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September 2, 2016

The time between one renter moving out and the next one moving in is prime for cleaning and improving the property. Statistics show that better maintained properties have lower vacancy rates than less maintained ones. It’s to your economic benefit to keep the property in great shape.

All buildings need regular maintenance, which includes cleaning, freshening and updating. Without it, you can ultimately lose part of your property’s peak value.

Here are five tips for cleaning and improvements while you are between renters.

1. Put Paint Here and There

Keep the walls fresh and appealing by painting them regularly. You may not need to paint every time a renter leaves. It depends on how long they rented and the condition of the walls. On average, walls should be painted every few years. If your renters were smokers or had young children who ran their hands along the walls, they may need to be painted more often.

When choosing colors, most rental properties stay on the lighter end of the spectrum. Light and bright colors like off-white or ivory make rooms look bigger, which tends to make a rental more desirable.

2. Redo the Kitchen and Bath Areas

If you haven’t realized it yet, kitchens and baths are impact rooms. When that updated and clean, they are the rooms that will attract the highest quality tenants. Kitchen and bath areas whose fixtures date from the 1980s or before definitely need to be updated.

With these rooms, you can go simple and update small fixtures, or replace larger fixtures such as the sink or appliances. Still wavering about that investment? On average, kitchen and bath models provide landlords with an 80 percent return on investment over five to 10 years.

3. Make Yours an Energy Star® Rental

Energy Star® is a designation given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appliances and other household items guaranteed to save energy.

The Energy Star® designation benefits you as the landlord in several ways. First, appliances such as dishwashers, washers and dryers are guaranteed to be the most energy efficient possible, saving money on electricity. Second, being environmentally conscious of energy choices is increasingly popular among the American public, particularly Millennials, who constitute a large part of the rental population. Do more than install Energy Star® devices: Make sure you publicize them!

Remember to consider other parts of a rental that can be replaced with Energy Star® devices. Doors are one example. An Energy Star® door will make sure your rental doesn’t losing heat in the winter or air-conditioned air in the summer. A good test for this requires a visit to your rental. If the door sticks on hot, humid days, it is most likely leaking air on cold days. If this happens at your rental, it’s time for a replacement!

4. Heighten the Curbside Appeal

The front of your rental is the first thing prospective renters see. They are drawn to a pleasant space — it even creates a positive impression about the interior.

Make sure the curbside appeal is enticing. Paint the exterior. For example, paint the front door a deep, rich, welcoming red. Place inexpensive window boxes with flowering plants in the windows. Make sure lawns are trimmed and mowed when potential renters visit the property.

5. Clean and Then Clean More

A clean and sparkling rental is another element that attracts high-quality tenants. As part of your rental agreement, your tenants should clean thoroughly before they leave, but you should clean after each tenant as well. Some tenants do a better job than others, and most won’t do a deep cleaning of floors, walls or common areas before they leave.

When one tenant leaves and before another arrives, use the time to deep clean. Mop floors, clean walls and steam clean the carpets. Thoroughly clean any furniture that stays in your rentals. Clean any common areas, like hallways or laundry rooms, as well as the windows.

The time between one renter and another is a great time to clean and improve your property. It will draw renters to you, lessen vacancy times and make sure your property retains its value.

This article was written exclusively for Rentometer by Megan Wild 

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