From basic maintenance to upgrading outdated features, there are several steps involved in preparing a rental property for market. Photo: Howard Blood – Intero Real Estate (2017)

If you own a rental property that has recently been vacated, you’ll need to prepare it for going back on the market. While this primarily consists of cleaning and basic maintenance, a vacancy also provides an opportunity to increase the property’s value and maximize your investment. Here are some steps to consider:

Address maintenance needs. Four to six weeks before your intended market date, make a list of maintenance items that need to be addressed. This should include standard maintenance measures like cleaning the carpets as well as deferred tasks such as fixing a roof leak or broken window blind. It’s also a good idea to have preventative HVAC, plumbing and pest inspections performed during this time.

Clear it out. Make sure the property is completely vacated. It’s common for departing tenants to ask if they can leave things behind (usually large items like pianos or pieces of furniture), but such allowances often lead to unintended consequences. To avoid problems and ensure a streamlined process, make sure anything that isn’t a built-in fixture or standard appliance is removed.

Upgrade outdated features. Besides doing basic maintenance, consider replacing or upgrading outdated surfaces (flooring, wall paint), fixtures (faucets, shower enclosures) and appliances (oven, washing machine) in your rental property. A vacancy allows for such upgrades to be implemented without disturbing tenants, so it’s wise to take advantage of this rare opportunity. By making your property more functional and attractive, such upgrades can increase your rental’s market value.

Freshen it up. The easiest way to impress prospective tenants is with a clean, fresh presentation. Consider hiring a professional house cleaner to make sure your property looks (and smells) as pleasant as possible. You should also consider repainting the interior walls—it’s a simple, inexpensive step that goes a long way toward refreshing a property’s overall appearance.

Spruce up the outside. If you don’t have a landscaper regularly maintaining your property, chances are it needs some upkeep. By having all trees, shrubs and grass neatly trimmed, you can be sure your property looks as good on the outside as it does on the inside.

Of course, getting your property move-in ready is just one of many aspects involved in getting it re-occupied—you also need to screen applicants and make sure your rental agreement is up to date. Plus, even after performing initial cleaning and maintenance, you’ll need to handle ongoing upkeep. To make sure all your bases are covered, consider enlisting the aid of a property management company. By handling everything from tenant screening to maintenance needs, a property management company will take care of the details and give you greater peace of mind.

To find a Diamond Certified property management company in your area, visit www.diamondcertified.org.

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