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10 Tips for Staging Rental Properties

6809 views March 6, 2024 Karina Jugo 17

Staging rental properties is a great way to help fill a vacant property quickly. The rental market is now more competitive than ever. Landlords and property managers need to put up a good show in their home staging techniques if they want to rent their homes quickly and for a good price.

Rent staging includes every method of showcasing the qualities of your home to attract renters who will pay the highest price possible within a short period of time after being listed. Renters are more dynamic in their needs, so you need to do several things to cover your bases.

The advantages of a well-staged home cannot be over-emphasized. Industry statistics provided by The International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP) in 2020 indicate that staged homes sell 3 to 30 times faster and at a much higher price (up to 20% more) compared to homes that are not staged.  And the same applies to leasing.

As a landlord, staging a rental property will help you create an inviting home, giving it an edge when attracting the best tenants.

What exactly is staging rental properties?

Home staging rentals is the practice of strategically arranging and decorating a property to enhance its appeal to potential renters. The goal is to showcase the home’s best features, create a welcoming atmosphere, and help prospective tenants envision themselves living in the space.

Through careful placement of furniture, décor, and lighting, home and apartment staging aims to maximize a property’s perceived value and facilitate a quicker, more lucrative lease arrangement in the real estate market.

What are the benefits of staging a rental property?

Staging a house for rent offers numerous advantages that can significantly impact the leasing process and overall success of property management.  The benefits of staging include improved visual appeal, enhanced online presence, better showcasing of unique features, positive first impressions, and the potential for higher rental income.

1. Improved visual appeal

First and foremost, staging transforms an empty or outdated space into an appealing and inviting environment, making it easier for potential tenants to envision themselves living there. For this reason, landlords and property managers these days are even renting furniture and furnishings to stage a home. By strategically placing furniture, decor, and accessories, staging adds a sense of warmth and purpose to each room, enhancing the property’s overall appeal.

2. Enhanced online presence

Staged rental properties often photograph better, generating eye-catching images for online listings. In the digital age, where prospective tenants often begin their search online, visually appealing photos can attract more attention and inquiries. This increased visibility can lead to a larger pool of interested tenants and a faster leasing process.

3. Showcase unique features

Staging also helps highlight a property’s unique selling points and potential, addressing any shortcomings or awkward layouts. It allows property managers to showcase the functionality and versatility of the space, making it more attractive to a variety of renters with different needs and preferences. Consider hiring staging experts to get the best advice on how to stage your home.

4. Positive first impressions

Staged properties create a favorable initial perception or judgment during property viewings. A well-staged home suggests to potential tenants that the property is well-maintained and cared for, reinforcing their confidence in the property manager or landlord. This positive impression can influence the decision-making process and increase the likelihood of securing a lease.

5. Higher rental income

Staging can also justify a higher rental price. When tenants perceive a property as well-maintained, aesthetically pleasing, and move-in ready, they may be more willing to pay a premium for these added benefits. Ultimately, the financial investment in staging can result in a quicker leasing process, reduced vacancy periods, and potentially higher rental income over time.

Tips for Staging Rental Properties

TL;DR (Download the actionable Checklist for Staging Rental Properties)

1. Depersonalize your Home

This applies if you’re trying to rent out your existing home or even selling a house. This easy tip can create a great impression with a prospective tenant. Remove family photos, framed certificates, toys, and other personal belongings that give the tenant the impression that the home hasn’t been fully vacated. Also, do away with anything that may portray any political and religious affiliations. If not removed, they can easily detach renters from your home.

Your home should be staged so that the tenant can view it as if it’s already theirs. Nowadays, tenants commence their rental home search from the internet, and this makes it even more imperative to remove your personality from the house before taking your listing photographs.

Action items to depersonalize your home:

  • Remove personalized items like family photos, certificates, and religious/political affiliations.
  • Stage your home to allow potential tenants to envision it as their own.
  • Prioritize depersonalization for online listing photographs.

staging rental properties

2. Use Appropriate Colors

Getting your home ready for the rental market goes beyond using neutral colors. The right colors will better position your home in the rental market. Years back, most people believed that painting the interior of your home white would naturally appeal to tenants. But times are changing.

Most times, a monochromatic color scheme is more appealing when staging a home for rent. These colors aren’t distracting, allowing the tenant to focus more on the rest of the home. If their attention is drawn to the walls or ceilings, that’s a bad thing.

