Rental Income : Preparing your Home for a Tenant
There may come a time where you decided to turn your primary residence into a rental property. This could be part of a long-term plan (like part of your retirement plan) or maybe comes out of a need. In either case, there are some things you should consider before turning your home over to a tenant.
The reality is, your tenant doesn’t own the home. People will not take as much pride in things that don’t belong to them – things they don’t have anything invested into. I’m not saying that all tenants are this way but a large majority will have this mindset and you won’t know who your tenant truly is until they are living in the home for a few months.
Planning for the worse will help you save money and headaches in the long run. How do you do that? Make your home durable; make it easy to fix and replace.
Flooring is an investment and if you have decided to rent your home, you likely don’t want to invest in changing out ALL your floors.
If you already have hard surface floors (tile, laminate, wood, vinyl) than I wouldn’t worry too much about your floors. Some hard surfaces are more durable than others but hard surface floors are generally less maintenance and a little more forgiving.
If your tile requires up-keep or special care (like marble), make sure you give your tenant instructions. If you have a solid hardwood floor, you may want to stay away from tenants with dogs. Even though it is a HARD wood floor, most hardwoods are soft and will scratch easily.
BUT, on the other hand, if you have carpet in any room of the house I would strongly suggest replace it before you rent your home. Although carpet tends to be the cheapest floor covering on the market, it is the hardest to maintain.
Spills from guests, kids or pets can cause stains or can damage the carpet. Odors absorb into the fibers of the carpet and can be hard to get out, if they even come out. And don’t forget the allergens that can get trapped in the fibers. You may find that you have to replace the carpet more frequently than it’s worth when the home becomes a rental property.
Best flooring for a rental:
- Porcelain tile
Appliances are another high cost part of your home – They can be expensive to replace and arranging service calls can be a headache. If you have decided to rent out you home, make sure the any appliances that are staying in the home are in good working order. If there are any “tricks” to them, replace them before a tenant gets in there. The headaches saved will the worth the cost.
Something to consider : if your new home needs an update and the rental has high end appliances, it might be worth it to bring your old appliances with you and put less expensive appliances in your rental. If you are going to do this, do it before you show a perspective tenant the rental.
Window coverings (blinds, curtains etc.) are usually a forgotten item…until that sun shines through early on a Sunday morning. You likely have something up in your home already and they likely won’t work in your new home since window height, length and number often vary from place to place. Leaving whatever you have there is a good idea.
If you have curtains, you can leave them for your tenant. They may change them to something that fits their style so be sure to have the conversation with them – what to do with anything left behind by you. Remember that, like carpet, curtains are a soft material. That means that they will absorb odors and allergens. If you do leave your curtains behind, they may need to be cleaned or replaced with each new tenant.
An alternative, hard surface, low maintenance, option would be to have blinds installed. Blinds can be wiped down with a cloth. Easily maintained and low maintenance.
No matter what, you should provide the tenant with some kind of an option to block out the windows. If you don’t, you are leaving it up to the tenant and you might not like the outcome.
There may be some things in your home that you have learn to work around, deal with or things that have a trick to them.
A tenant is not likely going to be OK with knocking 3 times on the side of the door to get it to open. To avoid any complaints or unnecessary calls from your tenant, do a walk of your home and make sure that, in general, things are in working order.
Open and close doors. Pull out drawers in the kitchen and bathroom. Are any hard to open or squeak? Do the closet doors glide with ease? Are any taps leaking? Complete any repairs before the tenant gets there. It’ll be less of a headache to do it now than when someone is asking you to.
Whether it is your home or your tenant’s, it is still your investment and you need to protect it. Finding ways to simplify the amount of effort the home takes to run and your investment will be a great asset, with little stress. And finally, most importantly, keep up with the general maintenance. Doing so will keep the equity where it should be. In your hands.
If you have any questions on how to make your home renter friendly, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a rental property, share some of your tips with us.