Cameron Cowan | Knowledge Steward
The busy rental season is upon us again and many housing providers will be offering their homes and apartments for open houses. However, right now is the time to get ready for those open houses. There's quite a bit to do, especially if the previous tenant has just moved out or is about to move out. An Open House is a chance for potential tenants to visualize themselves in the space and see what it will be like to live in your rental property. It's best to put a good face forward which means taking care of those nagging projects. 12,000 new rental units have come online in the Seattle area. That means this rental season is going to busy but highly competitive. Wooing tenants away from new construction can seem daunting. It doesn't have to be.
Here are some areas where you should turn your attention to make sure your income property is in tip-top shape to attract the tenants that you want.
Landscaping and Exteriors
When you drive up to your income property next, take a moment and look around the outside. Areas that need attention probably will pop right out at you. Look at the landscaping, what might need attention? Does the exterior paint still look good? Do doors need a touch up? How are your walk ways and concrete? You can pressure wash those to improve their appearance. If you haven't cleaned out the gutters, now is a great time to get that done as well. How is your exterior lighting? Are bulbs burned out or fixtures in disrepair? A quick trip to a major hardware retailer can help freshen the exterior with some new lights and make it much safer. If you want to save money over the long term, make sure to switch to LED Bulbs.
Now that you've taken stock of the outside, it's time to look inside. There are some obvious things to look at first: cleaning all surfaces, walls, and carpets. You can take on this project yourself or you can hire in someone. Many RHAWA members prefer professional cleaning. If you need vendors please feel free to peruse the Vendor Directory. However, there are some other cleaning tasks that also need attention. Now is a great time to go through your pipes and make sure your plumbing remains in good shape, especially your hot water heater. This is also a great time to hire an HVAC company and have your forced air system cleaned out.
Kitchens and Baths
If you don't want to take on tile grout in kitchens and bathrooms, you can hire that out, but making sure that it is clean and shining is essential to making these rooms look their best. This is also a good time to make sure that the fan in the bathroom is working and at a good speed. This is essential for making sure that bathrooms don't develop mold! It's an easy way to prevent that recurring problem. When you advise your tenants to use the fan during showers, you'll be sure that it works and will provide fresh air to move the moisture out.
Smoke Detectors Etc.
Make sure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed according to the manufacturers instructions and have fresh batteries. Now is also a good time to replace any filters in other appliances and make sure that any stove drip pans are clean or replaced. These are the small cleaning details that really make a rental "tenant ready!" In the bedrooms and other spaces of the rental, you just want to be sure that all the walls and floors are clean and any moldings, closet doors and other fixtures are all in good repair.
Windows and Doors
While you're walking around your rental, make sure that any seals around windows remain in good shape. Window sills tend to develop small amounts of mold in Western Washington and an empty unit is a great chance to make sure those are clean. If any sealants have cracked, make sure to repair those. If any screens are in disrepair, replace or repair those as well. Make sure all doors and door locks work well and seal properly. Rubber surfaces on the bottoms of doors can come off or crack. Make sure those are still in good repair. The seal around the door may also need attention. If you're looking at moving to keyless entry then you can make that chance in your exterior doors.
If you go over all these systems and areas in your home, you can be sure to have a rental that is ready for a tenant and one that will impress potential applicants and woo them away from the shiny new construction.