All good things must come to an end--including leases. Whether you’re saying goodbye to a dream tenant or good riddance to a difficult one, consult this quick checklist before new renters arrive. And if you need to re-list your property, consider taking the first two steps before marketing or posting updated pictures.
- Deep Clean
Whether you roll up your own sleeves or call in the professionals like MerryMaids, a fresh, clean space will be more appealing to renters. It’s always best to start from the top down when you do your Deep Clean. (Think: Don’t wash floors until AFTER you’ve dusted and wiped down counters!) If the carpets are looking a bit neglected, consider calling up someone like StanleySteamer to have them professionally cleaned or renting a carpet cleaner from Home Depot or Lowes.
- Clean Up the Landscaping
Location may be the name of the game in real estate, but maintaining your rental’s curb appeal pays dividends as well. Walk the perimeter of the property, making notes of the areas that could use a spruce. Take the time to prune shrubs, trim trees, and/or pour new mulch in the gardens--or call a professional to help. If the exterior of the house looks well-cared for, potential renters will be more curious to see what’s inside as well.
- Draino all Tubs and Sinks
Clogged drains are high on the list of most common tenant calls, so save time by testing the showers and sinks before move-in. If you’re interested in “natural” remedies, try cleaning the drain with baking soda and distilled white vinegar. (Click here for a how-to.)
- Call the Exterminator
Consider taking the time in-between renters to consult with an exterminator. It’s a routine part of maintaining any property, and it will hopefully spare your new tenant from unwanted surprise guests. Many extermination services like Terminix offer free on-site quotes.
- Change Air Filters
Your average air filter should be changed out every month or so anyway, so it couldn’t hurt to swap them out before a new tenant arrives. Consider leaving a few replacement filters for your tenants so that they can handle this task in the future.
- Clean the Dishwasher
Funny though it sounds, dishwashers don’t clean themselves. Luckily, though, it’s a straightforward process: First, check the drain under the lower dish rack for clogged food and debris. After cleaning out the drain, pour a cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe cup and place it in the (otherwise empty) dishwasher. Then run the dishwasher on a hot cycle to rid its walls of grease, grime, and any unsavory smells.
- Clean the Garbage Disposal
Unkempt sink disposals lead to foul smells in the kitchen, but there are several quick ways to keep the kitchen drain fresh. Considering buying a cleaner specifically for the disposal, like a plink, or use lemon juice and baking soda for a more natural approach.
- Check the Dryer Vent
Clogged dryer vents are a major fire hazard, so this is another important area to inspect before turning over your rental. Cleaning out the lint catcher is good general maintenance, but take advantage of an empty house and check the dryer hose for buildup as well. Depending on the situation (and your DIY comfort level), you may want to call a duct cleaning professional.
- Change Keys
Even if the previous renters returned all of the keys they were given, there is no guarantee they didn’t have extra copies made. Though the importance of this measure may vary on a case-by-case basis, we recommend playing it safe and having the locks “rekeyed” between renters.
We know some of the tasks on this list might be above and beyond the call of duty. However, taking the time to care for your property will assure your new renters that they’ve found a competent and attentive landlord. Happy tenants make happy landlords, so consider how you can best hit the “reset” button on your property in-between renters!