How to prepare a house to rent

There are many things you should do to prepare a house to rent before you put it on the rental market, from little touch-ups to professional inspections.

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If you have a second property or are moving away from your main place, it might be time to prepare your house to rent. Properties are one of the most important paths to wealth – but to do it right and make the most of your investment, you have to prepare well.

Long before you start advertising for renters, there are several steps to take to prepare the house itself.

Make lease decisions before the renters come knocking

Decide in advance whether you’ll require your renters to have insurance, whether you’ll allow pets and what utilities or extras (like garden maintenance) are included in the cost of the rent. This will help you to decide what you need to set up or whether to charge an extra deposit for animals, for example.

Check the house for pests

Do it yourself or hire a professional to conduct an inspection to check for insects and rodents and seal any potential holes where unwanted pests could be getting into the property. Pest-proofing your home while you prepare your house to rent could save you thousands in claims and will also preserve the property itself.

It might be a good idea to check for mould as well while you’re at it. Mould can severely damage the structural value of your house and you might be responsible for remedial damages to your tenants if it’s discovered later on.

Do some general maintenance

At a minimum, make sure the plumbing and electrics are working properly. Call a certified tradesman for a quick check-up of your water heater and boiler. A faulty system can lead to even bigger issues (and costs) if not addressed early on.

Make the place look as nice as possible

Even little things go a long way when you’re preparing a house to rent. Start with some deep cleaning, then consider repainting walls that look marked or tired. Changing carpeting can be expensive, but it might be worth it if you think it will seriously influence the final rental price. Anything that’s broken should be fixed, even if it’s something small like a light switch.

If you’re leaving furniture or appliances behind, make sure they’re in working order and look clean and presentable. Consider removing anything that looks old and doesn’t work properly. An empty house is better than one that looks to be in poor condition.

If you previously shared the house with pets, consider a deep clean. Renters with allergies will appreciate it and you will remove any odours or lingering pet hair.

Make a few upgrades (but not too many)

The more things you change or renovate, the longer it will take to make your money back in rent. A few well-chosen upgrades can really make the house look a lot more valuable. For example, consider installing smart thermostats to help renters save money on utilities. Or repaint the kitchen cabinets and add new hardware for a new look that won’t cost too much.

Think about ‘staging’ too when preparing your house to rent. Home staging basically involves making the house look welcoming and appealing to potential renters with just a few finishing touches. For example, hanging curtains and a few pieces of artwork on the walls make the home look more inviting and less bare.

New tenants might not want to keep these things when they move in. You can always offer to take them away once the contract is signed. But while showing the house, they help potential renters picture what it would be like to live there.