Upgrading a rental property to an appropriate standard helps set expectations for how tenants should treat the home. For example, if you offer a clean, neat property with appliances and the heating system in good working order, you are making the unspoken statement that you expect a tenant to help maintain this standard. By taking time to fix up a property, you will elicit more respect from those looking to rent a home. Poorly maintained property sends a strong message that the landlord cares only about income from the home and little about the property itself.
Fix Needed Repairs
Make repairs to the house first. Fix anything that's wrong with the roof, foundation, plumbing system or electrical wiring, for example. If you take time to hire a well-qualified inspector, you don't have to fix everything suggested. But, you will have an idea of how to plan upgrades as time goes on. Never neglect anything of real importance, such as critical electrical upgrades, before a tenant moves in. Be sure to replace lead pipes and any issues monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Tidy Up Inside and Out
Clean the house and yard space. Wash the windows, porches and sidewalks. Clean all junk off a carport or out of a garage. Pull weeds, trim bushes and mow the lawn for a tidy look. It pays to take down light fixtures inside and outside for a meticulous cleaning. Touch up paint throughout the house and take time to paint entire rooms that look dirty.
Give Each Room Attention
Freshen up each and every room. Add some crown molding and a new sink to the kitchen, for example, along with bright towels. If you want tenants to feel instantly at home, put a lot of thought into adding an appealing framed piece of artwork in the living room and each bathroom. Rearrange furniture, if you will rent the home furnished, so each room looks uncluttered.
Freshen the Flooring
Remodel floors to give the house a new feeling. Replace worn carpet, if the budget allows. Or, clean the carpet and add an inexpensive area rug over the carpet for a neat appearance. Install inexpensive sheet vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms if the floors are worn looking. Paint some of the flooring white or pale green in an older home with wooden floors, if the boards are damaged or dented. Add some accent rugs.
Work on the Curbside Image
Create great curbside appeal. You will need to pretend you are the potential tenant, so imagine what will impress someone driving up to take a look. Fix up the porch with a brass mailbox and hanging flower baskets, for example. Add a painted rocking chair and table. Plant a few flowers in containers on each side of the walkway.
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