Real Estate

How to Prepare a Rental Property for Tenants (Landlord’s Guide)

If you’re like many property owners, you want to use your investment property for rental income. But before you can get to the cash flow part, you’ll need to rehab and prepare the rental property for potential tenants.

However, home renovation is not the same as preparing a home for rent. Not all homes need renovations, but all rental properties should be ready for potential tenants.

There is a lot to know about owning a rental property, and when preparing a home for a new tenant the landlord should understand their rights and the rights of the tenants to meet any legal requirements.

These details can guide you as a real estate investor in revitalizing your residential rental property and making it ready for new tenants so you can get your home on the rental market sooner—and possibly more. Can increase the monthly rent.

How to Renovate Your Rental Property

Once you buy a rental home, it’s important to make necessary repairs and updates to make sure it’s safe and meets local rental regulations for tenants.

It’s important to start with a thorough plan, especially when setting up a renovation budget. Factor in all anticipated labor and material costs, and if possible, overestimate to accommodate any unexpected costs.

How to Prepare a Home for Tenants

Now that you’ve completed your rental home rehab, you can start preparing the property for tenants. This is the stage where you add beauty to the rental home, such as planting fresh flower beds or making sure the windows are sparkling.

There are things you can do in every room of the house to prepare it for the next tenant that can also help increase the monthly rent:


When a tenant moves out, you may have to clean the carpet in the bedroom. Some homeowners install hardwood floors in bedrooms to avoid having to regularly clean carpets, but hardwood floors also need to be cleaned, and they can scratch and scratch. You may also need to touch up paint and drill holes for hanging pictures and hooks in the walls.

Inspect bedroom windows to make sure they open and close and screens are in place. If the windows need to be covered, you will need to replace them before the new tenants move in. Touch up moldings and baseboards, and make sure the door works and looks good.


In a rental property, prepare the bathroom by making sure the faucets work and there are no leaks. Check to make sure the toilet looks clean and works properly. Replacing a cracked or chipped mirror or sink is an inexpensive way to make a bathroom more attractive to potential tenants.

You can also perform preventive maintenance while you are preparing the property. Look under cabinets in bathrooms to inspect pipes and make sure sinks are draining as they should. Make sure all outlets and switches are working. Hire a professional electrician or plumber if any problems or concerns need attention.

Living and family rooms

Living and family rooms are often prone to wear and tear because they can be the most used rooms in the home. It’s not just a less-than-ideal tenant who can damage the property.

Accidents happen to even the best tenants, and these accidents may not leave your property in the same condition you left it after you rented it. Unfortunately, residential areas can face problems caused by tenants.

So when you are a landlord you need to be prepared to prepare these rooms properly for new tenants. You may have to clean or Replace the carpet, apply a fresh coat of paint to walls, clean or replace window coverings, and repair doors or windows that don’t work. You can also check that all the light bulbs in the lighting fixtures are working properly.

The kitchen

The kitchen is heavily used by another room tenant. When you prepare the kitchen for the next tenant, you’ll want to make sure the appliances are working. Things to check include:

  • Is the fridge getting cold?
  • Does the freezer make ice?
  • Can the oven get hot?
  • Do all the burners on the stove work?

Make sure you check all these things when you look at the kitchen of your property.

New appliances aren’t cheap, so getting homeowner’s insurance or a home warranty can sometimes be helpful. These can cover the cost of making expensive repairs to the rental property. Still, you should talk to a homeowner’s insurance agent about the coverage you need and whether your policy or warranty covers the equipment.

If you have damaged linoleum it may need to be replaced, but a good scrubbing should usually do the trick. Check the cabinets, and open all doors and drawers to make sure they work. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace them if necessary—you can do this throughout the house.


Once you have finished preparing the interior of the rental home, you can move on to the exterior of the property.

Here are some important functions:

  • Clean up and remove any trash or litter that may have been left by previous tenants.
  • Check the siding to make sure it is clean and free of damage.
  • Inspect the windows, looking for water damage, leaks and broken glass.
  • If there is a chimney, clean it, and make sure it is structurally sound.

