What does it mean to be Rent Ready?
Rent Ready is a property management term that describes a property in the last stage of a turn-key cycle. At this stage, all of the repairs and preventative maintenance are complete, and the house is clean and almost ready for a new tenant. I say “almost ready” because we like to save the final clean and re-keying of locks until a lease is signed (more about this later).
Benefits of Rent Readiness
Homes that are “rent ready” enjoy many benefits over properties where important details have been overlooked. Rent ready properties attract better tenants, rent faster, have fewer maintenance requests, and less security deposit disputes. Yet, with all of those advantages, we encounter many landlords who want to settle for less. For whatever reason, they are satisfied with the status quo and willing to accept the first tenant who signs a lease.
You’re A Landlord AND A Handyman?
I can’t tell you how many landlords we encounter who don’t see the added value of hiring a professional. They think they can save money by doing it themselves. Ahhh… the do-it-yourselfer. We hold them dearly in our hearts. Our team has watched enough HGTV to think we can turn a fixer-upper into a dream home. Heck, some of us have attempted to do just that. But, as much as we love Chip and Joanna, our reality often looks more like “The Money Pit.”
Please take no offense if you are a true, skilled craftsman who knows your way around a t-square and a brad nailer. We aren’t pointing our carpenter’s protractor at you. But, we can often spot a do-it-yourself rental before we even step over the threshold.
Why Rent Ready Matters
It’s just a rental, right? I’m sure we could find a tenant willing to overlook a bad paint job and mailbox strapped to the post with a bungee cord. They may not even complain. But, I can promise you this: they won’t take pride in your investment if you don’t. They will always leave the property worse than they found it. Then what? Pocket the security deposit and move on? Oh, if it were only that simple. Your tenant decided to skip out before the lease was up. They didn’t pay the last two months, and trashed the place to boot. Too bad.
Well maintained properties attract well-qualified tenants and higher rent!
If your property doesn’t pass muster, the well-qualified tenants will go elsewhere. There are plenty of rental properties, and well-qualified tenants are able to snag them. Meanwhile, your property is left with tenants who care far less about maintenance and paying rent on time. They often don’t fulfill their agreements, and they leave the home owing money and with a laundry list of repairs. Our average tenant rents a property for 3 years. They also expect items to be repaired when they break. We happen to believe that’s a good thing. If we handle maintenance while the property is occupied, there is much less to repair in between tenants, and we can re-rent much faster! Our average vacancy is between one and two weeks, and we’re proud of that fact. We can spend less time marketing and get our landlords paid quickly.
A well maintained home virtually markets itself.
It begins with curb appeal. Here is what we look for on the outside of the home:
- Fresh mulch/pine straw
- Freshly cut lawn
- Dead or dying limbs, bushes or trees removed
- Pressure washing as needed including walkways
- Gutter cleaning
- Paint/siding/fascia/decks in good condition – no peeling paint, no rot, banisters and railing are safe, etc.
- Roof is clean and in good condition
- Gates are fully functional
- No holes, drop-offs, or yard hazards
On the interior, here are the major items we look for:
- Paint is all neutral and fresh – no excess nail holes, no peeling or discolored wallpaper, and no ceiling stains.
- Carpet and flooring is neutral, free of stains, odors and damage
- Appliances are fully functional, free of rust, and clean
- Kitchens and Baths are properly caulked with no signs of water damage
- Windows are clean, easy to open, and free of cracks
- Blinds and window coverings aren’t broken, mismatched or missing pieces
- All filters are clean and new (HVAC, fridge, etc)
- Stair/railings are intact and not loose or missing
- Cabinet drawers open/close properly and are clean
- All systems functions properly (or we have been made aware)
- Jacuzzi tubs, steam showers, heated floors, etc
- Sump pumps, garage/bsmt second fridge or freezer, etc
- Doorbells, smoke/carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, etc.
- Attic fan, surround sound, intercom, ceiling fans, etc.
- Home appears to be professionally cleaned, including:
- Fans, baseboards and windows
- Kitchen appliances
- Insides/outsides of cabinets
- Complete debris removal (old paint cans, cleaners, lawnmowers, etc)
- Carpet cleaning and mopping
- All lightbulbs inside/outside work
- Entry door area (remove cobwebs and clean for a warm welcome)
- Garage swept/blown out
And finally, before a home is rent ready, keys need to be properly labeled and documented. That includes all house keys, mailbox keys, garage remotes, pool or amenity access cards.
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