Are you thinking of renting out your home? If you are, it can be a great way to build wealth and diversify your investment portfolio!
Before you do, however, you must first make sure your home is ready to rent. When preparing for this, one of the key elements is the replacement of certain items in your home. Overlooking important repairs can make prospective tenants turn away from your property, and that’s the last thing you’d want as an investor.
The following are 5 items to replace before renting out your home:
1. Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
As a landlord, you’ll be responsible for the safety of your tenants. As such, this means you should ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in top working condition and are installed in locations within the home for compliance with local building codes.
The first thing you should do is change the batteries. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, batteries in a smoke alarm should be changed every 6 months. Go for lithium-ion batteries as they are longer-lasting. In fact, they can even last up to a decade! Most of the smoke and carbon detectors available for purchase today are already equipped with 10-year lithium battery that lasts the life of the alarm.
Also, you may want to replace the entire device if it has passed its product lifespan. Carbon monoxide detectors usually wear out in 5 to 7 years, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. As for smoke detectors, the lifespan is usually about 8 to 10 years. Most alarms will have the date for when it was manufactured inside the device.
As already mentioned, the safety of your tenants is paramount. The California Warranty of Habitability sets minimum standards that rental units must meet.
So, whether you’re renting your property for the first time or are replacing a tenant, you should ensure that locks on all major doors are either replaced or rekeyed. You don’t want to take security lightly, even if those with previous access to the unit are trusted. Also, from a practical standpoint, most prospective tenants will ask for this to be done before they move into the property.
3. Light Fixtures
Every time you make a light bulb replacement, keep track of it. The last thing you want is for a few bulbs to go out just after a tenant moves in.
Generally, tenants bear the responsibility of replacing burnt-out bulbs in their units. However, it’s always the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that their unit has functioning lights when the tenant is first moving in.
So, go around the home and check to see whether all light fixtures are working as they should. This should include all light bulbs and switches. Replace all flickering or burnt-out bulbs, as well as malfunctioning light switches.
4. HVAC Filters
Failing to replace the HVAC air filter on time can stress the HVAC system, reduce its life, and perhaps even make it fail. A dirty air filter won’t be able to provide for proper air flow and will let in dust and contaminants. When dust gets in, it’ll jam the moving parts of the HVAC, such as valves and motors.
As you probably know, replacing the whole unit can cost an arm and a leg. According to Forbes, the cost of a new unit can range anywhere between $4,850 and $9,400.
Generally, the responsibility to change air filters is that of your tenant. The only exception is when they are first moving in, as that responsibility is solely placed on the landlord.
5. Garbage Disposal
If you want to keep maintenance calls minimal, then garbage disposal is also something that you’ll need to ensure is working properly.
A jammed garbage disposal is a common maintenance call to expect when renting out your home. But this is usually an easy fix if you have given your tenant some instructions.
Most garbage disposals come with a small “hex wrench” that is helpful when it becomes jammed. However, this wrench can get lost, or the previous tenant can move out with it, so make sure that you’ve replaced it prior to renting out your home. It should only cost you around $10.
The Importance of Cleaning
Yes, replacing items in your home before renting it out is a vital task, but you shouldn’t do this without consideration of the cleanliness of your property. The last thing you want is to put a new wrench in a dirty garbage disposal, for example.
You’ll want to ensure your property is clean as a whistle before renting it out. Even if your previous tenants left it in a good state of cleanliness, you’ll still need it professionally cleaned before a new tenant can move in. This can also help reveal further things that may need replacing or repairs, given that a deep clean access every corner of your rental property.
Setting a high standard before the new tenant moves in will also set high expectations for your tenant. They will be compelled to maintain it up to those standards. You may also have a right to make appropriate deductions to their deposit should they vacate it without keeping it up to the same standard.
Other Rental Unit Considerations
Besides the elements we’ve listed above, you’ll also want to check other items such as:
Appliances. Before renting out your property, make sure that all appliances are functioning properly. You may even want to spend a little extra time inspecting and servicing major appliances just to extend their usefulness. After all, replacing big-ticket items can cost a great deal
Windows. Make sure that all windows in your home are opening smoothly. Are locks operating smoothly? Are there broken screens?
It’s in your best interest to ensure that everything in your property is working as it should before lease signing.
The Final Walk-Through
You’ll also want to do a walk-through of the property. The following are some things you should do at this time:
Check under sinks and in closets for signs of any rodents or insects
Check the walls for peeling paint, cracks, or stains. Are there any marks or discoloration on the walls?
Pay attention to the flooring. Does the carpet have any stains or odors?
Pay attention to signs of water damage on the floor and ceiling. Signs of water damage include leaking water, wall stains, musty odors, and peeling paint
Do all the outlets work? Use your phone charger to test them out
You want your tenant to find your property in its best condition. This will show them that you care for your unit and can be an incentive for them to do the same. Replacing necessary items in your rental unit is the first step!
If you need any help making your San Diego investment property rent-ready, contact North County Property Group today! Our professional staff would be pleased to speak to you about how we can help your investment succeed.