A properly prepared home will not only fetch a better weekly rent and attract a more profitable, reliable tenant pool, it’ll also help ensure the entire rental process is simple and easy from start to finish.
But how do you prepare a home for the rental market? Here’s our checklist of what you should consider before renting out your home.
1. Conduct A Property Inspection
First step is to thoroughly inspect your property. Repair any problems around the property, and check potential problem areas, such as roof leaks, clogged gutters, and leaky taps. Being proactive is essential in preventing property damage, unhappy tenants, and stressful management down the road.
2. Think Safety
Ensure the windows, doors and locks work correctly. People will feel more secure if they have a safe place to live, and this will help protect your property from being damaged from potential break-ins.
Check all the smoke alarms work and are appropriately placed throughout the home. The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to provide long-life photoelectric smoke alarms throughout the property, with rules regarding the distance from bedrooms and the number of smoke alarms required. Once installed, the tenants are responsible for replacing the batteries and informing property owners or managers of any defects.
3. Spring Clean The Property
If you want your property handed back to you in good condition, set the initial benchmark high. Remove all the furniture and appliances that won’t remain in the rental property, and have a good spring clean. This will help you attract a more profitable, reliable tenant market, as people with higher incomes tend to prefer living in clean, quality properties, and will likely maintain your cleaning standard.
4. Take A Good Look At The Presentation
Take a good look at the presentation of the interior and exterior. First impressions begin with the tenant's first glance at your property's front door, so it’s a good idea to mow the lawn and spruce up the letterbox, fence and front door. Update the little things like door handles, light switches and cupboard handles to cost-efficiently modernise the property.
Every room has four walls, and if these walls look worn and tired tenants usually won’t want to spend too much money to rent it. Though it’s tempting, a top tip is not to buy low-quality paint because this may soon result in cracking, flaking and peeling. This causes the paint job to become only a short-term solution that could soon make the property look worse than it originally did, an issue for everyone.
To make it easy to budget, Dulux offers a paint calculator to help with quantity estimations. We all have favourite colours, but expressing them on the walls of rental properties usually isn’t a good idea. Another tip is to use neutrals like off-white and cream, as these appeal to most tenants.
It’s essential the property’s presentation is on point to help achieve your desired rent.
5. Notify Your Insurance Company.
It’s important to contact your insurance company, as you will likely need to change your homeowners policy to a landlord specific alternative that will cover any losses and damage caused by tenants, natural disasters, fire, or water damage.
6. Ensure Your Property Is Compliant With The Law
Make sure your property complies with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. It’s worth the time looking through the Act to get a good understanding of your rights and obligations, as well as the tenants, to reduce the risk of disputes and fines later on.
Along with the Smoke alarm requirement, recent amendments declare all landlords must provide a statement within all tenancy agreements stating the condition, location, and type of insulation within the property, and by 1st July 2019 all rental properties must have ceiling and underfloor insulation.
If you’re planning on leaving the country, bear in mind that Section 16A of the 1986 Act requires landlords who leave the country for 21 consecutive days to appoint an agent within New Zealand to manage their property.
7. Determine Market Rent
Once you think the property is ready to rent, research the market to help determine what the market rent for this property type and area. Look on Trade Me to get an understanding of the rent range achieved by comparable rental properties in the area, and how additional features in the property can increase the rent.
Choosing the right rent can feel like a stressful tug of war between getting the most money and trying to attract tenants with a good price. Be mindful of what time of the year you’re entering the market – a high rent value may get high tenant demand during the summer months when general tenant demand is high, but that same rent may cause you to struggle attracting tenant interest during the winter months.
We’ve advertised and managed properties for years, so have become very experienced in determining the best rent for Wellington properties. To find what rent your property can achieve in the current market get a Free Rental Appraisal from Paula.
8. Determine Your Management Type
Do you want to be an active landlord, available all day, every day answering tenant enquires, and organising tradesmen, property advertisements and tenant selection? Or do you want the property to become a passive secondary income?
Consider what experience you have that can be applied to managing properties, otherwise a good option is hiring a property manager to allow a less stressful hands-off approach to help you succeed in creating financial success.