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What Is “Rent Ready” 

You may have heard “Rent Ready,” “Move-In Ready,” or other similar terms tossed around by real estate investors and tenants. While the terms are synonymous, the characteristics cs of a rental property that’s ready for tenant occupancy varies widely. Every investor has their own idea of what condition a rental property should be in. After years of managing rental properties, we know that what really matters is that the new tenant will be happy with the condition of the property after moving in. Tenants are the customers after all. To achieve a consistent level of tenant satisfaction on a property should meet all the following criteria:

Cleaning: The house must be “Hotel Room” clean. That means that every corner of the house has been cleaned. We require that all rental proper es undergo a move-in/move-out cleaning provided by a professional cleaning service. All interior and exterior cobwebs must be knocked down.

Professionally Cleaned Carpets & Tile/Grout: Tenants expect that the carpets and tile/grout have been professionally cleaned. Professionally cleaned means a truck-mounted cleaning system operated by a professional carpet cleaner has serviced the house. The grocery store carpet cleaners don’t cut it. Carpet should be in great condition with no damage or stains.

Fresh Looking Paint: It doesn’t necessarily mean a full repaint, but it must look fresh. No touch-up spots or flashing, scuffing, holes in walls, etc. Dark colors may be a turnoff to potential tenants. It’s best to paint all the walls the same, neutral color.

All Safety Devices Operable (Smoke, CO, Window locks, etc) : Functioning smoke detectors must be installed in each bedroom. Additionally, a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector mounted in the hallway of each level of the house. Check windows to ensure they open and close properly and test the latch.

All appliances must work as designed: If the stove has 4 burners, all of them must work. The oven should heat to the appropriate setting. The exhaust vent must be cleaned. If there is a water/ice dispenser in the refrigerator, the water filter should be brand new. Ensure the dishwasher drain line is clear.

All Mechanical Systems Operate Correctly: Ensure HVAC systems work properly and furnace filter(s) are new. Check water softener/filtration systems to ensure it has the proper salt level and new filter. The water heater should be in excellent working condition.

What Is “Rent Ready” 

Electrical and Light Bulbs: All interior and exterior light bulbs must work and have the correct wattage bulbs. On fixtures with multiple light bulbs, all the bulbs should match. All fixtures, outlets, and switches should be operable. All wall plates should be free of damage.

Plumbing Systems: You’ll want to ensure there are no active plumbing leaks and all angle stops operate properly. Toilets should fill in the normal me and flush correctly. There shouldn’t be any evidence of slow or clogged drains.

No Personal Property (except refrigerator or washer/dryer): Your personal items should be removed from all areas of the property; this includes the garage, backyard, and storage areas.

Landscaping: The landscaping around your property should be in good condition and have proper irrigation. Fencing should be sans of gaps or loose boards. Gates need to open and close properly.

Preventative Maintenance: Often, the minor expenditures save the most money long term. Items like doorstops, new furnace filters, caulking around plumbing fixtures, adjusting doors and window latches, etc. can prevent costly repairs in the future.

All Exterior Locks Re-Keyed (to one key): You’ll want to eliminate different keys used for different doors and have all locks re-keyed to one key.

Interior Doors: Interior doors should fully open and completely close and latch. If there is a lock on the door, make sure it works. Ensure the hinges aren’t rusted or leaking, the door frame is in great shape, and door stops are installed.

Preparing a rental property for a Tenant can be overwhelming. To help you prepare your house for rent, download this sample checklist called: “Is The Property Move-in Ready”. It includes many of the most common items Landlords miss when preparing for a new resident.