Presenting Your Property For Rental Opens
If you’ve ever sold a property, the Saturday morning scramble will be etched into your memory, pleading to be erased. The scramble to get up early, clean the house, replace lightbulbs, grab fresh flowers, make sure the garden is immaculate, wash down driveways, bake a cake for the smell to waft through the house and style the property like you’re a contestant on The Block. Oh, then rearrange everything another seven times. Phew!
Now for a rental property – do you just wake up and hope that somebody turns up? Why is there so much more emphasis placed on a sales open over a rental open, is it purely due to a few extra zeros on the price tag or something else?
Could presentation be the key to rental success?
Presentation is a key element to rental return, tenant selection, vacancy rate and the long term cost of maintenance, repairs and potential damage so take control as the property owner. With that being said, this will depend largely on who is living in the property – are you residing in the property or are you leaving it to your vacating tenants to prepare the property for you?
Let’s discuss preparing your property for a rental open if it is owner-occupied. The property is on display from the moment it is listed on the internet, so ensure the gardens are well kept, lawns are mowed and all cobwebs are removed. The inside needs to be clean, tidy and with all rooms accessible to view. You don’t need to bake a cake before each open but make sure it smells nice; any smell of mould, damp, smoke or animal is an immediate deterrent and will attract the wrong tenant.
Make the most of what you have to offer, don’t attend to the gardens the weekend before you vacate. Be sure to tend and care for any outdoor space that’s of value to the property, so you can then showcase it as an additional room and a space that feels tranquil and loved. The bottom line is, you should be able to present your property in the same condition you would like your tenants to maintain it.
How much control do you have with tenants in the property?
So what happens when you already have tenants in there? If you have a property manager you should receive a pre-vacate inspection report with information such as maintenance required, recommended improvements, current rental assessment and to determine if the property should be shown to prospective applicants before or after the tenants vacate. A messy, dirty and non- cooperative tenant could lead to a cycle of bad tenancies.
A property I managed was becoming vacant and after the pre-vacate inspection, I reported to the owner that part of the ceiling was collapsing, which was not reported by the tenant, and the property was cluttered, dirty and not in a presentable state. The owner insisted that he has a mortgage to pay so the property could not sit vacant and the maintenance would be done at some stage. As a result, the property did sit vacant for a length of time as this eliminated a pool of prospective tenants who visited during the first few inspections and who didn’t come back for a revisit. It could have been worse though, someone could have accepted the property as is and felt that those conditions were suitable to maintain!
Roll up your sleeves and get the job done if necessary
What happens if there are elements that are out of your control – a poorly maintained apartment complex, difficult neighbours or a lack of funds to spruce the place up?
This is where forward planning really is important. Speak to the Owners Corporation to get the complex cleaned up or where possible do this yourself – clean the common areas, arrange rubbish removal and attend to the gardens. If the property needs a facelift and it’s going to be at a substantial cost speak to your bank or broker to see if you can re-draw on your loan or apply for a top-up remembering that these improvements are only adding value to your asset.
It can be as simple as a polite note or quiet word
Now for the neighbours. Sometimes this is not resolvable and your rent price will need to be reflective and attractive enough for tenants to put up with it but other times a conversation or a polite note will be enough for neighbours to understand the impact of their actions and will cooperate at your request. If you are part of an Owners Corporation give them plenty of notice to address this with the neighbour and where necessary, have it escalated with Breach Notices to give your property and future tenant the best opportunity for a great tenancy.
To sum up, you don’t need to hire furniture for your rental opens or get busy baking but still give your investment the attention it deserves and offer the property the way that you would like to live in it. This could save you time, money and headaches down the track.