April 2010: Setting the Stage for Better Showings

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If you list your home with a REALTOR®, they would advise you to take certain steps to maximize how your house would show to the public. Their recommendations may include cleaning, landscape clean up, painting, installing new flooring, changing an appliance, and more. In addition, if the house were vacant, they might even recommend renting furniture or accessories to display the home in the best light. Today's market is challenging and it is even more important to maximize how your property would look to buyers.

It is just as vital to set the stage for renting a property, although you generally do not use some of the measures when selling, such as renting furniture. However, it still important to present the property in the best light possible.

It becomes even more critical when there are many vacancies competing with your property. Some changes required to be competitive may be simple; others may take more work and some financial expense.

Like buyers, prospective residents make quick judgments on properties. Therefore, you need to stop and objectively consider what they will see. Renters generally progress through two stages when looking to rent - they will drive by the property and then, if interested, make an appointment to see it.

The exterior is going to be the obvious first impression so the overall appearance is the first key to encouraging renters to continue to the appointment stage. Making the property look as attractive as possible from the outside is the objective.

  • Basic yard cleanup can mean trimming the lawn, picking up debris, clearing any trash, placing garbage receptacles in their proper place, and pruning bushes and trees.
  • The exterior paint could just take some touch-up or it may need a complete exterior paint job.
  • Repair other detractions, such as hanging gutters, missing house numbers, broken or sagging steps, etc.

The interior condition is the key to attracting quality tenants. The exterior may not discourage someone but a poor interior condition can quickly send prospective applicants elsewhere.

  • Cleanliness, particularly smell, is usually a primary issue with residents. Bad smells from smoke, cooking, or pets can really discourage applicants. Have the property cleaned and deodorized as necessary.
  • The interior paint may need only touch-up or a total paint job.
  • Flooring should be clean and if necessary, repaired or replaced.
  • Doors, windows, and window coverings should be clean and in working order.
  • Appliances should be in working condition and clean.
  • You may need to make general repairs, such as replacing light bulbs, working smoke alarms, doorstops, etc.

You will reap some or all of the following benefits by investing some time and money into making recommended improvements.

  • A reduced vacancy period.
  • Attract better tenancy.
  • Help reduce future security deposit disputes.
  • Promote good neighborhood relationships with other owners and/or residents.
  • Maintain the value of your investment.

If your property becomes vacant, we will always advise you what is required to present your property in the best light to perspective tenants and at the same time, safeguard your investment.