If you have lived in the house for a while, there may be broken or worn out items that you have overlooked. Safety issues and even legal issues should be resolved before you put your house on the market. It is in your best interest to do some preparation before you post the “for rent” sign.
Repairing structural or system defects should be at the top of the list. Tighten handrails, repair steps, and remove hazards inside and outside the home. Make sure all heating, plumbing and electrical elements are up to code. Elevated decks, railing, flooring and framing should be inspected by a Class A contractor for structural safety. Your goal is to have all systems running smoothly and efficiently.
Pay special attention to regularly used appliances such as refrigerator, stove, microwave, washer, dryer, etc.. These appliances receive heavy use daily and should be in good working order. Bathrooms, toilets, showers and tubs should have a clean appearance and be free of mildew. Replace missing tile grout and re-caulk tub and shower with a fresh bead of caulk. Is your carpet stained or worn? Cleaning the carpet, or if necessary replacing it, will freshen up your home. Make sure there is at least one working smoke detector on each level of the home and replace old batteries with fresh ones.
Make sure the property has a clean and tidy appearance inside and out. Remove all personal items from the interior and exterior of the home and yard. Take cans of old used paint to the dump along with yard waste and other items that are not needed. Clean out the garage and sweep away dirt and cobwebs to make the space fully usable. Improve curb appeal by trimming shrubs and bushes and touching up peeling paint on the house or porch.
When thinking about whether to make an improvement or an upgrade to your potential rental property, consider the competition and the price range of other rental homes in your neighborhood. Think about who your target tenant will be. Your location along with the price will be the deciding factor in who will be interested in your house. Will you attract university students, a family with younger children, or singles? You don’t want to over-improve your home and price yourself out of the rental market in your area.
Lastly who will service and manage your home? Do you plan to manage the property yourself or employ a management company? If you are managing the property yourself, you will be the sole contact for the tenant – collecting rent, performing regular property inspections, routine maintenance, and emergency repairs. Hiring a property management company will relieve you of these responsibilities and partner with you to make your investment profitable.