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A Guide to Preparing Your Rental Property for Tenants

Updated: Jul 10

If you're like many property owners, you aim to generate rental income from your investment property. However, before achieving that cash flow, you likely need to renovate and ready the property for potential tenants.


Renovating a home is different from preparing it for rental purposes. While not all homes require renovations, every rental property must be made ready for prospective tenants.


Owning rental property involves understanding your rights and those of your tenants to comply with legal requirements when preparing a home for new occupants.


The following guidelines can help you refurbish your rental property as a real estate investor and prepare it for new tenants, allowing you to list it sooner and potentially increase monthly rent.


How To Renovate Your Rental Property

After purchasing a rental home, it's essential to make the necessary repairs and updates to ensure it meets safety standards and local rental regulations.


Start with a detailed plan, especially when setting a renovation budget. Include all anticipated work and material costs, and if possible, overestimate to cover any unexpected expenses.


How To Prepare a Home for Renters

Once the renovation is complete, it's time to prepare the property for renters. This involves beautifying the rental house, such as planting flowers or ensuring the windows are clean.


Here are some tasks for each room that can help increase the monthly rent:



When a tenant moves out, you might need to clean the carpets in the bedrooms. Some landlords install hardwood floors to avoid regular carpet cleaning, but these also require cleaning and can get scratched. You may need to touch up paint and fill holes in the walls from hanging pictures.


Ensure bedroom windows open and close properly and have screens. Replace window coverings if needed. Touch up moldings and baseboards, and make sure the door functions well and looks good.



Prepare bathrooms by checking that faucets work and there are no leaks. Ensure the toilet is clean and functional. Replacing broken mirrors or sinks can make a bathroom more appealing.


Perform preventative maintenance, such as inspecting pipes under cabinets to ensure sinks drain properly. Check all outlets and switches, and hire a professional for any needed repairs.


Living and Family Rooms

Living and family rooms often experience wear and tear. Accidents can happen, so be ready to clean or replace carpets, repaint walls, clean or replace window coverings, and repair doors or windows.


Ensure all light bulbs are working.



When preparing the kitchen for the next renter, ensure all appliances work, such as the fridge, freezer, oven, and stove burners.


Consider landlord insurance or a home warranty to cover the costs of expensive repairs. Check the cabinets and ensure all doors and drawers function properly. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace them if needed.



After preparing the interior, focus on the property's exterior.


Tasks include:


Removing any junk or garbage left by previous tenants.

Checking the siding for cleanliness and damage.

Inspecting windows for water damage, leaks, and broken glass.

Cleaning the chimney and ensuring it's structurally sound.

Adding curb appeal by trimming bushes, cutting trees, planting flowers, or placing potted plants around the property.

Bonus Areas

Prepare any additional areas, such as a garage, shed, or pet area, included in the lease agreement. Clean or repair floors in the garage and clear out any old items in the shed.


How To List Your Property

Listing your rental property involves setting the rental rate, deciding on services like lawn care, and screening tenants.


Most landlords handle maintenance, repairs, and property management tasks until they own multiple properties. Here are some tips for listing your property and finding a tenant:


Take Photos

Since most people look for housing online, high-quality photos are essential. Consider hiring a professional real estate photographer.


Use Marketing Tools

Advertise your rental property using various marketing tools. Social media is effective, but traditional methods like yard signs can also help.


Finding the Right Tenants

Selecting the right tenants is crucial for a smooth and profitable landlord experience.


Screen Applicants

Screen tenants using background checks and comprehensive rental applications to ensure they are reliable. Be aware of discrimination laws when screening tenants.


Understand Landlord-Tenant Law

Familiarize yourself with local landlord-tenant laws to maintain a lawful relationship with your tenants and avoid legal issues.


Create a Rental Agreement

A rental or lease agreement outlines the rental terms, including the rate, lease duration, pet policy, and other details. Have a lawyer review the agreement to ensure it protects you and your property.


Property Manager vs. Self-Management

Decide whether to self-manage your properties or hire a property manager. A property manager can handle many tasks and may increase your rental income over time.


Final Thoughts

Preparing your home for renters takes time, especially if you manage the property yourself. As your real estate business grows, consider working with a property management company to help you prepare homes for renters, allowing you to focus on building wealth.


In previous post: "What is MLS in real estate?"

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