January 15, 2019
First-Time Landlords: 3 Tips for Preparing Your Rental Property
It’s an exciting moment. You’ve just bought your first investment property and now you are a landlord-in-waiting. The only thing you have to do is get a tenant, right? Not so fast. Before you place that “For Rent” ad, make sure you have everything prepared and in place before you begin.
Let’s dig in…
List Price: It’s Not a Gut Instinct
The biggest mistake many first-time landlords make is to “feel” that their investment property is worth X per month in rent. Know your numbers inside and out. Calculate all your monthly costs outside of the mortgage. This includes any utilities that you are paying, taxes, insurance costs, and projected vacancy costs (5-10% of annual rent) and repair costs. To determine what the market rate is, small landlords do a variety of things to find a rental rate that is competitive and fair. This includes looking through listings of comparable units, asking neighbours and visiting open houses in the area.
Often, first-time landlords become enamoured with the idea of fixing up their rental unit to get top dollar. This is a great idea, as long as you know your numbers and what the market will bear. Because sometimes even with new granite countertops, crown moulding and other upgrades, a rental property just can’t demand the rent that will justify the renovations.
Clean & Tidy Does It
Nothing turns off a potential tenant like dirt and dust and other people’s mess. Clean the floors, making sure all hardwood, laminate or tile floors have been mopped and polished. Steam clean carpets. Make sure the windows are clean and blinds have no dust on them. Go around your unit and dust the chandeliers, light fixtures and remove dust from door frames. (No dust bunnies or cobwebs allowed!)
Conduct a walk-through and ensure that all lighting faceplates are in good order, and check all lights to make sure they all are working. Replace or tighten any door handles or hinges and any loose kitchen/bathroom cupboard knobs or pulls. Refreshing the kitchen with new cupboard and drawer pulls is a quick and easy makeover. As is installing a few new modern, stylish light fixtures.
Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom. The appliances should be clean and polished. The inside of the oven should be spotless. A fresh coat of paint throughout will help increase the appeal of your rental. Little touches, like a welcome mat at the front door or a flowering plant on the kitchen counter add to an inviting atmosphere.
And, don’t forget outside the unit. The yard and front entrance should be well maintained… the lawn cut, snow cleared and leaves raked, depending on the time of the year.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Just as much as you are evaluating and screening your prospective tenants to find the best fit for your unit, the prospective renters are evaluating you.
Consider your answers to these questions:
Are your ads free of spelling errors?
Do the photos of your property look professional? (In focus, good natural light, etc.)
Is the description of the property accurate and appealing?
Are you using a Gmail or branded email address? (Avoid using a Hotmail or Yahoo email.)
Can they receive additional information via email or text?
Can your prospective tenant apply online?
Will they be able to pay their rent online?
Can your prospective tenant get in touch with you easily?
If the answer isn’t yes to each of the above questions, you’ll need to revisit how you want to represent your brand to the world.
How Property Vista Helps
Property Vista offers a suite of marketing, communication and operational tools to help you put your best foot forward. Our cloud-based solutions enable landlords to run their business smoothly and more effectively. If you’re interested in exploring how Property Vista can help your company, see our pricing and arrange a demo by visiting PropertyVista.com/pricing.