Date: November 23, 2016
How to prepare your home for renters
Preparations for renting out your house in the St. George, UT area is not any different from what’s done in most other parts of the country, with just a few allowances for our local geography, weather, and pest control. As an owner, it is definitely to your advantage to commit the resources necessary to making your rental units habitable, attractive, and comfortable for tenants. Here are some best practices related to how to rent your house.
This makes it easier to rent out units more quickly, and encourages tenants to stay longer periods of time. As property managers, we can coordinate all the following ‘good practice’ activities, to ensure that your rental units are made as appealing as possible to prospective residents, and that you receive the maximum income for a fully functional and attractive rental unit.
Have the unit inspected
At a time when the unit is unoccupied, have a thorough inspection conducted on the premises to uncover any deficiencies or problems, before a tenant moves in and complains about them. This should include all major systems such as electrical, plumbing, and lighting, as well as appliances which are provided with the unit.
Floors and ceilings need to be examined for cracks, walls should be inspected for peeling paint or wallpaper, and doors and windows should be checked for weather-tightness. The exterior of the premises should also be inspected, for instance to find any cracks in the driveway, any roofing damage, and any fallen tree limbs which might have to be removed from the grounds.
Ensure the unit is clean
The first impression that a potential tenant should have upon walking into a rental unit is that it’s very clean and ordered. We would never show a tenant a rental unit that was in some state of disarray, because that not only reflects poorly on the specific unit, but also on management, and indirectly on ownership as well. In between residents, carpeting should be professionally cleaned, all floors should be swept, windows and blinds should be washed, and if necessary, walls should be either re-painted or re-papered.
It’s advisable to check on the functionality of all appliances when renting out your house, because a tenant will find any problems with these appliances within the first day or two of residence. Appliances should not only be functional, but should also have a fresh, clean look, as though they were just newly installed.
Keep safety in mind
Every rental unit should be supplied with a functional fire extinguisher and a smoke detector which can provide advance warning in the event of any potential fire. Fire extinguishers need to be checked periodically to ensure they’re still operational, and can provide adequate protection if necessary. Smoke detector batteries need to be changed periodically, so the detector is kept working properly.
Nothing turns off a resident faster than discovering unwanted pests in a rental unit, and some of these can even present a health hazard, so having some kind of pest control strategy is important before renting a property. In the St. George, UT area, there can be any number of critters who may take up residence in a dwelling and cause problems for tenants.
Bed bugs were once thought to be eradicated, but have made a significant comeback in the area, and termites, cockroaches, and ants are ever-present nuisances which have to be managed and eliminated to the greatest extent possible. Wasps can be problematic for tenants as well, since they can sting youngsters as well as adults, and cause either discomfort or something worse, in the case of individuals who are allergic to their stings.
Also prevalent in the St. George area are box elder bugs, which can literally extract the life out of trees and shrubbery on property grounds, and which may require eventual extermination. A reputable pest control company should be retained to inspect a property periodically for possible invasion by any of these unwanted pests, and appropriate measures should be taken.
Assess market value
Once all other preparatory steps for renting out your house have been taken, it’s time to figure out just how much a given unit should should be rented for. This doesn’t usually require a lot of research or calculation, since the majority of rental units on a given property are more or less equivalent, unless there are special features, extra appliances, or prime location factoring into the equation. Even so, we consider all factors for how to rent a house, so it’s our policy to check with other rental properties in the immediate area to be sure our pricing is in line with what others are charging.
We try to be as thorough as possible in screening tenants, so that no unpleasant surprises develop after a tenant moves in. This includes checking on financial background, to be sure that a potential resident has the means to pay rent comfortably for the duration of the lease period, while still being able to support other occupants.