Getting a property ready for lease does not require as much work as getting a home ready for sale. Prospective tenants are not as concerned about curb appeal, condition of yard, or extensive upgrades. However, tenants are looking for homes in good subdivisions that are priced competitively and show nicely.
Tenants are looking for a home with clean walls and carpet. These are probably the most important features. Like home buyers, tenants have choices in looking for homes. However, most will submit an application once they see a home that meets their needs and is priced competitively. Tenants usually don’t preview additional properties once they find one in good condition, because there are fewer homes for lease than for sale. Homes with clean walls and carpet will lease quickly and sometimes receive multiple applications.
We recommend using a flat paint premixed at factory plant to paint interior walls. We use Monarch/Pittsburgh paints, and they are premixed at the plant and shipped to paint stores in five gallon tubs. The paint store does not mix these paints according to a formula. Premixed Monarch paints will touch up better and ensure consistent blending when touching up walls. This saves time and money when turning the property and getting home ready for lease.
Paint is the most cost effective upgrade, and these premixed paints will blend in nicely. We use are Crisp Kahki and Summertime colors. Crisp Khaki is very popular and used in brand new homes. This paint really makes a home look updated and looks great against white trim. We can usually touch up between tenants or roll a wall without having to cut in by ceilings, corners, and trim areas. This saves time and money, and we usually leave leftover paint for tenants to touch up before they vacate the property at end of lease.
Contrary to many articles I have seen for rental property, we do not recommend using a semi-gloss paint. Semi gloss paints will not touch up and will show a new sheen. We also do not recommend having multiple colors in home. Most custom colors will not blend in. Even if you have the original formula, the walls will spot anytime you touch up walls. The most cost effective solution is to have a single premixed color for entire home.
The second most important item tenants look for is clean carpet and flooring. Many times, professional steam cleaning will remove stains make carpets look nice. For do it yourself landlords, I don’t recommend renting a steam cleaner. Invest in having the carpets professionally cleaned. However, worn out carpets will not look better after being professionally cleaned. Carpets will usually last 3-5 years for rental properties. If you lease home multiple times within five years, you will be lucky to get five years of carpet usage. We recommend using a light to dark tan color FHA quality carpet. Many new homes have a white or very light color. Light colored carpets will show more dirt. We don’t recommend installing expensive carpet. We frequently replace carpets from damage and stains. Pet urine will damage expensive carpets just as easy as inexpensive carpets.
Installing extra ceramic tile can lower your cost of ownership long term. If you own a smaller home, it can really payoff installing extra ceramic tile in high traffic areas. Most flooring wear and tear occurs in entry ways, hallways, and living rooms. Ceramic tile never wears out and is resilient to water penetration. We don’t recommend installing wood laminate flooring, especially in wet areas such as kitchen or bath. On more than one occasion, we have had toilets overflow, hot water heaters leak, and dish washer pumps leak. You cannot extract water from any type of wood flooring.
Many landlords inquire about investing in landscaping or sprinkler systems. Most tenants will not take care of the yard like a home owner. Many tenants will shut off sprinkler systems entirely. Tenants frequently program sprinkler controller incorrectly and have large water bills. Others are concerned about high water bills and just turn system off. Sprinkler valves also break, and tenants damage sprinkler heads. We recommend limiting landscaping to small drought resistant bushes in front and mulch. Investing in a sprinkler system will be handy during vacant period in summer months, but till not generate more rent.
Most tenants renting a home also have their own refrigerator, washer and dryer. So, we don’t recommend investing in additional appliances. If you own a multifamily property such as a duplex or 4plex, you should provide a refrigerator. Most tenants will expect landlord to provide a refrigerator. If blinds need replacing in a home, consider spending a little extra for faux wood blinds. Faux wood blinds usually are only $25-$35 more per window and will hold up better than metal blinds and make home show better.
In summary, keep things simple when getting a rental property ready for lease. Paint interior walls using a premixed factory flat paint. Replace carpet if worn. Choose upgrade improvements carefully. And, most importantly, make sure you price home competitively. We recommend being the price leader. Tenants want a good clean home, in a good neighborhood at the very best price. Follow these guidelines, and you will lower you overall cost of ownership and lease your home quickly.
If you have any questions, please call us at 512-257-9836. Our office provides sales, leasing, property management, and mortgage services.