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Real Estate Investors: Transitioning Between Leases

Published on Tuesday - January 28, 2014

Whether or not you inquire about your property or develop a rapport with your tenants, the majority of renters do not treat the respective property appropriately. Any amount of threats will essentially do you no good. Oftentimes, their definition of “clean and ready to move in” is not the same as yours. Thus, it is important that you get off on the right foot. Have your property in a presentable condition before any new tenants move in. Sometimes, this may only take a weekend, but others can go about it for a few weeks. However, before they move in, you need to spend an appropriate amount of time and money to make the property look right. The transition time between a lease is critical, make sure you use it to make the property look as good as possible.

If you get off on the wrong foot, you could be looking at an extended period of time dealing with headaches. In reality, it doesn’t take much to turn over the property from lease to lease, but it is critical that you do so accordingly. You may be forced to take a prorated rent for a month to do so, but that is nothing compared to dealing with an unhappy tenant. Your first step is to make sure the property is cleaned.

Even if you think you are a clean person, spend the money to have it professionally cleaned. Small items like the bathroom tub, the blinds or the stove will most likely be overlooked if you do it yourself. Spend the money and have the property looking exactly how you want it. After all, you probably promised your new tenant it would be in great condition. If there are any smells, be sure to deal with them immediately. The two biggest culprits are smokers or tenants with pets. These smells get in the walls and carpets. Those should be your next two items to focus on.

If you have carpets, you can get them steam cleaned. If you think the issue is bad enough, you can rip them up and clean under the rug. Bleach and water should get the job done. After removing the problem, add a form of repellant to prevent it from reoccurring. If you let odors linger, your tenant will quickly want to move out or you will have a tough time finding a new one. Staying motivated is critical to the transition between leases.

You can get a year, maybe two, out of a fresh coat of paint, but anything more than that may be pushing it. This holds true if you are using white or off white colors. You don’t need to have the house professionally painted, but a new coat of paint is usually necessary. If you focus on the floors, walls and overall cleanliness of the property, 90% of your work is already taken care of. From there, changing the locks and throwing down a new welcome mat is icing on the cake.

As a landlord, you always need to think about what your tenant wants and how they feel. If they move into a house that is not entirely clean or has an odor, they may not be as apt to pay you on time every month or to take care of the house the way you want. Taking care of the small things before they move in will go a long way.

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