Welcome to Episode 4 of AM Property Management.
In this episode, we’re going to discuss how do I get my home ready to rent. Every owner that we come in contact with asks us how they can get their home ready to rent. Well, not really, they actually just ask us what they can rent their home for. But the most important part is what you have to do to get your home ready to rent.
So, we want to talk about 5 different things that we think make your home more presentable and in turn, get you that highest dollar amount that you desire.
The first thing that we look at is the paint in the house. Mike, if you want to just give us a couple of examples of some of the issues that we see with paint. Yep, so most of the time when we’re talking to a homeowner, the house looks nice for the most part. But what you don’t think about is that you have pictures hanging on your walls. So, as soon as you take those pictures down you’re going to have holes that you’re going to have to patch and you’ll need to repaint those walls. Furniture might be brushing up against the wall and might leave a big smudge behind the couch. You just don’t think about it. Your house looks nice, so you’re thinking “why paint?” but 9 times out of 10, you do need to paint once you remove your belongings from the house. It’s little things – if you leave a couple of nail holes or placeholders for pictures, the renter might think it’s okay to leave 30 of them when they exit. So, you’re really protecting yourself by giving the renter the home in perfect condition. So, if all the holes are removed from the wall and everything, as far as paint, looks like it’s in good shape, then if they move out and they do leave holes we’re able to charge them for those damages.
The second thing you need to do to get your home ready to rent is work on the exterior of the house. There’s a lot that goes into the exterior of the house. That’s your biggest selling point is the curb appeal when somebody drives up to the house, landscaping, pressure washing, etc. Adam is a big proponent of pressure washing. Yes, I think that in Florida, in particular – and it depends on what part of the country you’re in. In Florida, you need to pressure wash your property and your driveway once a year. And there are two reasons I believe in doing this. One is you need to protect your asset. The second is there are houses that are around the neighborhood that are for sale and if they drive by your property and see how beautiful it is, there’s a better chance that they are going to pay a higher price for the property that they’re looking at down the street. Which will in turn, raise your investment price. Everything about investing is long-term. You’re looking at appearance and you really want the neighborhoods that you’re focusing on to keep their value. Another thing is landscaping. Make sure your trees are trimmed. When I first moved to Florida, I remember driving around and looking at all the untrimmed palm trees and thinking that those people couldn’t afford to trim their palm trees. It’s important that the renters know you’re financially sound. Throwing some fresh mulch down is going to go a long way in terms of making the people that are looking at your house believe that you care about it and, in turn, they’re going to care about it too.
The next thing is one that’s a big hot button for Adam and that’s light bulbs. Yes, lightbulbs. I know this seems ridiculous, but when I walk into a house and see 4 different kinds of lightbulbs in one vanity set, to me, it screams, “I don’t care about this property”. Everyone makes fun of me, but I spend quite a bit of money making sure that all the different light bulbs in the rooms in the house are all the same. It’s not just about the light bulbs. It’s every little thing in the house. When you leave hints that you don’t want to spend money to protect your asset to tenants, then they start in on how unclean the house is or how this piece of wood on a cabinet wasn’t take care of. So, it seems like a little thing but by matching all the lightbulbs inside the house, you’re showing that tenant that you care about the house and you protect your asset so they should respect your asset.
The next thing is going to be just minor maintenance work on the house. Some common things that we see are blinds that might not work or a towel holder that is falling off the wall. These little that you’ve become accustomed to seeing daily are going to be your first maintenance call. Honestly, you get one chance to make a first impression so you need to fix these little things before they move in or else they are going to be service requests right after the tenants move in. The thing that I always hear the most when I walk into a home is, “Adam, you just need to pull this here and then push on this and it will work perfectly.” So, we want to eliminate any of those things that need a pull, a twist, or a push of the hip to get done. You want to set an example for the tenant that you care about the asset and you, in turn, want them to care for your property.
The last thing is honestly the most important, and it’s just cleaning. You must clean your home before tenants move in, professionally. No matter how well you can clean, what are the chances that you’re going to pull out the stove and clean underneath it or pull out your washer and dryer and get the lint out from behind the dryer. It’s just not going to happen on top of ledges, doorways, etc. If you own a property management company, you should be requiring your cleaning service pull the grease traps behind the stove. They should be pulling the stoves out and cleaning behind the stove, because tenants are looking at these things. Other things are under the blinds, the window sills, the sides of the windows. When a tenant walks in and feels gross, they are going to start complaining. Then you’re automatically going to have to start spending money because you didn’t want to spend $200 to have the home cleaned by a professional because you think you and your wife and son can now clean better than a professional. There are people that focus specifically on making sure that these properties are up to a certain standard and you should want that. When a tenant walks in, you should want them to feel good.
I think the recurring theme here is, if you take the time to care about giving your home to someone, there’s a much better chance of them caring about the home when they’re in the home. By short cutting things, you always end up spending more money. And that’s anything in life, but in property management, when you take a shortcut you’re going to spend more in the long term. And going along with cleaning the home, you should have the tiles professionally steam cleaned, the carpet professionally cleaned. That way it’s fresh. And not just with a vacuum, people can tell the difference, especially property managers. Believe me, the tenants are even more picky than we are sometimes. Just make sure that you have all those things taken care of and you’re going to get a lot better rent for your property and they’re not going to move out. They are going to have a better initial impression and that's huge if you can make that a bonus. I think that some people don’t understand that when you’re renting a single-family home, 1 to 2 month’s rent eliminates all your profit. So, all these little things are so important to make sure that they stay and renew. So, you get a tenant that stays for 3 or 4 years and you don’t have the downtime and expenses. You’re spending a little bit of money upfront but your investment is going to be great in the long run and you’re not going to lose as much money.
In the next episode of AM Property Management, we’re going to be talking about the real estate market. We have a lot of homeowners that are asking us questions constantly. If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you soon!