When tenants move out, you need to get your property ready for a new occupant quickly. Otherwise, your rental will sit empty, and you won’t collect rental income. But you can’t just give the keys to the first person who’s interested in your property. Before welcoming a new tenant, there are a few things you should take care of first.
What Should I Do To Prepare My First Property For A Tenant?
We get this question a lot from our landlords and you might be surprised by our answer.
Upgrading the property should not be the first thing on your list. Installing stainless steel appliances or granite countertops won’t guarantee a signature on your lease agreement. More importantly, upgrading doesn’t guarantee more rental income each month.
Renters won’t pay more than the average market price for additional features if they’re not standard for the neighborhood. We’ve seen many investors spend money on extra amenities, hoping for a boost in rental income that never happens.
Renters will lease cheaper properties when they don’t need the additional home improvements you’ve made. So, hold off on those renovations unless they’re absolutely necessary.
Impress With the Basics
While complete renovations usually unnecessary, there are several upgrades you should consider. We recommend spending your time and money enhancing what you already have.
Flooring is a huge factor to potential tenants. If you already have decent carpets throughout the home, have them professionally shampooed and raked. If they are stained and soiled badly, you may need to replace them.
When replacing flooring, only use carpets in the bedrooms. In living areas, consider laminate or PERGO flooring. It’s affordable, durable, and looks fantastic. Tenants love it, and it adds value to your property. It also works great in wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
If repainting is necessary, choose neutral tones. Don’t get too creative with colors, as tenants will want their furniture and personal belongings to match as much as possible.
While upgrading to premium appliances usually isn’t necessary, you should make sure that all appliances match. When a potential tenant looking at multiple properties, this could be the deciding factor.
Finally, keep your grass healthy and attractive. Without healthy grass, tenants will most likely track mud and dirt throughout the home, potentially damaging carpets and floors. This also adds to your property’s curb appeal, potentially sealing the deal before they even step inside. A first impression is a lasting impression.
Cleanliness Trumps Upgrades
A clean property gets occupied quickly and tells tenants you take pride in the home — and they should too.
Our cleanliness standard across the board is something we call “hotel clean”. We make sure that each vacant home is cleaned thoroughly before it’s listed, much like a hotel room. Turnover quality control allows us to stay consistent and maintain property value.
If you do decide to make upgrades play it smart. Ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Be wary of upgrading to get more money from rent unless you know for certain it’s possible. Focus in on the cleanliness of your property and you’ll be leasing to your first renter before you know it.
How to Prepare for New Tenants in Your Dallas Investment Property
This helpful property management checklist will help you get your rental property ready for a new occupant quickly and easily.
Top Priority Tasks for Prepping Your DFW Rental Property
- Change the locks. Former residents shouldn’t have access to your Dallas investment property after they move out. Re-key the doors and change pass codes for garage doors. Consider this a standard procedure, not a matter of trust.
- Keep utilities connected. You’ll want the A/C to run in the summer and the heat to operate in the winter. Otherwise, your property is at risk for temperature-related damage like frozen pipes. If you have an irrigation system, you’ll need to have the water connected so it can keep the yard looking lush and green.
- Check the irrigation system’s watering schedule. You don’t want your yard to wither away during a hot Dallas summer. Make sure the sprinklers are set to operate regularly. Some tenants change the schedule to save money on water bills.
- Unplug water lines. As soon as you know the tenant is leaving, make plans to unplug the water lines to the refrigerator and washing machine. Otherwise, you could have water problems if an issue arises when the tenant disconnects the lines.
Next Steps for Prepping Your DFW Rental Property
- Replace air filters. Changing HVAC filters allows the system to work more efficiently and helps improve the quality of the air inside your property.
- Touch up nicks or dings on the walls. Pictures, and wear and tear from daily life, can leave holes or imperfections on your property’s walls. Fill in small holes with spackling. Larger holes may require a mesh patch. If you repaint after the products have dried, the walls in your Dallas real estate investment will be as good as new.
- Have the carpets cleaned. If your previous tenant had kids or pets, chances are the carpets will need some attention. Hire a professional company to clean and deodorize the carpets. It’s usually an inexpensive service but it will certainly improve the look and smell of your property.
- Scrub the bathrooms and kitchen. Even if your tenant cleaned before moving out, you should have a professional cleaning service perform a move-out clean. That is the best way to ensure the property looks great for potential new tenants when they tour the property.
- Make it smell good. Put air fresheners in the main living area and a box of baking in the fridge.
- Look around outside. Remove kids’ toys, grills, potted plants and other items your tenant might have left in the yard.
Finding a New Tenant for Your Dallas Rental Property
- Show the property. Let potential new tenants see the property, and answer their questions about your policies and procedures. Let potential renters complete an application with their information, including references and rental history.
- Check with previous landlords. Reach out to potential tenants’ previous landlords to find out what kind of tenant they will be.
- Conduct background checks. Check potential tenants’ criminal and credit histories to assess the risk and quality of tenants.
- Select a tenant. After thoroughly vetting tenant applications, select a tenant. Have the tenant sign a lease, collect the security deposit and first month’s rent, and make a copy of the tenant’s driver’s license. Get emergency contact info and have the tenant sign a pet agreement, if applicable.
- Provide keys and documentation. Hand over the keys and provide the new tenant with a welcome letter, along with information about what to do if there’s a problem with the property. Provide other information pertinent to the property, like pass codes, HOA rules, etc.
If all this sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Hundreds of landlords rely on our full-service property management to prepare their properties and find new, dependable tenants when vacancies occur. To learn more about how we can help, give us a call at 888-657-3033 or fill out our contact form.