First impressions – one shot only!
You know what they say about first impressions – you never get a do-over. The same goes for your Columbia rental property, and the potential tenant’s experience! Whether you are a first time investor or a seasoned one with a huge portfolio, it’s crucial to know what you need to get your Columbia rental property ready for its first tenant. Here are 10 things every house needs before your very first open house!
1. Change the locks!
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s even the law in some states, where the locks must be changed in between tenancy/occupancy. This includes from owner to owner. Even though you may have just purchased this rental property, the first thing you should do is get those locks changed to ensure the new tenant can secure the property and know that no one else has keys except those that should. Make sure they are all the same, and you are not giving the tenants a wad of keys you don’t know which go to which! Spend the extra money for smart locks, or quickset locks so the next time around it’s a breeze, and less expensive!
2. Paperwork! Cross your t’s and dot your i’s!
Make sure that all your purchasing documents are finalized, that if you hired a property management company, they have all the resources they need to get started, document the condition of the property in great detail using an inspection format, take video if needed, and keep all your records safe, and backed up! Make sure that you have all the HOA information and understand what is required of you to rent out this Columbia Rental property so you are complaint with rules and regulations.
3. Get the place professionally cleaned!
This might seem like overkill, but it will be worth the investment to have the property smelling great, and looking great for potential tenants. You can also hold the tenant to these standards when they vacate. But remember, this should be the last thing you do before you are ready for your open house! Don’t let the vendors undo a professional cleaning job!
4. Fix everything possible!
This one is so incredibly important. Tenants will notice that broken light switch cover, and the wobbly faucet, and the burnt out light bulbs. All of these repairs are super inexpensive, and super quick. But those small details make all the difference. While they may seem minuscule to you, they are huge red flags to tenants and send the message that you don’t care.
5. Get the HVAC duct work, vents, and dryer vents cleaned out.
This one may not be as obvious, but if you have a tenant who has lived there for more than a year, or you just purchased this property, get the duct work cleaned, and clean that dryer vent! Those are two commonly missed items that greatly increase the air quality of the home, and prevent further, more expensive maintenance down the road.
6. Clean the windows!
I know, another silly one, but dingy windows make the property seem dirty. Even if you had it professionally cleaned, not having crystal clear windows that let in light can send the wrong first impression. Also make sure that all screens are in place, and are without holes, rips, or tears.
7. Get the pests out!
Pest are often an unexpected surprised – make sure you have an exterminator do a full sweep of the property to eliminate any unwanted guest appearances during your showings! Pests love vacant homes, so make sure there are no surprise! It also is a great idea to treat between tenancy/occupancy to ensure there are no pests shared, such as bed bugs!
8. Freshen up the paint, and flooring.
This doesn’t mean you need to do a repaint in between each tenant, but this first impression is the only one you have, so make sure the entry way is bright and clean, there are no stains or marks on the walls, especially wear marks where furniture may have been, or pictures were on the walls. Also touch up those tiny nail holes! Do not skimp on the carpet cleaning, it will drastically prolong the life or your carpet – and in some states is a requirement to be done between tenants and occupancy!
9. All appliance services!
Kitchen appliances, water heater, furnace, air conditioner, garbage disposal – should all have regular flushing/testing/service. Flushing the water heater, and having the HVAC system serviced will help prevent those middle of the night emergencies! This is incredibly crucial if you just purchased a property – the likelihood that the previous owner did these items is practically zero. If you don’t do these items, then after your tenant moves in, you can bet there will be a lot of maintenance calls!
10. Curb Appeal is your first shot to get someone interested!
The worst thing you can do is neglect the curb appeal. If no one even wants to come inside your Columbia Rental property, you might as well not even bother. Having trash, weeds, overgrown shrubs, and a roof full of leaves sends the message that you are a slumlord and do not care about the condition of the property. Make sure you have the yard freshly mowed, leaves and weeds removed, shrubs trimmed, and the gutters cleaned! Not only will it help attract great tenants, it will also help keep pests away, flooding and water leaks, and extend the life of the foundation. Also make sure that your property can easily be found – make sure that the house numbers are bright, bold, and easily readable. Don’t forget exterior lights. Replacing them with bright white LED bulbs will reduce the need for replacing, but also make the property bright and inviting in the evening.
Once you have all those items completed, your Columbia Rental property is ready for its first open house! Make sure your application process is easily, and technology friendly, and you are on your way to finding a great tenant!