6 top tips to prepare your home for rent

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6 top tips to prepare your home for rent
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There are several reasons why you might consider renting your house; maybe the market is slow or you’re moving away for a while, but plan on returning. Often times renting is financially a better option than selling right away, especially if you plan to turn the equity into a lump sum one day.

While most renters aren’t as picky as buyers, there are still several things you need to do to get your property rent-ready. These details are especially important if you want to be competitive with other rental properties in the area and increase your monthly income!

6 top tips to prepare your home for rent

1. Pay attention to curb appeal

Curb appeal is critical because this is often the first impression renters get of your property. However, you don’t want to go over the top with trimmed hedges, gardens and other items that need to be maintained. You need to strike an interesting balance between looking good and appearing low maintenance—if people tour your property and feel that it requires an excessive amount of up-keep, they may move on to the next house.

In contrast, if it does require a lot of work and your tenants don’t keep up with it, it could leave your property looking less-than ideal for the homeowners’ association. Using hardscape, or stone and gravel pathways, is a great way to increase visual appeal without all of the hard work, recommends home experts at Empire Siding and Windows.

In addition, if you’re going to handle maintenance services, be sure to list that in the rental description and point it out as you show the home. That’s a feature renters will love—minimal work while living on a nice property.

2. Know when to upgrade

While it’s true that renters aren’t as picky as buyers, it’s still necessary to upgrade your appliances and other features of the house when possible. You don’t have to do everything at once, but a home with upgrades or even smart features will likely attract better prospects and potentially save you money, according to 7 Smart Home Upgrades That Increase the Value of Your Home.

It’s also a wise investment because you can charge more for rent, despite the size of the house or location. If you’re renting a vacation home in the mountains, features such as a hot tub are actually expected from renters and people will often pay a more for them.

At the end of the day, your investments will pay for themselves after a few years.

Read more: 10 kitchen upgrades that could ruin your home’s resale value

3. Spray for Pests

When prepping your house for renters, have a professional come out and spray for pests. It’s better to take the necessary steps on a routine basis in order to prevent infestation down the road. This also avoids the costs of having to put tenants up in a hotel if an issue is undetected or not taken care of.

4. Inspect heating and air conditioning units

Make it a point to have routine heating and air conditioning unit inspections. Have a professional come to a routine inspection, checking for efficiency, longevity and reliability—renters will not be happy if their energy bill is sky high or they’re stuck without heat or air conditioning when they need it most.

5. Look for small but important fixes

It’s easy to miss some of the most important areas that need fixing in your home because you are not a home repair expert, and you may have been living with many of these quirks for a long time—to you, it’s just how it goes. To new renters, it’s a problem. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Garage door issues: If you have a garage, renters will want to use it. So, make sure the doors are working properly with a basic inspection. “There are several components that make up the working parts for a properly functioning garage door opener system. Areas that require attention in garage door basic inspections include the Emergency Pull Cord, Torsion Springs, Extension Springs, Broken or extended Chain or Belt,” according to CSS Garage Doors.
     
  • Lighting issues: Are there some light switches that work, and some that don’t? While you may have learned which ones work and which one’s don’t over the years, tenants will find it annoying. Bring an electrician out to inspect and fix any bad circuitry.
     
  • Flooring: If your kitchen tile has been coming up for years, now is the time to fix it—even if it only comes up if you step on it just the right way, or knick a corner with your toe. If you don’t fix it now, tenants will be calling for you to fix it later.

Read more: 8 things homeowners should do once a year

6. De-clutter the house

Before anyone looks at or moves in to your rental, spend an afternoon de-cluttering everything. If you’re renting unfurnished, this sholdnt be a problem—you’ll take everything out anyway. But if not, this is important. While you want your tenants to enjoy your house just as you would, anything you leave behind is subject to wear and tear or even possible destruction.

This is especially true for vacation rentals where you might be sharing the house on and off throughout the year. Perform an inspection before and after to account for all of your belongings and any missing items.

Use an app like My Inventory Tracker to keep an organized record of all the items in your home and Landlordy to manage what needs to be fixed, what safety regulations you need to be aware of and much more.

Renting your home is a great way to make extra money or keep a property when you have to live elsewhere for a period of time. Use these tips to make sure it’s ready for your first tenants—do the legwork now and everyone will be happy later.

Read more: 39 ways to sell your old stuff for the most cash

How to sell your home without an agent

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  â†µJessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelance writer and consultant. She's worked with a variety of real estate clients, and has written for Forbes, Inman, House Hunt Network, Remax and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on ...Read more
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