Landlords Who Skip Any Of These Steps Increase The Risk Of Evictions, Maintenance, and Losing Money!
Rent ready is a term that was coined by Nexus’ CEO + Founder Nicholas D’Agnillo. It’s quite simple; it means the unit is in a condition that warrants it to be rented to the general public. There is nothing standing the way of someone grabbing the key at that very moment and moving in. Now, of course you want to screen applicants, secure deposits, transfer utilities, and so on, but the theory behind how you define rent ready is one in where someone can just grab the keys at any time. If there are any encumbrances in the way it’s not rent ready, and Nexus does not suggest advertising it for rent. Let’s go over how you define rent ready, and what you can do to ensure that your units are meeting the standards that tenant’s demand!
Number 1 – The unit MUST be vacant
This is the most important step! You MUST, MUST, MUST ensure that the unit you are trying to rent has been vacated. Our philosophy is that if it’s occupied by someone you don’t have a product to rent. There are so many factors that come into play when you try to rent an occupied property. What happens if the current tenants DON’T move out as prescribed and you have new tenants ready to move in? What do you do? In our early days we had this happen and unfortunately had to pay for 40 days of a hotel for the new tenants until the old tenants moved out. Total nightmare!
Next, how are you going to efficiently handle the turnover? You aren’t! You are gambling! We have seen some turnovers so messy and disgusting they take weeks to renovate. How can you guarantee this won’t happen to you? In addition, you should be looking at a turnover as an opportunity to improve the condition and increase the amount of rent you are obtaining. If you keep renting the same deadbeat apartment over and over it will only become a bigger mountain to climb and not help you increase the value of the property.
Number 2 – No debris + not furnished
This next step is crucial, but also very easy to handle. The bottom line is that you can’t have any debris/garbage left behind (this should be common sense), and the unit HAS TO BE unfurnished. Tenants nowadays have their own items; they don’t need your nasty old couch and rickety bed frame. Get rid of it! Ensure your unit is 100% free and clear of all items that are not fixtures. Appliances, lights, plumbing fixtures, air conditioners, closet rods, etc. can all stay. If its not screwed or fastened into place toss it out!
Number 3 – Paint it and clean it
This step is one that’s also very important, yet you can do it as a D.I.Y. landlord. It’s not that hard! Also, painting is something that’s subjective. Sometimes you can get away with just spot painting, or even wiping the walls down instead of doing a full paint. However, in most cases the walls are just too damaged and neglected that it makes sense to just get a fresh coat of love on there! That includes the ceilings! When tenants walk into a freshly painted apartment it looks better and will get you more rent. You can’t lose!
Once you are done with the painting and debris removal you will want to do a final clean. This includes flooring, walls (as needed), appliances, cabinets, baseboards, toilet, shower, sink, etc. We suggest using a cleaner like Simple Green as it’s not as toxic as a bleach based cleaner and gives the unit a fresh smell. Cleaning is something that is also simple for you to do and will make a hell of difference for your next tenants. Don’t skimp on it!
Number 4 – Take care of the odds and ends
In every turnover there is always something that requires a special order or a specialist to come repair. It could be a heating system malfunction, a sputtering central AC unit, or even a faulty light switch. After you take care of all the labor-intensive items you want to get these final loose ends buttoned up. In most cases these items can be handled within a day, and once again, don’t neglect them because the tenants will probably notice them on the showing! In addition, you don’t want to be the person that becomes the “promise maker” from day one. “Oh yeah, that’s going to be fixed next week!” This is not the best way to start out your relationship with the new tenant.
So, in sum you want to get that unit vacant, remove the debris, paint it, clean it, and button up any loose ends. These are just the minimum standard steps you can follow on your next turnover. However, like I mentioned in the article, you can use turnovers as an opportunity to upgrade. Maybe you can swap out the appliances to stainless ones or put new tile over that old laminate floor. Whatever the case may be that is up to you! Just remember that real estate is a long-term hustle and every time you fix/repair/upgrade you are only adding more dollars to your pocket. These are the principles we have lived by, and it has led us to our success!
We would love to hear your feedback on this topic! Post a comment below so we can start a discussion!
Gregory Rice is the Vice President of franchise sales for Nexus Property Management™.
Nexus Property Management™ is a National Property Management Franchise that manages all types of rental property from single family homes or condos to large apartment buildings and complexes.
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