19 April 2022

How to prepare your home for the rental market

Danielle Redford
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Whether you’re moving out of the family home or you’ve secured a new property as an investment, preparing a home for the rental market requires a thorough, strategic approach. This will allow you to make the most of your future rental income while ensuring your home is safe and comfortable for your new tenants.

Prepping your home well can also help you to secure a fantastic tenant. This is a crucial part of the renting process, as a great tenant simplifies the process for the duration of the lease. A problematic tenant? Well, we’ve all heard the horror stories.

Invest the time into preparing your home to rent, and you’ll reap the benefits every day of your future lease. Here’s a simple guide to making the most out of your investment.

Fix anything that’s broken

Is there a crack in the steps that’s been bothering you? A problem with the clothesline? Issues with drain pipes? If anything’s broken, now’s the time to fix it. Not only is it easier to fix problems when there aren’t tenants in the property, but this can protect you from larger headaches in the future that could have been resolved with a timely fix.

Walk through each room of your house and write a list of anything you notice that needs attention. It may be a leaking tap, chipped paint, or mould on the bathroom grout. Repeat this process outside, making sure the property is safe, secure and easy to navigate through. This protects you and your tenants from future harm or issues.

Invest in quality appliances

If your home doesn’t have a dishwasher, invest in one. Consider how you can increase the value of your property by investing in quality appliances that will last the test of time. This has a direct impact on the weekly rent that the property can attract while also broadening your pool of tenants to those who have these simple inclusions on their must-have list.

If your appliances require a specific kind of usage or care (like an induction cooktop), make sure to leave easily accessible instructions for your future tenants. This will help to protect your appliances from any accidents caused by misuse.

Give the whole home a deep clean

You set the tone for how you’d like the property treated by establishing its cleanliness at the beginning of the tenancy. Take the time to give your property a thorough clean from top to bottom. This will show up in the entry report, setting the standard the property must be returned to when the tenants vacate.

Look past obvious areas of cleaning and be as thorough as possible in your approach. Steam clean carpets, wipe down curtains and blinds, clean flyscreens and empty garbage bins and make sure your windows are sparkling. This will also let you identify any issues that need resolving, ensuring the property’s handed over in the best condition possible at the start of the tenancy.

Give your home its best chance for success

Great photos. Clean layouts. Welcoming lounge rooms. All of these details make a major difference when it comes to attracting strong tenants. Just like prospective buyers, prospective tenants are looking to envision themselves living in this space. Make the process as simple as possible by highlighting the warmth and welcome of your home, giving it a chance to create a brilliant impression on your future tenants.

Invest in value upgrades

If you’ve been living in the property, you may have put up with old carpet, peeling paint and poorly lit rooms. However, investing in value upgrades can make a world of difference to your property’s rental value.

This is particularly useful for those who are making the most of tax write-offs from their rental income. By strategically timing the cost of making upgrades to your property, you can leverage these sunk costs against your ongoing rental income.

Protect your investment with appropriate insurance

It’s crucial that you speak to your insurance company before renting the property out to tenants. You’ll need to let them know that you’re no longer living on the premises, ensuring your home contents coverage is up to date for your new living situation. As well, investing in landlords insurance is an easy way to increase your peace of mind.

Most tenants will opt to get contents insurance, so making sure that the property ticks the necessary insurance standards (such as working and secure door and window locks) is a proactive step you can take to prepare for the new lease.

Be aware of your obligation to standards and regulations

There are a number of building and council regulations and standards that must be met by all homeowners. These include adequate and safe pool fencing, regulations on stairs and railings, electrical and water efficiency standards, the installation of a minimum amount of smoke detectors and more.

Landlords who fail to meet these standards set themselves up for great risk should any harm come to their tenants or to their contents. This is one area where it pays to invest in a great property manager who can manage any work required to bring the property up to regulations on your behalf. They can also ensure you’re kept up to date with any changes across these standards and regulations, giving you ample warning to bring the property up to date and protect your investment over the long run.

Leave a welcome note for your new tenants

This is entirely optional, but one way to set the standard for your new tenants is to leave a small note of welcome. Letting them know which keys work for which doors, about any property specifics (such as bin day) or details about how to work the oven, for example, is a kind way to welcome them into their new home. After all, they’ll be living there daily until the end of the tenancy - what better way to set the tone for your ongoing landlord-tenant relationship than with a welcome note?

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