Preparing Your Property for Lease
Like attracts like. Properties in good condition attract good tenants. Properties in poor condition attract poor quality tenants. With the current market and competing properties we need the property in rent ready condition the day it is put on the market. Not doing so can cause concerns with potential residents. They may worry that the property will not be in proper condition in time for their move in, or worse, they may choose to rent a competing property that is in better condition.
We like to have all of our properties in the best possible condition to rent. Agents or prospective tenants that see one of our listings in poor condition may decide not to view any of our listings assuming they may all be in the same poor condition. We want them to know that when they rent from us the property will be in good clean condition and properly maintained.
The process of leasing a house is quite different from selling one. While marketing for lease can take 10 to 60 days or more on average, the actual time from application to lease signing and move in is usually MUCH quicker. Property sales can take 3 to 8 weeks or more to close once an contract is in place. It usually only takes us 1 to 3 business days to qualify a resident. Tenants typically don"t begin their search in earnest until 2-3 weeks in advance of the date they want to move in. Additionally, most potential residents won"t make a final property choice property, sign a lease and put down a deposit until 2-10 days away from the date they want to move in.
Ideally, you will want to have the room colors and decorating of the house in a mostly neutral color scheme. If you have customized the property to fit your tastes and you do not neutralize it, then you will be narrowing the market of potential residents only to those with decorating tastes similar to yours. In order to find the best possible resident in the shortest time and best rental price possible you would want to appeal to the largest group of prospective tenants, and the last thing you want to do is to let a couple gallons of paint or needed maintenance issue stand in the way.
When you choose to lease your principal residence you are now making the mindset change from owner to investor and your home is now your product. You need to be able to make decisions based on practical business sense and not personal feelings or emotion. That will give you the greatest bottom line net on your property. Remember, vacancy rate is the single largest expense in leasing your property. Anything you can do to reduce your vacancy rate is usually your best option in the long term.
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In addition, several other items may need to be addressed; they can include, but are not limited to the following:
- Removing all of your possessions and personal property
- Making sure that all the usual appliances are present and working properly for their age
- We do recommend that you have a refrigerator, stove/range, dishwasher and if possible a built in microwave
- We also recommend leaving a washer and dryer but this is optional
- All electrical, plumbing, alarm systems in the house need to be in normal working condition
- We do recommend garage door openers, gas logs in fireplaces (where applicable), and blinds on all windows for many reasons to do with marketing and risk management
- A complete & thorough interior and exterior cleaning of the property is mandatory
- Curing any odors from pets or other sources is mandatory
- All lawn maintenance must be completed and the yard made as simple as possible for residents to maintain
- You should keep gas, water and electric services on until the house is leased