Preparing your own home for other people to rent is not as simple as just moving out and putting a for lease sign out the front.
There are several things you should consider before letting strangers pay for the privilege of living in your castle.
So, why prepare your home to rent?
A properly prepared home will not only fetch a better weekly rent, and attract a better tenant, it will also help ensure the whole rental process is simple and easy from start to finish.
There are things an owner would be happy to live with, knowing they could be fixed in time, that a renter wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – have to deal with. And there are also some alterations that could make your home more appealing and stand out from the crowd – or even get your more rent.
So here’s our checklist of what you should consider before renting out your home.
If it’s broke, fix it
From the letterbox to the back fence, and everything in between, carry out any repairs to make sure your home is in tip top condition. This also applies to anything small that you’ve just grown used to living with, like mouldy bathroom grout, leaking washers, dripping taps, broken tiles or chipped paint. A small repair or some maintenance now could save you a bigger problem in the future.
Think about what you will be leaving behind or letting the tenants use and make sure it’s in good working condition. For instance, if your kitchen has space for a dishwasher, it’s usually best to leave it as it can add value. Or if your laundry has a particular shaped space for a built in washing machine you might be better to leave it rather than expect a tenant to buy their own.
You want your property handed back to you in good condition, so set the initial benchmark high. Just as you would if you were going sell, before you rent out your property give it a good spring clean and make sure it’s sparkling. Don’t just do the basics – we’re talking a proper spring clean including:
Carpets; curtains and blinds; flyscreens; windows; garbage bins; garage and more.
Prospective tenants are the same as prospective buyers – they’ll be more attracted to a well-presented property So while you might not want to go so far as to get the property stylists in, make sure you do your best to have it looking great for the photos and that it is tidy for any viewings.
Don’t forget the outside
Is the letterbox in need of repair? Are the gutters clean? Is the fence in good condition? Are there any pests or insects you need to deal with? And make sure you mow, sweep, rake, prune and have the garden looking tip top.
New paint, carpet and light fittings can be a cheap but effective way to update a property. Adding heating and cooling like reverse cycle air conditioning can potentially add value to a rental property. And so can a new bathroom or kitchen if the old one is very outdated but you’ll need to do your own cost benefit analysis and work out how long it will take to recoup the initial outlay. Your property manager or agent can best advise you on your particular situation.
You’ll need to let your insurance company know you’re no longer living there and arrange landlords insurance. Your tenant will probably want to get contents insurance and many companies require door and window locks to be of a certain standard.
The fine print
Think about whether any aspect of your property might not meet current regulations or safety guidelines. For example, this could include pool fences, stairs, railings, balconies, blinds and curtains, glass and windows. Does the property meet electrical and water efficiency standards under your local Residential Tenancies Act? Landlords are also usually required to provide smoke detectors. Check the laws relevant to your property with your property manager or real estate agent.