks
Safety is a must, and landlords need to do everything possible to ensure that the apartment is a secure place to live. That means you need to change the locks every time someone moves in or out.
Do not give your new tenants copies of the keys that the last renters had. Just because the last tenants returned their keys doesn’t mean that they don’t have copies they’re still holding onto.
This is one shortcut you can’t afford to cut. It’s important to change the locks between tenants, every single time. If you have a multi-unit property with an exterior door, it’s a good idea to change the main locks every once in a while, as well.
7. Take Pictures
With the above steps completed, it’s time to list your apartment. But there’s ONE more thing you need to do before you can post it for rent…
When all repairs have been made and all cleaning and painting are complete, take photos of every room and every detail. Shoot your pics when the unit is empty to document the condition of the apartment before the rental period begins.
Why is this important?
Because if your tenants do damage, those photos will be the evidence you need to withhold their security deposit when they move out.
Ready to find new renters for your apartment? Before you do, you’ll need to:
- Make repairs
- Paint every room
- Clean everything
- Check A/C units, and air filters
- Make sure that all appliances work
- Change the locks
- Take pictures
Follow this checklist before listing, and you’re sure to find the perfect tenants in no time!
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over 10 years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Sakara on a daily basis to grow their online presence.