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Staging Rental Properties: How to Rent Your Property Faster

While much more common when selling property than renting it, property staging should not be overlooked altogether if you are a landlord or property manager. It’s an easy way to make your property more attractive, and may even lead to more reliable tenants who take better care of your rental. Sounds promising, right?

In this article, we take a look at all things staging rentals, including the benefits, drawbacks, and whether it is worth it or not.

What is home staging?

Home staging is the practice of decorating and furnishing a property to make it more attractive to prospective buyers or renters. The furnishings are temporary and are typically removed after the sale of the property before the new owner or tenant moves in.

Benefits of staging rental properties

Evoke an emotional reaction

Staging a property can help your tenants better envision their stay there. You want a tenant to be able to imagine living in your property and it goes without saying that this is harder to do in a completely empty house. In contrast, a house that has been tastefully furnished can be aspirational for tenants who are looking for a home, and not just a house.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is such a thing as too much personality in a home. While you think that pet-related items may evoke an even stronger emotional reaction from potential tenants, it may end up being strong for the wrong reasons, if they aren’t pet-people. Therefore, you should remove any pet-related, religious or political items, to make your home as neutral as possible.

Attract considerate tenants

Taking the time to stage your rental can show tenants that you care about the property, so they should too. While not a hard and fast guarantee, you may be able to attract tenants who can be proud of the place they live in and are more likely to take care of the property.

This is not to say that staging your property is a surefire way to get good tenants. You’ll still need to implement a reliable tenant screening process to check the numbers (credit score, income, etc.) and the background (eviction history, criminal history, etc.).

Give your property an edge

Wherever you list your rental property, it’s likely that you will be directly competing with a number of similar places in your area. Therefore, you will need something to help you stand out from the crowd. A well-staged property can give you an edge over the competition and help you to stand out (in a good way!) in search engine results.

Charge higher rent

Premium properties can command premium rents. Presenting your property in a tasteful way will give tenants a reason to value your property. If your house is dirty and untidy, tenants will struggle to justify the rent that they are expected to pay.

This goes without saying that you should conduct thorough market research into the rent prices for comparable properties in your area. You cannot simply charge higher rent because your property has been well-staged, but it can help build a picture for your tenants that it’s a great place to live.

Keep your listing updated

You want your listing to reflect the current state of the property. While it may be tempting to use older photos, if they don’t show the current condition of the property, prospective tenants will be put off when they come to view it. It’s worth taking photos between tenancies, whether you go to the full extent of staging or not.

After all, if you haven’t been honest when it comes to photos, tenants may be otherwise skeptical of your overall trustworthiness.

Drawbacks of staging rental properties

While there are benefits to staging rentals, there are also drawbacks that should be mentioned. Some of these are:

  • Staging can be expensive, especially if you have multiple units
  • It requires extra time that could be spent elsewhere
  • Better suited when selling properties vs renting them
  • Not worth it in a high market (as your property is likely to get rented quickly anyway)

Home staging tips for your rental

Now that we have covered the benefits and drawbacks of staging rentals, here’s the lowdown on how to do it:

Deep clean & remove clutter

At the very least, cleaning should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to preparing your rental for listing. Temporary furnishings can create a homely vibe but there’s a fine line between it looking cozy and looking like a hoarder lives there.

It’s worth doing a deep clean and tidy-up before photos are taken, so tenants can see the property for what it is. Even if you aren’t renting your property out with furniture, kitchen surfaces and bathrooms should be clear. Open curtains so natural light can come in.

Likewise, don’t go too far the other way and hide anything from viewers. This can only create disappointment down the line when viewers realize that your listing was not trustworthy. Transparency and honesty are key.

Use furniture where it makes sense

Staging properties with furniture may be more common and worthwhile when you are selling a property, as the buyers are making a much bigger investment. Moving furniture in and out of an unfurnished unit that you’re hoping to rent out as quickly as possible is not likely to be the best use of your time.

However, furniture is important to consider when advertising short-term rentals. After all, guests at your vacation home are not going to be bringing their own furniture. Similarly, a sparsely or poorly furnished place will not appeal to potential guests.

Think about what you would want on your holiday. Are there enough chairs per person? Would you be happy if you booked a vacation home for 8 adults, only to find out that there were only 4 beds and 2 bunk beds provided? Dishonesty could end you up with unfavorable reviews.

At the same time, there is such a thing as too much furniture though, so don’t go overboard. Restraint can be a good thing here.

real estate photography

Get great photos

If you’re listing vacation homes for short-term rent, it’s worth hiring a professional photographer. Not only will they do your property justice with great rental photos, but the listing will be advertised perpetually. It’s not just listed until your property is rented out, as is the case with long-term rentals. Therefore, it’s worth doing it right the first time, to ensure that your listing stands out among the competition.

In demonstrating the importance of good photography, it’s worth keeping in mind that when searching for properties, renters spend 60% of their time looking at the images.

With this being said, the expense of hiring a professional photographer every time you relist your rental, especially if you have a high tenant turnover, is probably not going to be worth it. The great news is that there are plenty of ways to make sure your own photos do your property justice, from considering lighting and angles to the time of day that they are taken.

Write good listings

There’s no use going all out with staging your rental property if no one is going to see it. Make sure you craft an excellent listing to post on listing sites. This includes compelling and accurate copy and attractive photos.

Highlight the focal points of the room and any interesting features. Also, emphasize the size of rooms and showcase attractive features like hardwood floors, big windows, and renovated kitchens and bathrooms.

Local amenities like schools, shops, restaurants, proximity to public transportation hubs, etc. should also be mentioned in your listing.

Using an app like Landlord Studio, you can create a bespoke listing for each of your properties. You can then advertise your property across a range of listing platforms. What’s more, is that you can then collect applications and run tenant screening reports off the back of this.

Make the most of each room

If you do decide to go down the route of using furniture as part of your staging efforts, ensure that every room in the house is used to its fullest potential. Instead of leaving that spare bedroom empty, consider staging it as a home office, or kids’ playroom to demonstrate the endless possibilities of the property.

Improve curb appeal

While the tenant will be spending most of their time inside the property, their first impression will be of the outside. So, make sure it has curb appeal (i.e. it looks good from the street). Your property should look appealing from the outside as well as the inside.

Small jobs that you can do to increase your curb appeal are to maintain the lawns, clear up rogue leaves and power wash your path. Keeping everything tidy will also reduce the likelihood of pest infestations.

Virtual staging

If you think your rental property would benefit from staging but still aren’t convinced that it’s worth the hassle of buying and moving furniture around, virtual staging companies may be just what you are looking for. 

These organizations will stage your property by placing digital furniture and decor in your real rooms. When done effectively, it can turn an empty property into a fully-furnished and inviting space, without the need to drag furniture around between tenancies.

Final words

With so many properties on the market at any given time, it can be overwhelming to think about how you can make yours stand out from the crowd. Check other listings online to get ideas of what looks appealing to yourself as a viewer.

If similar rentals in your market are well-staged, you might need to consider staging too in order to compete. Likewise, if you’re in a hot market where properties aren’t staying vacant for long, staging rentals may not be the best use of your time or money.

Whatever you decide, be sure to create an unforgettable listing that showcases the full potential of your property.

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Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, TechBullion, and Business Magazine.

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