To create long-term success managing a rental property, treat it like a business, no matter how big or small the property is. Many tenants need little input or maintenance and are reliable. This can reduce the amount of effort the landlord or property manager must put into the property while a tenant occupies it.
However, the time period between when an old tenant moves out and a new tenant moves in is critical. Having a rental property improvement checklist is key to managing this transitional time and setting up the new tenant for success.
1. Inspection and Review
After the old tenant moves out, it is vital to inspect the property. Do not skip this step even if the tenants did not appear to damage the property. Things can go wrong under the radar. Inspect for leaks, loose flooring, and any plumbing issues. Inspect the roof and doorways as well. Photograph the property if necessary. Many rental agreements allow property managers and landlords to keep some of the initial deposit for repairs after the tenant leaves. After carefully inspecting the entire property, it is important to do a deep cleaning. This can also help reveal hidden issues.
If the property is a home, this is an excellent time to review the homeowners’ insurance policy. Just as with car insurance, it’s important to stay up to date with information on file with the insurance company. To get the best homeowners insurance rates, review the terms of the policy. Calling other homeowners insurance companies in the area for quotes is a smart way to find out if the current policy is the best price.
2. Paint and Maintenance
The goal when an old tenant leaves is to get a new tenant interested and moved in as quickly as possible to minimize lost income. Even if the property is in good condition or does not need any significant repairs, giving the interior a fresh coat of paint can work wonders. Walls get discolored where photos once hung, color tastes change, and day-to-day life leaves smudges and scuffs. Painting the interior is an inexpensive way to jazz up the property and make it more appealing.
Whether major or minor, do not overlook maintenance. Check all the plumbing, light switches, and fixtures to ensure they work properly. Look at the floors, paying special attention to the room transitions for peeling, cracking, or other damage. Damp spots, even if they have dried, are an important clue to check. Tighten screws in door handles, check cabinet doors, and closely inspect any appliances that are part of the rental property. Finally, ensure door locks work and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date with fresh batteries if needed.
3. Renovations and Larger Repairs
Sometimes larger repairs are necessary, even if the tenants did not cause damage. Older homes may need a new roof, fresh paint or siding on the outside, or other serious repairs. This transition time between tenants is also ideal for any planned renovations to update areas like the kitchen or bathroom. While an extensive renovation can be costly, it can also mean an increase in income later, as a nicer, updated rental property can bring in more rent each month.
Making a Smooth Transition with a Smart Checklist
The transition time between tenants can be hectic, with so much to do. Ideally, getting all the tasks done as quickly as possible is best for reducing lost revenue. Sticking to a thorough checklist keeps the tenants safe. It can also reduce the risk of costly repairs that cut into the profit of a rental. With a rental property improvement checklist, it is easier to avoid overlooking anything that could turn into a bigger problem later.