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5 Ways to Make your Property Move-In Ready

Preparing your home for renters will certainly benefit the tenants, and the changes you make will keep your property value up so that you can get the best return on your real estate investment. Making your property move-in ready can demonstrate your pride in ownership and attract renters who will take good care of your home. Check local regulations to make sure you are in compliance with rules for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, take care of any needed repairs, and make sure the property is thoroughly clean and appealing. You may even consider remodeling of a bathroom or a kitchen or taking down a wall to create a more open layout.

Think about hiring a professional property management company to prepare your property for renters so you can rest assured that the job will be done right. A property manager can be an important ally, especially if you are a new landlord, live out of town, or own multiple rental units. Remember that taking care of small problems and performing routine maintenance can prevent larger, more expensive problems in the future, whether you tackle the issues on your own or ask a property manager to help out. Before your tenants move in, change or recode locks and entry systems.

1. Perform Routine Maintenance

Filters: Change your air-conditioning and heating system filters to make your property move-in ready. Use the best filter recommended by the manufacturer to prevent malfunctions and keep energy costs down. Poorly operating filters can lead to clogged and contaminated air ducts, which may require expensive professional cleaning. For the best results, change the filters twice yearly.


Water Heater: Drain your water heater and flush it out to remove sediment buildup that can result from the municipal water supply. Sediment buildup can clog the drain valve and reduce the performance of your water heater. It is a good idea to hire a professional to flush out your water heater, or leave it to your property manager to hire the right company to do the job.


Smoke Detectors: Examine the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them out to make sure they are working correctly. These devices wear out and may have to be replaced every 5 or 10 years. Many municipalities require that you keep smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order. If they aren’t and your tenants experience a problem like a fire or a carbon monoxide leak, you may be liable for criminal charges. Better safe than sorry. Disposable air filters are a good idea.


2. Be on the Lookout for Leaks

Inspect the tub and shower in all the bathrooms and repair grout between the tiles and caulking around the tub. You grout and caulking form a waterproof seal to protect the bathroom walls and the flooring underneath. Grout and caulking can loosen as time goes by, leading to the possibility of water damage. Simple repairs can prevent expensive bathroom renovations in the future.

The bathroom is not the only room in the house where water damage may occur. It is important to identify signs of leaks around the water heater, the boiler, sinks and windows as well as toilets and showers. Water leakage can destroy ceilings, walls and floors, cause dangerous mold and damage your tenant’s possessions. A good way to check for leaks is to conduct your inspection after a heavy rain.

3. Keep Pests at Bay

Prevention is the key to pest control. It makes sense to hire a professional exterminator before your tenants move in and continue the service on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. A small investment in preventative pest control with an extermination schedule can avoid insect or rodent problems that can lead to unhappy tenants. A professional pest control company can give the property the necessary treatments to prevent insects common to your area.

4. Stage the Interior

Remember that your goal is to make your property move-in ready to your high standards. Replace old and non-functioning light bulbs with energy-efficient substitutes, make sure any ceiling fans are in working order, replace torn screens, clean the windows and sliding glass doors, and have the carpets professionally cleaned. Hire professionals to get every inch of the interior cleaned, from the inside of the refrigerator to the baseboards near the floor. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in making a home look newer and well cared for. If you decide to paint, be sure to use a neutral color. Staging techniques are a popular way to make your property more appealing to renters. Try removing extraneous furniture, and highlight an interesting architectural element in the room like a large picture window or a fireplace.

5. Clean Up Outside

Make your property more presentable by paying attention to the exterior of your home as well as the interior. Curb appeal provides the first impression your renters will get of your property. Trim the shrubs, cut the grass, prune the trees and remove tired looking yard furniture and garden decorations. If you notice dead spots on your lawn, check to see if your sprinkler heads are working properly. If not, you may have to replace them. Power wash the walkway, and think about going the extra mile by painting the door, changing the doorknob and planting a colorful pot of flowers at the entryway.


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