Rental Property Conversion Series: Staging Your Property for Show

This week in the Rental Property Conversion Series, I am discussing the next steps to take in converting a primary residence to a rental property.  So far in this series I have covered:

Refinancing Mortgage Loans

Refinance Settlement, Power of Attorney and Escrow

Setting the Appropriate Rent, Part 1

Setting the Appropriate Rent, Part 2

Staging Your Property for Show

Although the term ‘staging’ is often associated with preparing a property for show before a sale, I also recommend taking a lot of the same steps for showing your property to prospective renters.  When you stage your property for show, you are essentially optimizing the presentation of your property.  There are a number of things that you can do to prepare your property for show and I will take you through some of the things that I will be doing. 

I have not yet listed my house for rent.  But, once my property is listed, prospective renters will have the opportunity to do a walk-thru of the premises before making a commitment.  So, I will try to make the best impression that I can make by taking the following steps:

Curb Appeal

The first impression that you make when showing a house is the presentation from the curb to the door. 

If you are like me and you already have some landscaping done in the front yard, you may just need to tidy it up.  I have a very small front yard, which has a sod- grown lawn and small evergreen plants that border the walkway.  Over the past year or so, the front yard has been somewhat overwhelmed by weeds and a lot of the mulch that had been used to isolate each plant has washed away. 

The simplest thing that I can do right now is to uproot the weeds, replace the mulch and cut and trim the grass and edges.  To keep my costs down, these are things that I will probably do myself. 

But, if you feel that you do not have a green thumb or if you have a much larger front yard to tend, it may be worth it to hire a professional landscaper.  It is probably worth the investment to make a very good first impression. 

Other things that should be done to spruce up the entry way to your home is to clean and refresh paint on the window sills and doors, sweep the walkway and clean or replace patio furniture.    

Painting and Finishing

Once your prospective renters make it into the property, what will they see?  I recommend a fresh coat of paint and finishing details such as patching up marks and scratches on the walls and cleaning carpets and floors.  Walls and floors take up such a large area in the room.  They are your canvas for other decorative details. Marks and blemishes look bad and will detract from the other details of your presentation.

When painting the walls, it is best to use neutral colors.  Colors such as whites, beiges, and yellows are very neutral.  There are also a series of other colors that, when diluted by white, are barely noticeable as tints.  Stores such as Home Depot will allow you to customize colors according to their color specifications.  They have colors throughout the spectrum that can be diluted to almost white. 

In addition to painting, you may also want to finish or refresh items that are not in their most presentable form.  For me, that includes things like the caulking on the tub in the master bathroom.  The caulking has corroded over time and will need to be refreshed before the house is shown.  Other finishing tasks might include spot cleaning, replacing light bulbs or filling in large empty spaces.  For example, if you recently took a large table out of a room, you may need to place another piece of furniture or some other item in its place to maintain balance in the room.    

Repair Work

This may not be imperative for your walk-thru.  Some things that will need repair may not be obvious to visitors walking through the property.  The most important repairs, however, will be the obvious ones – things that are most noticeable to the eye.

Examples include large cracks in the walls or ceiling, broken doorways, or broken windows. 

Less obvious repairs should definitely be disclosed and repaired before your tenant moves into the property.

De-clutter and Depersonalize

Two of the most important things to do before your property is shown are easily the least obvious to the property owner.  If you are like me, you may have piles or clusters of things that you keep out in the open for ease of access or because you do not have enough storage space in which to keep them. 

For the purpose of showing your property, you are advised to clear away all piles or clusters of papers, clothes and other articles.  The general rule of thumb is that there should be as little of you in the property as possible.  Present your property as you would imagine finding a hotel room or model home.  For the most part, the only things that should be apparent are furnishings and minimal creature comforts that would make for comfortable accommodation. 

MAKE MONEY MONDAYS is a forum to discuss ways in which you can create additional sources of income.  I try to focus on particular ideas and steps you can take to create alternative income and passive income sources.  I have also begun a series of posts called “Rental Property Conversion.”  This series follows my husband and I as we turn our property into a rental property.  I will also research and post other useful information in this category. If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

 

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