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Is Your Rental Home Ready for a Showing? 7 Practical Tips to Help You Prepare

Meeting with estate agent

Your listing is live.

Potential tenants have sent requests to view the property.

You’ve set a date for the viewing.

But is your property ready for the showing?

First impressions matter.

The showing is a chance for you to turn interested individuals into paying tenants. You want the guests to envision themselves living on the property.

Get Your Rental Ready for a Showing

Here are a few tips to get potential tenants to immediately fill out rental applications when they walk into your property:

Work on the Exterior to Improve the Curb Appeal

The exterior of the house creates the first impression. Your curb appeal can make or break the deal.

While preparing for the showing, focus on:

  • The lawn and green spaces on the property: Cut the grass and trim the bushes. Remove weeds and replace any dead plants.
  • External doors and windows: Fix any broken parts and replace missing pieces such as door knockers or latches.
  • The roof and gutters: Clean and clear up the roof and the gutters.
  • The walls, fence and gate: You can give them a fresh coat of paint or a deep clean.

Pay Attention to Small Details Tenants Might Notice

Tenants understand that rentals experience a lot of wear and tear. They will pay extra attention to a rental property, scrutinising things you might overlook.

Paying attention to details will help you identify areas that can influence a tenant’s decision. For example:

  • Painting over small smudges on the wall.
  • Switching out faded, broken or chipped bathroom and kitchen appliances.
  • Replacing any rusty taps.
  • Repairing picture holes or dents left by a previous tenant.
  • Removing stains from floors, carpets and tiles.

Stage the Property to Lock Down Tenants

During the showing, open all the windows and blinds. It makes the property feel brighter, airier and inviting.

If you choose to add furniture to the staging, select simple and neutral pieces. The furniture should make the space feel liveable and inviting. Avoid having personal pieces at the showing.

Make sure prospective tenants have easy access to all rooms during the walkthrough. For example, if you have rooftop access, place a door stopper on the door. It will keep the door from locking when tenants are on the roof.

Check the Plumbing and Fix the Appliances

During the showing, tenants might turn on taps and taps to check the water flow.

Make sure all your taps are running and all your drains have a smooth flow. Have a plumber fix any broken pipes or taps.

If you have any white goods on the property, make sure they are in proper working condition.

Have a professional check your washing machine, dishwasher and fridge. A flickering light in the fridge can deter an interested client.

Inspect all the appliances in the house, namely:

  • Light fixtures and bulbs
  • Switches and sockets
  • Water heaters

Fixing your plumbing and appliances shows potential tenants that you care about the property. On your first meeting, you prove your willingness and ability to maintain the property in good condition.

Odourise the House

A bad-smelling unit in a showing will have tenants walking out before they get a chance to envision themselves living in it.

You need to make a deliberate effort to present a nice-smelling house.

While preparing for the showing, start with the basics. For example:

  • Open all the windows to let fresh air into the unit before your clients arrive. 
  • If you have any carpets or curtains, leave them out to air before the showing. If you detect any smell, have them deep cleaned before bringing them back into the house.
  • If the smell is too strong, you can get new curtains and get rid of the carpet. You are better off without a carpet than with a smelly carpet.
  • If you have a refrigerator, check it for odours. After cleaning, leave a fresh box of baking soda or a lemon slice to absorb any bad smells

If you really want to take it to the next level, you can:

  • Invest in a few diffusers. You can place the diffusers in different rooms to set the scent of the property. Choose herbal or light citrusy scents, as they appeal to a wider audience. 
  • Prepare some cookies. Buy premade cookie dough and set it in the oven before the walkthrough. The cookies will have your unit smelling homely and warm. Alternatively, have some cinnamon toast in the toaster right before your clients arrive.

Personalise the Unit with Basic Supplies

Make the house feel as homely as possible for prospective tenants.

Adding home supplies to the showing will help you present the unit as clean and tidy.

A few home supplies will make it feel functional and inviting. For example:

  • A rubbish bin
  • Toilet paper in every toilet
  • Hand wash at every sink
  • A hand towel or serviettes

These and other supplies convey that you appreciate a clean property.

In addition to these supplies, carry a packet of disinfectant wipes. It will help you with clean-ups between clients.

If you have several walkthroughs in a day, the wipes will help you clean up any dirt quickly. This way, your property stays sparkling clean and ready for new prospective tenants.

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Set Up a Rental Desk to Receive Rental Applications

Why Do You Need a Rental Desk

A rental desk will give you a designated area to host potential tenants. You can start talking about their rental needs at the showing. This is an opportunity for you to present your unit as a solution to their tenancy needs.

A designated rental desk helps you get one-on-one time with individual clients. This is useful if you have many tenants coming in for the walkthrough at the same time.

You can ask a few questions to help you understand the applicants better. For example:

  • Why are you moving out? This question should give you better insight into their rental needs. Look out for vague answers or stories that paint their current landlord as a bad person.
  • When are you planning on moving in? Here, you can separate the good planners from the people who wait until the last minute. You want a tenant who plans and gives you enough time to make a decision.
  • Are you willing to consent to a background check? While selecting a quality tenant, you need consent to use an applicant’s information for the screening. If they are not willing to give their consent, disqualify them immediately.

What Do You Need at the Rental Desk?

Your rental desk should mimic an office desk. It should have documents related to the tenancy, such as:

  • A rental application
  • A Preliminary condition report 
  • A background check consent form

Make sure you have pens that clients can use to fill out the documents.

Set Yourself Up for Success in the Rental Business

To manage your listings and showings, you need to get your business in order.

There are several advantages to getting the managerial aspects of the rental business ready before a showing:

  • You have all your documents updated and ready to share with prospective tenants.
  • You can manage your calendar better to avoid booking conflicts for the walkthroughs.
  • You have a payment system set up for tenants who are ready to place a deposit or a booking fee.
  • You have easy access to all your financial records. You can make informed decisions should tenants ask to negotiate the rent.
  • You can set up a messaging system to manage all your communication with interested renters.

What’s Next When Preparing for a Showing?

Now that your house is ready for the showing, you can start getting ready for a new tenant.

As a self-managing landlord, you need to start investing time in understanding the rental business.

At Lodge, you can access a myriad of resources to help you get started. For example, the Property Rental eBook, which gives you all the information you need to set up a successful rental business.

The Property Rental eBook will give you access to:

  • All the tips you need to succeed as a first-time landlord
  • A rental income spreadsheet to help you manage your income and expenses 
  • A guide on how and when to increase the rent
  • A repair and maintenance guideline to help you understand your responsibilities

Prepare yourself for the tenancy by downloading the eBook today.

Photo: Pressfoto