Add curb appeal to a home by trimming shrubs, trimming trees, planting flowers, or planting plants around the property. People will make a decision within the first few minutes of seeing a home, so it won’t cost much to spruce up the exterior, but it can attract a tenant to the place you’re renting sooner.

Bonus areas

If your rental property has a garage, shed, pet area, or other bonus space that isn’t fully rented, you’ll need to make those areas rentable as well. Any part of the property included in the lease agreement must be ready for the lessee.

You may need to clean or repair the floor in the garage, while the shed may be full of old tools or boxes from someone’s yard. Get rid of any signs of past tenants renting the property.

How to List Your Property

Listing your rental property and finding a tenant is the next step in getting it ready to rent. This step takes some work and research. You’ll need to know where to set your rental rate, whether you need to include lawn care, and how to screen tenants.

Most landlords handle maintenance, repairs and property management tasks independently unless they own some other tenants. But a landlord can use these tips to help you list your property and find a tenant who will pay the monthly rent.

Take a photo

Most people looking for a home these days do it online by looking at photos, so you’ll want to make sure you have great property photos. Hiring a professional real estate photographer who knows the current market can even be worthwhile. They can photograph features of your home that they know are popular right now to help make it stand out.

Use marketing tools.

There are several ways landlords can advertise their rental properties. Knowing the best marketing tools for your unit can help you target the people who are most interested in renting your home. Social media is a great tool for real estate marketing, but traditional methods like yard signs can also be incredibly helpful.

How and where you market your rental home depends on the home’s location and rental rate. You may need to try different marketing tools before you find one that works for you.

How to find the right tenants

Choosing the right tenants for your rental property is essential to a stress-free, profitable landlord experience. Making the right choice can lead to long-term rental relationships, timely payments, and well-maintained housing, while the opposite can result in costly and time-consuming challenges.

Screen applicants

Before renting a property, the landlord must Screen Tenant— such as through a background check service and a comprehensive rental application — to weed out someone who can’t pay rent or is more likely to damage the home. Of course, you also have to prohibit discrimination when finding a potential tenant, so make sure you’re familiar with landlord and tenant laws when screening tenants.

Understand Landlord Tenant Law.

Being well-versed in your city’s landlord-tenant laws is critical to your long-term success. These laws, such as the Fair Housing Act, not only dictate the rights and responsibilities of both parties, but also provide a framework for resolving disputes that may arise during the lease term.

A thorough understanding of these regulations ensures that you maintain a fair, legal relationship with your tenants. Ignorance or carelessness in this area can lead to legal complications, strained relationships and possible financial penalties.

Familiarizing yourself with local rental laws can save you from costly mistakes and solidify your reputation as a reliable and professional landlord.

Create a rental agreement

A rental or lease agreement is an agreement between a tenant and a landlord that specifies what the tenant will pay each month and what the landlord provides. The lease agreement needs to include the rental rate, lease term, whether pets are allowed, and all details related to the property transaction.

You can use a typical rental or lease agreement, but consult with an attorney to make sure the lease can protect you and your property. Without it, if something goes wrong, your rental income is at risk.

Property Manager vs. Self Management

You must decide whether to manage your properties yourself or work with a property manager or management company. Doing the work yourself means you need a good grasp of landlord-tenant laws, eviction laws, and the legal issues that can arise with a lease. You will also be responsible for rent collection, maintenance, repair maintenance, marketing, and unit rentals.

A property manager handles most of the details associated with renting a house. Many property management companies can tailor their services to your needs by offering some or all of the things you want. A property management company can write leases for potential tenants, handle rent payments, and hire lawn care services.

A property manager also knows how to navigate the rental market, and their services can be worth the money. Yes, hiring a property manager costs money, but it can actually increase your rental income in the long run.

Final thoughts

Preparing your home for tenants takes time if you decide to manage the property yourself.

If you only have a few you may want to manage your rental properties, but as you grow your real estate business, it may be worth considering working with a property management company. You can help them prepare homes for tenants, so you can continue your wealth building strategy.

Find freedom in a property management partnership.

Property Management Finder helps you discover reliable property management partnerships and make hiring decisions with confidence.

Find a property management company.

Note via BiggerPockets: These are the opinions expressed by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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