There is one exception, though. If your goal is to target artistic tenants, you may consider warm and creative hues or think outside the box. Don’t go overboard though, because what appeals to one person doesn’t always appeal to another. That said, this might be an angle to consider if your rental property is in an artistic part of town.

Action items when selecting colors:

  • Use neutral and subdued colors other than basic white.
  • Choose a monochromatic color scheme when painting walls and ceilings.
  • Play with colors on accents and decors for an added creative touch when staging.

3. Create a Clear Identity for Each Room

The function of each room should be easily identifiable. Use the appropriate fittings and furniture that best describes the function of the home to be rented. For example, a home office should have a table, chair, shelves for books, and probably artwork or pictures for a more natural ambiance.

In addition to this, when the right furniture style and arrangement are used, your prospective tenant is better able to appreciate the size of the space than when the room is empty or sparsely occupied.

With the rearrangement and replacement of some of your furniture, you may be surprised how new life can be brought into your home, further depicting what space is meant for in a better way.

Action items when creating room identities:

  • Imagine the process or workflow that takes place in each room.
  • Think of both form and function when creating identities for each room.
  • Maximize the use of each space without creating clutter.

4. Keep it Polished, Clean, and Deodorized

This cannot be overemphasized. Do a thorough cleaning of the whole house and be detailed about it. You may never know how detailed your best renter may be. Do a deep cleaning of the floors, walls, windows, doors, and ceiling.

Give adequate attention to minor stuff like the switches and door knobs. Give a good polish to those wooden floors, doors, and railing. Give the shower wall tiles a professionally polished look.

One thing to keep in mind is that if the previous tenant (including yourself) smoked in the house, everything would smell like smoke. The carpet, walls, etc. In that case, you’ll likely need to paint the walls and ceiling and either get the carpet deep-cleaned or replaced.

You want to appeal to the very best of tenants who will respect your place and keep it clean.  These tenants will also expect the same from the home when viewing it.  So, the more clean the home is, the higher the quality of tenants you will be able to attract.

Action items to clean and deodorize the home:

  • Prioritize a thorough deep clean to ensure the rental home is spotless.
  • Address any lingering odors by steaming clean carpets, washing curtains and linens, and using air purifiers.
  • Incorporating natural scents to add a touch of freshness. For instance, place bowls of fresh fruit in the kitchen to add a subtle, pleasant fragrance.

5. Declutter the Space

According to Amy Fontinelle of Investopedia, clutter detracts interest from your home and makes it seem like it doesn’t have enough space.

Don’t leave too much furniture around to erase this effect and make it easy for the new renters to picture themselves. Just leave the basics with a few accent pieces to add a touch of character.

Action items to declutter space:

  • Stick to the basics. Don’t add needless furniture that limits the architectural features of the home to stand out.
  • Leave enough space for human activity and interaction.
  • Keep decor and accents to the minimum, Too many knick-knacks or decorative elements can be visually overwhelming.

6. Don’t Neglect the Exterior Spaces

The condition of your rental home’s exterior is the first impression a tenant will have – that curb appeal. Many tenants may ignore the nice appeal of the interior if the outside is not attractive.

staging rental properties

Trimming and shaping your lawn and hedges help ensure a better curb appeal.  Also, you should pressure wash the walkways and driveways. Ensure that exterior paints are not faded. When choosing flowers for your exterior, consider yellow plants. Yellow is ‘warm’ and has the ability to attract and make people feel at ease, giving the renter an attractive first impression.

When it comes to those external windows, ensure the glass panes and frames are spotless and clean. Wash those steel railings to keep them sparkling. If the railings are wooden, then you may consider some paint.

Remember, the point of rental staging is to make a prospective tenant fall in love with the place. If the yard is immaculate and looks like a place a tenant could call home, they may fall in love with the home simply for the yard!

Action items to create curb appeal:

  • Address any visible exterior issues such as chipped paint, broken fences or railings, and damaged shingles or siding.
  • Invest time in enhancing the landscaping around the property.
  • Enhance the entryway as it serves as a focal point. Repaint the front door and upgrade the door hardware for a polished look.

7. Make the Most of Your Home’s Selling Points

Find ways to get the attention of the renter focused on the main features of your home. Do you have a neatly decorated lawn, a unique fireplace, or a grand staircase? Emphasize it! If you’ve got excellent storage space, flaunt it. Focus the lights on it and make it easily observable.

