Part 1: Preparing your Property for Leasing – The First Time

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As I begin my Blog series “So, You Want to be a Landlord?”, I thought I would start at, well, the beginning.

Generally, when we begin property management with a new Landlord, the home was, and may currently still be, the Owner’s principal residence. For whatever reason, the Owner cannot or does not want to sell the property and decides to rent it instead.

Our job, which is sometimes tricky and oftentimes awkward, is to provide an honest assessment of the home in terms of rentability. Is the home clean? Does it need to be painted? Does the carpet need to be replaced? In many cases, work needs to be done and convincing the Owner to do the work can sometimes be difficult.

Generally, we require the following items to be addressed before we’ll move a Tenant into the home:

1) A professional cleaning. Yes, professional. We want to set a great tone for the Tenant.New landlord checklist The home should shine as much as possible. Baseboards, appliances, you name it.

2) Carpet cleaning. Like the house cleaning, all carpets should be professionally steam cleaned. Rug Doctors, in our experience, are not adequate. Keep in mind that we require your Tenant to commercially steam-clean the carpets at move-out.

3) Eliminate all safety concerns. Are smoke detectors installed and in working order? Is the HVAC clean and functioning? Any tripping hazards? Are handrails installed? Obviously, safety risks are not tolerated and addressing them is in the interest of everyone involved.

4) Make repairs. We realize that those vice grips to turn the dishwasher off & on might work perfectly fine for you, but most Tenants won’t tolerate that. Get it fixed.

5) Remove all personal belongings. No, your Tenant will not want your broken down green couch in the basement.

6) Painting. The paint job doesn’t have to be perfect, but the walls should be clean and presentable. Any touch-up paint that’s available for the home should also be left behind.

For the most part, Owners understand what it takes to get the home in rent-ready shape. Our experience shows that a home prepped in a high-level way will often times be returned to us in a similar state.

Check out Part 2: Managing the Move-In as well as these other great landlord resources.


About the Author

Jeremy Tallman

Jeremy is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Broker for T&H Realty Services. He has been active in the Central Indiana real estate market since 2000 and leads one of the most successful single-family property management companies in the state.

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