Step 1: Prepare For Your Vacancy
Many leases require tenants to provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice to vacate. This gives you ample time to prepare for your home being vacant. Make sure you’ve set aside funds to cover any costs you’ll incur to turn the property. This includes normal wear and tear items that need attention, marketing costs, and mortgage payments (if applicable).
Step 2: Research the Market
The rental market varies, so rates that you collected when you last leased the property will most likely have changed. Make sure to do your research to see what comparable homes are currently renting for. You’ll want to factor where they’re located, how long they’ve been on the market, and how they compare to your property. Be realistic when setting your price and be prepared to adjust it if you’re not generating any interest, showings, or applications.
Step 3: Complete the Move-out Inspection
Once your tenant has vacated, make sure to complete your move-out inspection right away. Scheduling it when the home is fully vacant is best. That way you don’t miss any damage that may be covered by the tenant’s belongings and you don’t have go back to complete it again. If you performed a move-in inspection and/or had your tenants fill out a move-in sheet, bring it with you to compare how the property looks then vs now. Take good photos to thoroughly document the current condition and be prepared to use them as proof for why you withheld money from the tenant’s deposit if necessary.
Step 4: Schedule and Complete Any Repairs
Whether there’s damage caused by the previous tenants or normal wear and tear items you need to address, make sure to schedule and complete any repairs as quickly as possible. Doing so will help get your home rent-ready again faster and help you process your tenant’s deposit within the required timeframe. You can also decide whether it’s time for a few upgrades, if your paint needs a refresh, and if it may be time to redo your flooring.
Step 5: Market and Rent Your Property
While most of this depends on the market, there are things you can do to help speed things up. The biggest thing in your control is price. With rentals being a high demand, you’ll know fairly quickly if your property is priced too high. If you’re not seeing any activity after a week, lower your price. Collect feedback after showings to see if there are areas that need improvement. Take quality advertising pictures to showcase all the best features of your property and highlight any areas of interest in your ad. Fingers crossed that your rental property doesn’t sit vacant long!
Step 6: Change the Locks
Changing the locks between tenants is a must. You never know who the previous tenants gave keys to. If you have a garage, update the code on both the keypad and the garage remotes. The cost of changing the locks and garage remotes is a lot lower than the liability you take on if you don’t.
Step 7: Prepare For Move-in
Once you have an approved tenant and received the security deposit, it’s time to make sure the home is ready for move-in! Complete your move-in inspection, taking lots of pictures to document the condition. Ensure that all lights are working properly and that the batteries in smoke and CO detectors have been replaced. Make sure the carpets have been professionally cleaned. If you had a lot of traffic during the advertising process, schedule a refresh clean to make sure the property is 100% ready.
Move-outs take time and when done incorrectly can cause you a world of pain. Being prepared will not only save you money but time as well, and your future tenants will thank you for it!
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