So, you’re thinking about transitioning your personal residence to a rental property.
Maybe the proposition excites you: "I REALLY want to be a Landlord."
Or, maybe you enter this discussion from a simple point of desperation: "I can't sell my house and renting is my only option."
Whatever the case, renting out your home comes with a lot of potential benefits, but it’s also a decision you need to make after understanding exactly what it means to be a Landlord.
How you prepare your home for rent - transitioning it from your personal residence to a highly-attractive, high-performing rental property - is one of the first steps.
Here's an initial premise you should consider: You should view becoming a Landlord as a business, and it’s important to prepare your product - your home - the right way. The old adage of “It’s just a rental home” is a dangerous mentality to have.
We are in a new age of rental property management, and today’s Tenants demand a quality home that’s prepared the right way.
Let’s look at 7 ways to best prepare your home for rent.
How to Prepare Your Indianapolis Rental Home
There are several things to consider when converting your primary residence into a rental home. And in some cases, you could spend a significant amount of money during the preparation. But in almost every case, the money you spend will create a very nice return on the investment.
Keys to transitioning your home into a Rock Star Rental, include:
- Remove all of your personal belongings - Unless specifically noted and agreed upon by your future Tenant, remove all of your personal items from the home. Single family rental homes in Central Indiana are almost never furnished.
In 999 out of 1,000 cases, Tenants will have their own furnishings and won’t be interested in using yours. And no, they probably aren't interested in using the rusty grill on the deck, either.
- Address any known maintenance issues - If you know something doesn’t work, fix it. Nothing will frustrate your Tenant more than moving into a home with multiple maintenance issues.
Things you’ve “learned to live with” - doors that won’t latch properly, a stove burner that continually acts up - should be addressed before the Tenant takes possession.
- Painting - The walls should clean and the paint consistent, free of nail holes or other defects. In addition, neutral colors are your safest bet. A lot of Landlords feel like flat paint is the best route, but remember that flat paint is almost impossible to clean. An eggshell or similar sheen is sometimes a better choice.
- House cleaning - A thorough and professional (yes, professional) house cleaning is essential BEFORE you go to market. Clean houses show better and will attract a higher quality Tenant. The Tenant will also be more willing to clean the property at move-out if they receive a clean property at move-in. So, it's a win-win.
- Carpet Cleaning - A trunk-mounted steam cleaner will do the trick. Avoid Rug Doctors and other rental cleaners. In your Lease, require the Tenants to do the same at move-out.
- Final Cleaning - Inevitably, the home will need a final touch-up clean immediately before the Tenants take possession. The home will get a little dirty with all the showing activity you’ll generate. This shouldn’t cost much, but will definitely set a great stage for your Tenant at move-in.
- Keys - Have several copies of keys made for your Tenant, and be sure to have multiple keys yourself in case you need to provide one or more to Vendors. If you have different keys for different locks, consider having them all keyed alike. It will make your life, and your Tenant’s life, a whole lot easier.
Why Property Preparation is Important
I realize all this work may seem like a lot. But again, it's important to remember that you are entering in a business. It’s important that your customers (the Tenants) are satisfied with the product (the home) for many reasons, including:
- Supply/Demand - Renters are attentive and choosy because of the increased availability of rental homes in Central Indiana. In fact, there are more rental properties in Indianapolis than ever before.
Tenants simply have a lot to pick from, so it's imperative to present an attractive product.
- Higher Rents/Better Tenants - Tenants will pay more for a desirable home. Most Tenants won’t even consider a home that’s dirty or in obvious need of repair.
Simply put, good homes draw good Tenants who are willing to pay top dollar. Unattractive homes draw unattractive Tenants who probably can’t afford to live there.
- Shorter Vacancy - As we've mentioned many, many times, nothing will kill your cashflow like vacancy. Days on Market - how long it takes to rent your home - has a direct impact on your bottom line.
The better your home looks, the faster it will rent, and the more profitable your business will become.
- Higher Renewal Rates - While renewals will generally be dictated on how well you actually manage the home, providing a quality rental home at the outset will go a long way making your Tenant happy.
Happy Tenants tend to renew, which is every Landlord’s goal.
Again, you are entering into a business. If you are willing to prepare your home the right way, running this business will be easier and more profitable for you.
If you have any questions about preparing your home to rent, or property management in general, we would love to hear from you.