There is a big difference between a good landlord and a great one. In most cases it is the little things you do that make all the difference. By going the extra mile, even when you don’t have to, you will have a happier tenant that respects you and the property. A happier tenant is much more likely to pay on time every month and take better care of the property. They also have an increased chance of staying longer which decreases the need to spend time finding new tenants. It is always easier getting things done while the house is vacant or before a new tenant enters the property. When they do get in you want to immediately create a positive first impression that hopefully lasts the duration of the lease. Here are eight things you should consider doing before your next tenant moves in.
- Replace AC Filters. It is important to remember that your tenants are not going to take care of the property the same way you would. They will not do the little things that add to the useful life of the property. One of the most overlooked items is with seasonal maintenance. You certainly don’t need to change the AC or HVAC filters every few months but by doing so your units will run much more efficiently and effectively. It is not uncommon to squeeze some extra years out of the unit simply by staying on top of the filters every lease. Changing the filters won’t cost more than $20 but has a hidden impact on the way your property runs.
- Update/Clean Patio Furniture. One of the reasons that tenants despise moving is because they don’t want to constantly pack all their possessions. Many tenants do not have patio furniture to call their own and would like to take advantage of the area if available. Even though you can probably get away with the same patio set from last decade a new one would be much appreciated. This doesn’t mean you have to get a brand new, top of the line set. You can get find a table and chairs for less than $150. Whatever you spend should be viewed as an investment for at least the next three to five years.
- Landscape. There is a tendency with landlords to cut corners wherever possible. Every now and then you need to spend money to take care of your investment. While most of your attention should be paid to the interior you can’t forget about the outside. When is the last time you power washed the house? If you are like most landlords the answer is years ago. You don’t need to have it done every year but at the first sign of mildew and dirt you should plan to have it done. A good power wash can last you at least three years baring anything drastic. Additionally, you should have any bushes by the house trimmed and grab a few bags of fresh mulch. The longer you ignore these the more difficult, and expensive, they become.
- Switch Plates/Lightbulbs. There are some tenants who notice everything. As a rule of thumb, you never want to give them a chance to complain over something that is easy and inexpensive to fix. Prior to tenants moving in you should go around the house and change every lightbulb that is out. Whatever are left you should leave in the closet for your new tenants. Another inexpensive fix are the switch plates. If you haven’t changed the plates by the outlets and light switches in years they can get old and dirty. You can get a bag of plates for just a couple bucks. It won’t take you more than a few minutes to go around the house and update or replace these items.
- Paint Doors. It is understood that you should consider a fresh coat of paint for the interior walls. However, many tenants never think about painting the front or back door. A fresh coat of paint on a front door can make it feel and look like new. Instead of replacing the door a nice latex coat can make a big difference. Don’t forget about the inside portion of the door as well. The inside is probably filled with finger and hand prints that have been there for years.
- Clean Chimney. If you have a fireplace you can bet that your tenants are going to want to use it. You can hold off until the fall or start of winter to have it cleaned but you may be able to find a good deal in the summer. It is not uncommon to get 30-40% off a cleaning simply by booking it in off months. Plus, you never know which tenant will look in the fireplace and who knows what they will see.
- Groupon for Cleaning. There are several little things you can do at the start of the lease that create good will. A gift card to an area supermarket or a nice bottle of wine are often fine touches. You don’t need to break the bank with these any amount is appreciated. If you want to send a win-win gift you should find a Groupon for a house cleaning. There are always specials on the site and gift for them is really a gift for you.
The truth is that you don’t need to do any of these things to attract tenants. However, by doing them you increase the chances of happy a happy and worry-free lease.