Know Your Contractors How To Prepare Your Property for Renters

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Interior of a rental property

It’s time to find tenants and generate cash flow!

If you’re like many property owners, you want to use your investment property to make rental income. But before you can get to the cash flow part, you likely need to rehab and prepare the rental property for tenants. Rehabbing a home isn’t the same as preparing a home for rental, though. Not all homes require rehabbing, but all rental properties must be prepared for prospective tenants.

There’s a lot to know about being a homeowner with rental properties, and landlords must understand their rights and tenants’ rights to meet any legal requirements when preparing a home for a new renter. These details can guide you through rehabbing your rental property and getting it ready for new tenants so you can get your home onto the rental market sooner.

How To Rehab Your Rental Property

After you purchase a rental home, you may need to do some work to prepare it for rental. This is referred to as preparing a home for rental, and it’s when you make any necessary changes or repairs to make the home safe and livable for tenants. This includes basic repairs such as fixing leaky faucets or repairing damaged flooring and making any required upgrades to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Regardless of the work required, you must start the rehab process with a solid plan. In your plan, include details about your budget. When you budget the rehab, account for the costs related to all the work you need and the materials involved. This can be a challenge, but it helps to overestimate when calculating costs to help make up for anything you forget.

The steps to take when you rehab a home are:

  • Clean debris and weeds from around the yard. Tidying up the exterior can make a big difference in the home’s appearance.
  • Tackle interior repairs such as replacing carpets, fixing holes in the drywall, and replacing kitchen cabinets. This is the time to hire contractors to complete work you can’t handle on your own, including electrical or plumbing issues that require a licensed contractor.
  • Complete any major exterior repairs, especially those that make the home safer. This is also the time to improve the property’s curb appeal to attract prospective renters, such as by planting flowers or installing new outdoor lighting.

How To Prepare a Home for Renters

Now that you’ve completed your rental home rehab, you can start preparing the property for renters. This is the stage where you add beautification to the house, like planting a bed of fresh flowers or making sure the windows sparkle. There are things you can do in each room of the house to get it ready for the next tenant that could also help increase the monthly rent:


When a tenant moves, you may have to clean the carpets in the bedrooms. Some landlords put hardwood floors in the bedrooms to avoid cleaning carpets regularly, but hardwood floors need to be cleaned as well, and they can get scratched and scuffed. You may also need to touch up the paint and fill holes in the walls caused by hanging pictures and hooks.

Inspect the bedroom windows to ensure they open and close and that screens are in place. If the windows need coverings, you may have to replace these before new tenants move in. Touch up moldings and baseboards and ensure the door functions and looks good.


In a rental property, you want to prepare the bathrooms by ensuring the faucets work and there are no leaks. Check to make sure the toilet looks clean and functions properly. Replacing broken or chipped mirrors or sinks is an inexpensive way to make a bathroom look more appealing to potential renters.

You can also do preventative maintenance while you’re preparing the home. Look under the cabinets in the bathrooms to inspect the pipes and ensure that the sinks are draining as they should. Make sure all the outlets and switches work. Hire a professional electrician or plumber if any issues or concerns need attention.

Living and family rooms

Living and family rooms often get a lot of wear and tear because they can be the most used rooms in a house. It’s not just a less-than-ideal tenant who can cause property damage. Accidents happen to even the best tenants, and these accidents might not leave your property in the same condition after you rent it out. Unfortunately, the living areas can get the brunt of the issues that renters cause.

So you need to be ready to properly prepare these rooms for new tenants when you’re a landlord. You may have to clean or replace carpets, apply a fresh coat of paint to the 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 any lighting fixtures are working properly.


The kitchen is another room that renters use a lot. When you prepare the kitchen for the next renter, you’ll want to check that the appliances are all working. 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 of these things as you look over the kitchen at your property.

New appliances aren’t cheap, so getting landlord insurance or a home warranty can sometimes be helpful. These can offset the costs of making expensive repairs for a rental property. Still, you should talk to an insurance agent about getting the coverage you need and want so that your policy or warranty covers appliances.

You might need to replace the linoleum if it’s damaged, but a good scrubbing should usually do the trick. Look over the cabinets and open all the doors and drawers to ensure they work. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace them if needed—you can do this throughout the house.


