What do I need to do to get my property ready for rental?


One of the first rules of residential property management is that you never show a prospective tenant the property until it is rent ready. Doing so invites all sort of issues with residents wanting you to make decorating choices to fit their desires and, more importantly, discourages many potential residents who just can’t envision what the property will be like when it is ready for occupancy.

Leasing a house is not at all like selling one. While marketing for lease can take 2-8 weeks or more on average, when it leases, it happens fast. Sales can take 30-60 days or more to close once an agreement is in place. It usually only takes us 24-48 hours 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 finally choose a property and put down a deposit until 3-7 days in advance of the date they want to move in.

Ideally, you will want to have the wall 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 like yours. That is not necessarily a bad thing; however, you would want to appeal to the largest cross section of the rental market place. The last thing you want to do is to let a gallon or two of paint stand in the way of finding the best possible resident in the shortest period at the best rental price possible. Those who elect to lease their principal residence are now making the family home into the family business. Running a family business requires making choices unemotionally that will give you the greatest benefit and market advantage possible as vacancy costs are extremely high compared to the cost to cure. 

In addition, several other things may need to be addressed; they can include, but are not limited to the following:


•  Carpet should be professionally cleaned and in good condition with no odors.

•  Premises interior and exterior should be in "move-in clean" condition.

•  All appliances and other systems related to the property should be in clean working condition and repair.  This includes anything that is being conveyed with the property.

•  All plumbing and plumbing fixtures should be in good repair and working properly.  No leaking pipes or running toilets.

•  All bathroom tiles should be in good condition with no loose tile and all cracks, corners and seams properly caulked.

•  Kitchen and bath counters and back-splashes should be in good condition and seams properly caulked.

•  Window treatments should be clean and in good working order or removed.  It is not the landlord's responsibility to provide window coverings on single family homes.  They can be left for convenience of the tenant, but have to meet the above requirements.

•  All electrical outlets and switches need to be in good repair and have cover plates.

•  Interior paint should be fresh and a neutral color.

•  Smoke alarms must be properly installed and in working condition.

•  A household rated fire extinguisher, properly serviced, and attached in the kitchen is strongly recommended.

•  All light fixtures should have working light bulbs and be in proper working order.

•  Ceiling fans, if any, should be clean, balanced and in good working order.

•  Lawns should be mowed, free of debris, edged, trimmed, shrubs trimmed, tree limbs cut away from house and irrigation system (if any) in good working order.

•Well water and soft water systems, if applicable, should be in good condition, functioning and have chemicals added at the appropriate level.

•  House numbers (three inches high) should be properly displayed on the front of the property, as well as affixed to the mailbox.

•  Roof should be in good condition with no leaks.

•  All debris, trash, and/or discards should be removed from the premises, including the attic and storage sheds.

•  All exterior door locks should be in good working order with at least three sets of keys.

•  Exterior paint should be in good appearance without any significant fading, calking, weathering or peeling.

•  Copies of all warranties, service contracts, termite and/or pest control contracts need to be provided to Keystone Real Estate.