Every home has certain things that make it stand out above the rest. If you don’t leverage those strengths, you’re less likely to have as many renters trying to get in. Think of hiring a staging expert if you don’t know how to stage a house.

Action items to highlight selling points:

  • Capitalize on natural light and any scenic views the property may offer.
  • Showcase the functionality and livability of each space within the home.
  • Emphasize unique architectural features such as vaulted ceilings, arched doorways, or custom-built features by arranging furniture and decor to draw attention to them.

8. Lighten up the Rooms

Staging rentals should be focused mainly on making the home feel warm and welcoming. Light creates warmth and makes the room more appealing to a renter.

To brighten up your rooms, ensure you maximize the effect of natural light where applicable. Clean every dirty light fixture and replace broken lights with the brightest bulbs reasonably possible. If you still need more lights, lamps can be a good source of additional illumination.

Pay attention to the temperature of the LED light bulbs that you are purchasing today.  Unlike the incandescent bulbs that used to be the standard, with LED bulbs, the watt equivalent has zero to do with the color of the light.  A higher temperature color will give more daylight appeal, while a lower temperature will give more candlelight appeal. Choose a color that’s fitting for the room and environment.  You do not want a high-temperature light bulb in a bedroom, just like you don’t want a low-temperature light in a kitchen!

Ensure that all the window blinds are well opened, clean the glass to remove dirt and dusty films, and do not forget to remove any shrub or plant that may obstruct adequate natural light from entering the rooms.

When you want to take photographs for listings, do not take pictures in the bright afternoon with the sun rays creating unnecessary contact. Listed pictures are best taken at dawn or dusk, where the brightness can be adequately balanced with artificial light, positioned in the spaces you want to emphasize.  No matter what you do, ensure that you avoid dark and poorly lit spaces.

Action items to lighten up rooms: 

  • Maximize natural light by opening curtains and blinds, allowing sunlight to fill the room.
  • Choose a light and neutral color palette for walls and furniture to reflect natural and artificial light, making the room appear brighter and more open.
  • Declutter the space to remove light blocks and create a cleaner and more open feel.

9. Make the Scenes Active

Don’t just leave the dining table bare. Set it with the dishes and add a centerpiece with flowers and fruits. Put logs in the fireplace. Switch on the TV but reduce the volume. Allow the curtains to bring more light into the spaces.

You’ve probably heard of people baking cookies right before an open house. There’s a reason why they do that. Besides giving them a chance to leave cookies for the potential tenants, it also helps the kitchen smell nice and comforting.

In private areas like the bathrooms, add some scented candles and make it more luxurious with a neat shower curtain. All of these will make the renters easily visualize themselves in the home.

Action items to create a sense of activity:

  • Hang some pots and pans above the kitchen counter and add a spice rack.
  • Place a couple of folded towels and some toiletries in the bath.
  • Use lighting to create a sense of activity and ambiance. A table lamp on a desk or a floor lamp beside a Lazy Boy will simulate areas where someone might read, work, or relax.

10. Wow Them with a Grand Entrance

The entrance is the key to successful rental home staging. This is the renter’s first point of call. This is where he or she starts weighing his or her decisions. A grand entrance will captivate the attention of your renter, whereas the wrong impression could lead them to pass on the property.

Make the entrance functional. Add a bowl for your keys and a lovely entrance rug. Arrange nicely scented fresh flowers in a unique way and add a bench or seat for taking off shoes. A covered hanger for coats is an excellent idea.

Action items to create a grand entrance:

  • Illuminate the foyer with appropriate lighting to enhance its welcoming ambiance.
  • Add a welcoming piece of furniture, such as a console table or a bench, where people can briefly pause or leave their belongings.
  • Integrate practical storage solutions such as a stylish coat rack, baskets to stow away items like shoes and umbrellas, and a decorative bowl for house and car keys.

Actionable tips on how to rent a house quickly

Renting out a house quickly involves preparation, effective marketing,  and communication. Here are actionable steps to help you find ideal tenants in no time.

