the housing market and new construction may be on the upswing in 2015

One thing that we have to keep in mind in terms of rental properties, is that many who are going into the market are coming from a place of formerly being homeowners. Now, for some, this is an opportunity too good to miss out on: and you’ll miss out on it if you don’t create something a little similar to what they were used to, as homeowners.

All too often, what you can charge in terms of rent is going to depend on what you have to offer. So, not only is it going to be important to offer them something familiar, but also, balancing that with the amount of rent you charge. This is one area where first impressions are going to count the most: so don’t miss out. Here are a few small improvements you can make to improve your rental house, without breaking the bank.

Update those window treatments! You might not think that ten dollar pack of blinds at Wal Mart’s a worthwhile investment but consider the message you’re sending right from the start. If you can’t replace decrepit window dressing, what’s that say about how you’ll be when something bigger goes wrong? A landlord who can’t take care of something that simple appears neglectful or slow to repair things. Not the message you want to send.

Check the knobs and handles on your indoor fixtures, too. Missing ones need to be replaced and those that are a bit wobbly could just stand with a tightening. This seems obvious to many, but you’d be surprised at how often these small details slip our notice: but not that of a potential tenant, particularly one that is used to taking care of these things for their own home.

Get rid of the farty or smoke smells. Have you ever done a walk through of a place you were thinking about buying and suddenly an odd fart smell hit you? I had that happen in a rural property- and it was the septic tank, because the water had an issue with needing filtered: no one crop dusted during the showing, it was just the signature stench of sulfur. If you’ve got that problem, do all you can to combat it by installing air purifiers or filters that may downplay the problem. Nicotine smells are harder to get rid of and if you’re a smoker yourself, you may want to have someone else come through after the cleaning: smokers are a little more used to that smell and may not notice it.

Lingering bad smells are...unbearable.

Lingering bad smells are…unbearable.

Cleaning up the outside is important, too: but one thing people often get wrong? Clean it up and THEN take your listing photos for ads. These are a couple I just pulled off of Craigslist. Which house would you rather rent?

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Beyond being offputting from the jump, the message this sends potential renters is: I didn’t even care enough to mow the yard before I took the photo for my ad, imagine how it’ll be when you need something! And is easy to avoid. (Of course, the first is probably not even a photo the would be landlord took- it’s a real estate listing photo.)

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Kurt Kroeck has written articles in real estate, law, and art related niches for a number of high profile publications. He is an avid WW2 re-enactor, artist in graphite, charcoal, and digital media. He volunteers in animal rescue and enjoys spending time with his children.

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