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Finding Tenants

Tips for Preparing Your Property for a Rental Showing

Attracting great tenants and keeping vacancies to a minimum means putting in the work when your property is vacant. Great photos and a superb listing may gain you viewing appointments, but this is only useful if you impress when you show your rental property.

There are several things you need to do to prepare your unit. None of these are particularly expensive or time-consuming, although you may need to put in more effort if the tenant moving out has lived in your unit for several years. Furthermore, as well as considering how your property looks and feels, you’ll need to be prepared with the information viewers need to come to a decision.

How Important Are Rental Showings?

Showing your rental property is one of the most important aspects of being a landlord. It’s up there with listing your rental property and screening applicants. Renters will have some idea of what they think about your property from the listing, but viewing the property is what leads to a lasting impression and ultimately impacts the decision about whether to sign a lease.

You need to show prospective tenants that your unit is comfortable and in great condition. Renters want to know that it’s unlikely they’ll need to call you for maintenance and repairs. They also want to be able to imagine themselves living in the unit. You can achieve all this by preparing your property before the showing.

In addition, just like you screen prospective tenants, renters want to ensure they find a landlord they can rely on. A unit that is clean, tidy, and welcoming shows that the landlord put in effort for the viewing and will likely maintain the building while the tenant is living there.

Cozy living room

Preparing to Show Your Rental Property

To make your property as appealing as possible, there are several things you need to do. This may feel like too much work now, but it will pay off later, as the right preparation can help you secure the best tenants — check out our article on how to find good tenants for more tips.

1. Ensure All the Previous Tenants’ Belongings Are Gone

Ideally, you will show your property and find a tenant before your current tenant even moves out. This will allow the new tenant to move in as soon as the old one leaves and reduce your vacancy period. If you do this make sure to communicate viewing times to your tenant so that they can tidy up before you show the property.

If you show a vacant property you should never assume that the previous tenants removed all their belongings. They may have forgotten something or even left things they no longer want. Check cupboards, pantries, and shelves carefully, particularly less obvious places like under the sink and in the medicine cabinet. It’s crucial to do this for viewings rather than right before a new tenant moves in, as it will help your storage space appear larger.

2. Ensure the Property Is Clean

Your property needs to be spotless when each viewer arrives. This can be hard if you’re showing the property with current tenants still in occupation. However, you can incentivize your current tenants to clean, for example, you might offer to hire a cleaner, or you could offer to discount the rent should they thoroughly clean and tidy beforehand,

If showing the property after the current tenant moves out, it might be worth paying for a professional cleaning service to ensure you don’t overlook anything. Between viewings, give the property a quick dust, clean the floors, and remove any dirt or debris from the exterior, such as along the walkways and in the yard.

3. Decide Whether You’ll Have Display Furniture

If you’ll be renting an unfurnished unit, and the property isn’t currently occupied you’ll need to decide whether to use display furniture for the viewings. The benefits of this are that it helps renters envision themselves living in the property and it makes the unit more appealing. The downside is that it’s an extra expense.

If you do use display furniture, stick to the basics. Avoid ornaments, as these may not be to a renter’s taste and could be subconsciously off-putting. Definitely avoid objects that look like personal items, such as framed photos, since this will make the unit feel like someone else’s home.

4. Check Plumbing for Maintenance Issues

Experienced renters will check the water pressure and examine closely for signs of property mismanagement. They’ll turn on the faucets, check the flow of the shower, flush the toilets, and check for mold. You need to be sure in advance that everything works and that there are no leaks, dripping faucets, or blockages. Even something small can be a red flag to potential tenants. It’s no good to say you’ll have it fixed by the time they move in — you need to complete any repairs beforehand to avoid losing an applicant.

5. Check All the Appliances, Lights, and Windows Function

Viewers also want to see that the rest of the home is in good working order. They’ll likely turn on all the lights, make sure the windows close and lock, and ask you about the condition of the appliances. It’s important to complete any repairs now — not just for appearances but also to ensure the safety of your tenants when they do move in. If an appliance is too expensive for you to replace, your best course of action may be to remove it and ask tenants to bring their own.

6. Turn on the AC or Heat

Keep the property at a comfortable temperature when you show the rental property. Turn on the AC in the summer and the heat in the winter. This will give renters a better impression of the unit and show them that heating and air conditioning is available. Make sure you check that your heating and cooling system is working well before the day of the viewing. Then, arrive at the rental with enough time to heat or cool the unit to the optimal temperature.

7. Switch on Lights

Waiting for viewers to enter a room before you turn on the lights will give the impression that your property is dark and gloomy — particularly if you’re showing the unit after dark. By switching on lights, you’ll make the property feel as bright and warm as possible.

Again, don’t wait until the last minute to do this. There’s always a chance that there’s a problem with the wiring in one room or that a lightbulb burned out and your previous tenant never bothered to replace it.

What Information Should You Provide Viewers?

When you show your rental property, be ready to answer any questions renters may have at that moment. They’ll likely want to know the square footage, what’s included in the rent, and what you require for the application. If you need to get back to them later, they may have already found another unit.

In addition, volunteer information makes your property extra appealing. This may include explaining what areas of the building are also available for tenants to use and highlight amenities in the wider community, such as schools, shopping, and local attractions.

There’s also some information you shouldn’t volunteer to viewers. For instance, mentioning who lives in the building in terms of economic status, ethnicity, or who makes up the household could be interpreted as discrimination.

Once you’ve prepared your property, Landlord Studio can help you put it in front of potential renters and help you screen applicants to find the best tenants for you. Check out how you can create a rental listing, manage applications, screen renters, collect rent and much more by signing up for a free trial.

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Laura Holton

Laura is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in advice for small business owners. She has written extensively on all kinds of real estate topics.

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