  1. Prepare the Property:
    • Ensure the property is clean and well-maintained. Ensure any necessary repairs are completed.
    • Opt for neutral colors and decor to appeal to a broader range of potential tenants.
  2. Set the Right Rates and Terms:
    • Check the rental rates for comparable properties in your area to set a competitive and realistic rent price.
    • Offer move-in specials or other incentives to attract tenants, such as a discounted first month’s rent or including fixed-price utilities like WiFi.
  3. Professional Photos:
    • Hire a professional photographer to take high-quality pictures of the property. Good photos significantly enhance your property’s online appeal.
  4. Online Listings:
    • Utilize popular online platforms such as Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, and local rental websites.
    • Craft a compelling listing with detailed information about the property, including features, amenities, and contact information.
  5. Social Media Marketing:
    • Share your property on social media platforms. Consider creating a dedicated page or using targeted ads to reach potential tenants.
  6. Network:
    • Inform friends, family, and colleagues about the property, as they may know someone looking to rent.
    • Connect with local real estate groups or property management associations for additional exposure.
  7. Responsive Communication:
    • Respond promptly to inquiries and schedule viewings at the earliest possible time. A quick response can set you apart from other landlords.
  8. Open Houses:
    • Host open houses to allow potential tenants to view the property. This can create a sense of urgency and competition among applicants.
  9. Offer Flexible Showing Times:
    • Be flexible with showing times, including evenings and weekends, to accommodate potential tenants’ schedules.
  10. Highlight Unique Features:
    • Emphasize unique features of your property that make it stand out, such as a spacious backyard, modern appliances, or proximity to public transportation.
  11. Screen Tenants Efficiently:
    • Develop a thorough tenant screening process to ensure you choose reliable tenants. The RentPost™ software enables landlords and property managers to check credit standings, rental history, and references.
  12. Utilize Property Management Services:
    • Consider hiring a property management company if you’re unable to dedicate time to manage the rental process. A better option would be to sign up for RentPost™ property management software to simplify the rent process. Plans start at $29/month for up to 25 units.
  13. Be Transparent:
    • Clearly communicate terms and expectations to potential tenants. Transparency can help build trust and streamline the rental process.
  14. Offer Online Applications:
    • Simplify the application process by providing online application forms. This can speed up the process for both you and potential tenants. The RentPost™ software features online applications and payments to make the process easy for both tenants and landlords.
  15. Be Prepared to Negotiate:
    • Be open to reasonable negotiations, such as adjusting the move-in date or discussing lease terms.

By implementing these steps, you increase your chances of renting out your house quickly while attracting suitable and reliable tenants.

What’s after rental staging? It’s tenant screening…

Now that you’ve learned the 10 valuable staging tips to rent a house, it’s time to assess your potential renters. Tenant screening is paramount when reviewing applicants for a rental property as it serves as a crucial safeguard for landlords.

Through thorough screening, property owners can assess an applicant’s financial responsibility, rental history, and criminal background, helping to mitigate the risk of leasing to unreliable or potentially problematic tenants.

Property management software like RentPost™ plays a pivotal role in streamlining and enhancing the tenant screening process. With advanced features and automation, the RentPost™ platform enables landlords and property managers to conduct comprehensive evaluations of potential tenants in a simple 3-step process:

1: Click on the Screening tab and create a new application.

tenant screening application

 

2: Fill in tenant and property details and select type of report required.

tenant screening details

 

3: Alternatively, you can click on the fingerprint icon on the right side of the newly recorded application to request a report.

tenant screening fingerprint icon

 

Our system integrates with credit reporting agencies, allowing quick and thorough checks on applicants’ credit histories. Additionally, RentPost™ facilitates criminal background checks, rental history verification, and income assessments, providing a holistic view of a tenant’s reliability.

RentPost’s automation capabilities help in swiftly processing applications, transforming the traditionally cumbersome tenant screening process into a seamless, digital experience, allowing landlords to make well-informed decisions efficiently and effectively.

Find all the features of our property management software.

rentpost property management software features

Conclusion

The Real Estate Staging Association [RESA] reported that homes that were not staged before being listed stayed on the market for an average of 143 days. That’s a huge difference from just about 23 days for those that were staged prior to listing. With the home staging tips mentioned above, you are assured of getting a good buyer within a shorter time.

The association’s staging calculator also helps you determine how much money you can spend or save when you stage your home before listing it. Just remember that tailoring your rental staging to attract the widest range of renters possible doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. The ideas and planning are what matter the most.

The RentPost™ software can help you keep track of your rental investment expenses from repairs to staging and beyond. Find a plan that suits you or get on board for a FREE 30-day trial today!

Authors

  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

  • Jacob Thomason

    Jacob Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of RentPost, software platform providing property managers, landlord or owners with the tools necessary for property management. Jacob is a software entrepreneur with with a vast array of expertise ranging from business concept design to software architecture and development. He is running RentPost for more than 14 years and helping property managers and property owners.

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