Advertising a rental property before renovations complete?

9 Replies

I'm currently renovating a duplex in Fort Lauderdale, FL that I plan to house-hack. The inside of the apartment I plan to rent out is completely done, however there is still work to do on the outside of the building, such as painting, landscaping, putting up a new fence and renovating the front porch. 

My question is, should I start to advertise the rental, even though the renovations are not done? I'm hesitant to post the un-finished unit (and pictures) online, because we want to attract top-dollar tenants. We should be done with renovations within the next month but it would be nice to get a renter in their ASAP. 

Does anyone have experience with this? or have any opinion on if renters are able to "see your vision" for renovations? or is it best to wait until everything is complete and beautiful to get top dollar?

Thanks BP Community!

Evan, I only have one rental to date in my portfolio, so take my advice for what it is... I adverted it before 100% finished (still need to add gutters and do landscaping) and it worked out for me. I found the tenants were much more interested in what was inside the house than outside. 

I'd put it up and see what type of interest it is getting. If you find multiple people interested at the rent you are shooting for then you know it did really matter. If interest is low then you can alway wait to re-adverstise next month with renovations finished and see if things change.

Read what JD wrote ... but remember that "top-dollar tenants" depends on LOCATION< LOCATION!  But go ahead advertise the rental, when people call or come by just explain. 

@Evan Farren , how long until the outside is done? 1st thing people are going to see and you want to make a good impression. IF the outside clearly looks like it's being painted/new landscaping, you might be okay, because prospective tenants will see that your improving the property. Just be sure to assure them that all will be finished prior to move in. Good tenants aren't going to want to deal with the stress of an in-process property as they're going through the stress of a move.

Originally posted by @Evan Farren :

I'm currently renovating a duplex in Fort Lauderdale, FL that I plan to house-hack. The inside of the apartment I plan to rent out is completely done, however there is still work to do on the outside of the building, such as painting, landscaping, putting up a new fence and renovating the front porch. 

My question is, should I start to advertise the rental, even though the renovations are not done? I'm hesitant to post the un-finished unit (and pictures) online, because we want to attract top-dollar tenants. We should be done with renovations within the next month but it would be nice to get a renter in their ASAP. 

Does anyone have experience with this? or have any opinion on if renters are able to "see your vision" for renovations? or is it best to wait until everything is complete and beautiful to get top dollar?

Thanks BP Community!

 Agree with the last response (advertise if presentable). From experience, there's only so much imagination people have & first impression is everything!  

We purchased a duplex and had quite a bit of reno to do.  We finished the upstairs unit and the downstairs unit was still quite messy.  We advertised and did showings of the unit that was ready and when I made the showing appointments, I explained to them we were still doing reno in the downstairs and outside.  That did not phase anyone.  We rented the upstairs and at the same time, ended up renting the downstairs unit to someone before it was even complete.  Both of our tenants know we still have to replace gutters and do some painting outside and have been wonderful with us working while they are there.  

I would just make sure to tell them before they even come to view what is going on and what the plan is for completion.   Good luck!

In our experiences, potential tenants have zero ability to look beyond what they are looking at in that moment.  Add to that, a good number of potential tenants will drive by your property before they even contact you.  I would wait until your renovations are complete to show the unit.

I advertise as early as possible. I've had tenants sign a lease during construction. Just be honest and explain what the finish product will be and set their expectations accurately.

thank you all. We should be done by the end of September. Painting and renovations to the porch should be complete by early September so we're thinking once that is complete, we'll put it on the market. 

Another question for South Florida investors - what is your opinion on nice decks/fire pit areas. Do they add much value to your rent price? 

Appreciate all the feedback.

I go on some rental Facebook sites and look for potential tenants in search of rentals in the price range I am renting (or slightly higher), and check out their page then private message them.  I describe the area and current remodel along with what is not quite finished yet along with an estimate of the interior finish date.  I also mention when my workers will be there if they want to see what has been done and what is planned.  I don't take money until it's ready, but usually have several tenants ready to rent when the interior and any needed exterior work (like a porch) is finished.  Little cosmetic things can be done the first week they are in the property.  I just redid a place some trashy tenants did a number on, and had it rented the day it was ready (they waited and I gave them a couple of days free rent to clean up after the repairmen).  So far that method has worked for me.  I have decks on a couple of places, which make them rent a little faster, but I don't get any extra money for them.  I would check with my insurance agent on the fire pit question to see if it's allowed or makes the insurance cost go up like it does on a fireplace.