Listing your apartment or property isn’t as easy as sticking an ad on Craigslist. You need to get the home rent ready – clean, repaired and ready for new tenants to move right in. This can be a daunting task, but stick to these key points and it should be ready in no time.
Hire a company to come in and give the property a top-to-bottom deep cleaning. Renters expect to walk into a property that has been thoroughly cleaned. Sure, you can vacuum and wipe down the cobwebs. But a professional cleaner will get into the nitty-gritty that you won’t want to – the tedious tasks of wiping down baseboards or scrubbing the produce drawers in the fridge.
Get the carpets professionally steam cleaned.
Inspect, repair or replace doors, windows and screens. Ripped screens can allow pests in, which will end up costing you money down the road. Windows and doors (especially sliding glass doors) can build up dirt, which may prevent them from operating correctly. Cracks reduce energy efficiency, letting heat or air conditioning out.
Change the air filters and clean in and around vents. To save you time, you may consider replacing reusable air filters with disposable ones, which don’t require monthly cleanings.
Give the landscaping a little love. Is the fence in the backyard slowly falling down? Do you have some dying shrubs that you’ve been meaning to pull out? Now is the time to do it. Add some fresh flower pots. Use a power washer on the driveway, patios, porches and walkways. You can read some additional tips for improving curb appeal here.
Spray for pests. This should be part of your routine maintenance, but it’s important to do in between tenants, as bedbugs and fleas tend to make themselves right at home in carpeted areas.
Give it a fresh coat of paint. New paint will brighten up the place and give it new life.
Tend to any obvious repair needs. Fix that loose railing or hole in the wall. Do you need to regrout the tub or around the toilet? Are any of the faucets leaking? Replace any damaged tiles or fixtures. If the carpet still looks dingy after a professional cleaning, consider replacing it.
Lastly, re-key the locks. Don’t just stick to the front and back door. Remember that you’ll need to change out locks that may be on a garage or shed. Reconfigure alarm codes. You never know who may have had access to these.
And don’t forget that you can always hire a property management company in the DC metro area to oversee these tasks and the other tasks of managing your rental property.