You need to strike a balance when preparing your house to be rented. You want to make it as attractive as possible to potential renters while keeping your investment in fixing up the house low. You’ll want to choose materials that are known for being durable and inexpensive to replace.
You’ll also need to present the house in the best possible light. Anyone who will rent a rundown property is a renter you probably don’t want to hassle with. Attract potential renters with high standards by fixing up your house in a manner that shows you care about your property and will work to maintain it.
Fixing Up Your House
Clean your house thoroughly. Disinfect the refrigerator by cleaning it and then wiping it down with a product containing bleach. Clean the stove and oven until they sparkle. Clean and polish fixtures in the bathroom until they are gleaming. Renew wood floors by removing any wax buildup or stains.
Paint the interior rooms in your house. Realtor.com recommends using neutral colors, such as off-white and beige. This will give your home a new appearance and save you the trouble of removing scuff marks and other spots from walls. Before painting, fill in nail holes and repair any plasterboard damage. Never leave rooms painted bright colors. While you may be enchanted by your lime-green bedroom, many potential renters will think differently.
Replace old linoleum and carpet. Consider replacing carpet with tile. Even though tile is more expensive in the short term, it will last longer than the carpet, and you will not have to spend money cleaning or replacing it between tenants.
Complete minor repairs such as replacing knobs on cabinets and fixing dripping faucets. These inexpensive improvements will go a long way toward making your house appear comfortable and livable.
Rent a pressure washer and clean the driveway, porch and the house itself. This is the least expensive thing you can do to give your house a fresh look short of painting the exterior. While you’re working on the outside, trim hedges and keep the grass cut. Planting a few flowers in beds can also help give your house curb appeal.
Remove as much of your furniture and personal items as possible. You’ll want renters to be able to imagine themselves living in the house with their own items. The things you keep in the house should be kept very clean and orderly. You will be subtly letting prospective renters know what your standards are. If renters see a house that is cluttered and not well kept-up, they may believe that you will not be bothered by minor damage to your property.
Ask a friend to evaluate your home for you. She may notice if there are any unusual smells or if the steps are creaky—things that you may have become accustomed to and therefore have not noticed. Anything your friend notices, prospective renters are likely to notice as well.
Renting your House
Place advertisements for your house in newspapers, online and in local rental publications. Place a sign in your yard with your phone number. Use your social networks to let people know that you have a house for rent. Word of mouth can be very effective.
Obtain a standard lease from your state and be diligent about checking the credit of the applicants. Also check references thoroughly. References should be from prior landlords. Check with at least two previous landlords before renting the house to prospective renters.
Line up reliable plumbers, electricians and other maintenance people so that you can address issues that arise with your property quickly. Set money aside in an account so that you will be prepared for any home repair emergencies.
Consider hiring a property management company to handle the property. They can take care of leasing the property as well as maintaining it.
Depending on the laws specific to your state, it can be quite difficult to evict someone who is renting your house. The process may take months. This is why you should check references very carefully. See the Resource section for a list of states and their tenant/landlord laws.
- house image by hans slegers from Fotolia.com