Once you’ve completed preparing the home’s interior for rental, you can move to the property’s exterior. Clean up and remove any junk or garbage that previous tenants may have left. Check the siding to make sure it’s clean and free of damage. Examine the windows, looking for water damage, leaks, and broken glass. If there’s a chimney, have it cleaned and make sure it’s structurally sound.

Add curb appeal to the home by trimming bushes, cutting trees, planting flowers, or putting potted plants around the property. People will judge a home within the first few minutes of seeing it, so sprucing up the exterior won’t cost much money but could attract a tenant to the place you’re renting sooner.

Bonus areas

If your property has a garage, shed, pet area, or another bonus spot that not all rentals have, you must also prepare these areas for rent. Any parts of the property included in the lease agreement should be ready for a renter. You may need to have the floor cleaned or repaired in the garage, while a shed may be full of someone’s old yard tools or boxes. Get rid of any signs of past tenants who may have been renting the house.

How To List Your Property and Find Tenants

Listing your property and finding a tenant is the next step in preparing it to rent. This step takes some work and investigation. 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 take care of maintenance, repairs, and property management tasks independently until they own a few other rentals. But a landlord can use these tips to help them list their property and find a tenant who will pay the monthly rent.

Take photos

Most people seeking housing today do it online by looking at photos, so you’ll want to ensure you have stellar property images. Hiring a professional real estate photographer who knows the current market may even be worthwhile. They can photograph the features of your house that they know are popular right now to help it stand out.

Use marketing tools

There are several ways a landlord can advertise their rental properties. Knowing the best marketing tools for your unit can help you target the people with the most interest in renting your house. Social media is an excellent tool for marketing real estate, but traditional methods like putting a sign in the yard can also be surprisingly helpful. 

How and where you market a home for rent depends on the home’s location and rental rate. You may need to try various marketing tools before you find the ones that work for you.

Screen applicants

Before renting a property, landlords must screen tenants to weed out anyone who may not pay the rent or are more likely to damage a house. Of course, you also have to prohibit discrimination when finding renters, so make sure you’re familiar with laws for landlords and tenants.

Create a rental agreement

A rental or lease agreement is a contract between a renter and a landlord stating what the tenant will pay each month and what the homeowner provides. The agreement needs to include the rental rate, the lease’s duration, whether pets are allowed, and all the details pertinent to the real estate transaction. 

You can use a generic rental agreement but have a lawyer look it over to ensure the lease can protect you and your property.

Property Manager vs. Self-Management

You must decide whether to self-manage your properties or work with a property management company. Doing the job yourself means you need a good grasp of landlord-tenant laws, eviction laws, and the legal issues that could arise from a lease. You’ll also be responsible for collecting rent, doing maintenance, taking care of repairs, marketing, and renting the unit.

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 you want. They can write a lease agreement, handle the rent money, and hire the lawn care service. 

Property managers also know how to navigate the rental market, and their services can be well worth the money.


Preparing your home for renters takes time if you decide to manage the property yourself. You might want to manage your property if you only own a few, but as you grow your real estate business, it may be worth considering working with a property management company. You can let them help you prepare a home for renters so you can continue your wealth-building strategy.

Know Your Contractors

How to Find and Keep Good Contractors
Grow your team with quality rehab professionals you can trust to do the job right.

14 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a General Contractor
Screen your potential contractors with these vital questions.

How to Manage Your Contractors Like a Boss
Learn how to skillfully oversee your rehab projects and contractors from start to finish.

Should I Hire a General Contractor or Serve as My Own?
DIYing your rehab may or may not make sense for your investment.

Know Your Project

How To Estimate Rehab Costs
Use this guide to understand how much you'll spend on your rehab.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Building Inspection Process
Learn how a building inspection impacts the cost and timing of your rehab project.

Is an Umbrella Policy or LLC Better for Investors?
Understand the difference between an umbrella insurance policy and LLC and which offers the best liability protection.

The Complete Homeowners Insurance Guide For Investors
It's important to know what's covered, what's not, and how to find the right agent.

How to Prepare Your Property for Renters
After the rehab is complete, learn the steps needed to prep your property for tenants.

Know Your Tenants

How To Rent Your House
Follow this step-by-step guide to find a tenant and start collecting rent.

Lease Agreements and Landlord Forms
Protect your investment with lawyer-approved residential applications, leases, extensions, pet addendums, and more.

10 Items to Include in Your Lease Agreement
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Tenant Screening 101
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Pet Screening Guide for Landlords
Read about the best practices and laws for screening tenants with pets.