Improving the Marketability for Your Rental Property
As we have covered in a previous article, a common question that first-time landlords have is: How do I know my property is ready to be rented? We’ve discussed the matter of habitability – or making sure that the residence is clean, safe and functional for future tenants. You will next need to address marketability. In order to do this you will first need to:
- Be Familiar with Your Neighborhood: Have a clear visual understanding of what the surrounding neighborhood looks like, how well maintained the homes are, the styles of the homes there, et al.
- Be Familiar with Your Market: You need to know the statistics of your market such as what the current rental prices are, the average value of the homes there and the rate occupancy.
- Know What’s Trending with Renter Preferences: Like everything else, what worked in the 80’s doesn’t work now. Certain styles, features, and amenities, while detracting nothing from habitability, may make a prospective tenant think twice about renting.
Renters have expectations for the property that they are moving into. Once the home is habitable (which renters need), renters will look for features that make them want to rent with you. However; not every amenity is a necessity in the market your property is in. We’ll take a look at the breakdown of two major aspects of how to move from having a habitable rental property to one that is marketable.
Visual Impact (Curb Appeal)
Your rental property sells itself from the sidewalk! Curb appeal is decided in a few seconds – the time it takes someone to drive past. First impressions can make a prospective tenant decide to apply before they even realize it themselves. Do the following to maximize the visual impact your property has:
- Clean the Windows
Not only will this allow light into the property during a tour, but from the street gives an impression of newness and cleanliness. Clean, clear windows with repaired screens are inviting and reassuring. Any drapes or other window dressings in the property should be fresh.
Any yard or land attached to the property should be mown and trimmed. Old, leaning or dead trees (that may later on be a nuisance) should be removed, other trees and shrubs should be pruned. Plant new shrubs or flowers, pull up weeds, remove any old lawn decorations or flower pots from the garden beds. At the very least, the property should be in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood! If the neighboring yard doesn’t have Italian Cyprus lining a grotto-styled walkway, then don’t invest more than is necessary to spruce up the front. If, however, the neighborhood has an HOA or an otherwise shared aesthetic, it is best to match that expectation. Good landscaping can be a large investment, but will continue to sell your property for years!
Once a prospective tenant has fallen in love with the exterior of the home, they will want to see the interior! This is where renters will imagine their lives in your property. This is also where the difference between a habitable living space and a marketable one takes on a great depth of nuance and what you need to improve on your property relies heavily on its individual market.
- Paint the Walls
A fresh coat of paint brings life back into rooms! Neutral colors are highly recommended. Color palettes can be trendy and may quickly age a home as the fashion changes.
- Replace Flooring
Today’s wall to wall carpet is quickly becoming yesterday’s carpeted bathroom. While not completely necessary, updating to laminate flooring has the benefit of having the look of a classic wood floor without all the upkeep of true hardwood, while also negating the maintenance that carpeting requires. No more deep shampoos! This has also trended up so much with young renters that carpeted units have become associated with being outdated – even if the carpet is brand new!
Again, this is a luxury upgrade in most markets at the moment. Refer to the stats about the neighborhood – if other homes do not have laminate flooring, you can either match the expectation or exceed it and improve your competitive edge.
- Update Fixtures
In many markets, so long as the faucets don’t leak, they are fine. In competitive markets, habitability is a low bar to clear. Countertops are transitioning from wood laminate to marble laminate. Fixtures throughout the residence should match in style. These details, again, are luxuries but also long-term investments that can be made to maintain marketability to future residents. Also, keep in mind that your tenant may want to install new home technology, from video camera doorbells to entire home operating systems. Be prepared to answer these questions and know ahead of time how the technologies work, how their installation affects your property and what it means for future liability and lease writing.
In order to navigate what’s a worthy investment for your property, recruit the business of a Property Management Company! Companies like Frontline Property Management Company are tapped into how the markets are changing, what renters want, and how to get you what you need to find a tenant!