Oh no … your tenants are moving out, perhaps you have just purchased an investment property or maybe you are about to head overseas for that year-long adventure and you need to rent out your home.
Is your property ready for rent?
Renting out your property is essentially like trying to sell a car, you need to advertise it, attract buyers, sell the features and benefits, close the deal. If you are looking to achieve a rent of say …$400 per week you are asking someone to pay $20,800 plus 6 weeks bond $2400 for the year. You should ask yourself if you were looking to rent, would you be happy to pay this large amount of money to live in your property?
To make sure they dont buy the car above and instead they become your tenant its important to make sure you present your product (your property) in the best possible condition as possible. Some of the key areas you should consider when getting your property ready for rent include the following.
How does the property look visually and how does it smell. Sometimes a professional clean of thinks like the kitchen, bathroom, windows, walls, air conditioner vents, power points, oven, dishwasher etc can make a huge difference especially if the house is old. A professional clean can cost less than $400 and help your property look a lot more attractive than the smelly one down the road.
How about a quick paint job? Rope the kids, your wife or husband and your parents in to give the house a quick lick of paint, If you aren’t handy then employ the services of a professional painter. You want to show your property to prospective tenants in the best possible light, make sure there’s power if the place is empty and make sure all the light bulbs work and are not some crazy blue or red light left over from the previous tenants “relaxation” room.
Open the curtains and windows there’s nothing creepier than walking into a dark house and having the following conversation with your prospective tenant.
Prospective tenant “why’s it so dark in here?”
Manager “Ummm … I think trolls lived here before, they were afraid of the light”
How about the garden? Too often I see homes with a baron patch of dirt for a front yard or a field of weeds for a backyard, have a tidy up and lay some turf if you can. Many types of Turf are drought tolerant and require little maintenance, they really lift the appeal of a shabby property.
Does your property lend itself to practical modern-day living? If the stove is 87 years old and burns wood to cook food then perhaps its time for a new stove. Living in Adelaide its hot! are there fans or air-conditioning installed, if you have advertised your property with air conditioning, it needs to work. How about screens or screen doors so your tenants can open the window to let fresh air through the house.
Many older homes have 1960s style built-in furniture, you may look at it and think a whole wall of faux walnut laminate wardrobes with a built-in headboard and side tables with lights might be a feature of your property but chances are it’s probably not. Rooms need to be clear of as much clutter as possible, if you or your tenants are still living in the property make sure everyone is aware of the expectations when it comes to inspections. Prospective tenants have their own furniture in most cases and want to be able to visualise where and how it will fit. Another area you may want to improve are the storage facilities of the kitchen, bathroom and laundry and the garage.
Pets are an interesting equation when leasing out property. A recent article Renters searching for pet friendly properties suggests that 42% of all renters are looking for properties that allow pets. Landlords who allow pets and set criteria for pets often secure a more committed tenant. If you are going to allow pets you should ensure the fencing and gates around the property are secure.
Have you appointed a property manager or are you going to try to do it yourself. Are you familiar with the residential Residential tenancies Act 1995 ? this is a 95 page piece of state legislation that sets out all of the requirements you must as a landlord strictly adhere to, for example ;
- The mutual obligations of tenant and Landlord
- The written lease agreement
- Receipt and payment of Bond
- Security of Premises ie locks and keys for doors and windows
- Vacant possession and quiet enjoyment
- Cleanliness and the Landlords obligation to repair
- Duty to provide statements for and the manner of payment of rent
- Discrimination of tenants
- Landlords right of entry
- Terminations of lease agreements both fixed and periodic
My advice would be to always appoint an Adelaide Property manager, unless you want to make yourself extremely familiar with this piece of legislation. The fines for breaches, unintentional or not can be significant. Other examples of areas of compliance include the installation and servicing of smoke alarms and ensuring if you have a pool that fencing and other safety precautions are in place. A great property manager will handle all areas of the management of your property including, advertising, finding and vetting tenants, Inspections, ensuring the rent is paid on time, producing your financial reports, organising maintenance as required and a whole host of other tasks.
Getting your property ready for rent doesnt have to be difficult, If you maintain your property well and ensure the small things are in place then you will attract the right tenants and it will hopefully be a stress free process for all involved.
Paul Haigh is a Registered Land Agent RLA 277315 and owner of 4rooms Property an Adelaide Property Management company serving the whole Adelaide region. We do fixed price management at $79 per month.