They say you only get one opportunity to make a good first impression, so you want to make it count. The same is true for your rental property; don’t think it matters because “it’s just for a rental?” I can tell you first hand it does! I am currently in the process of moving and will be renting out my own personal house (through Power Properties of course). I managed to rent my house for the price I wanted, to the first person who viewed it. The tenants even remarked how well kept the house looked. Keep in mind I have a full household with two children under seven, and an “enthusiastic” dog, so my house is well “loved.” How did I do it? I followed the recommendations below:

 Curb Appeal:

It starts before they even get out of the car. Most prospective renters will do a “drive-by” on a property before they book a showing. So a clean driveway, a freshly mown weed free lawn, trimmed hedges, and blooming flowers will work wonders.

Do a critical inspection of the exterior of your property, paying special attention to the condition of your windows, shutters, screens and gutters. One of the first things a tenant will notice is the need for painting. If your property looks like it needs painting, many tenants will form an unfavorable impression. Elsewhere, little things count. Make sure the front door is spotless, including the doorknob, and that the windows gleam.

 Cleanliness Counts:

Once inside your property, one of the key factors that influences its appeal to a tenant is cleanliness. Most important is the front hallway, the kitchen and the bathrooms. Do a room-by-room cleaning, and don’t forget any out-of-sight areas, because that’s often where a discriminating tenant will look first.

The state of the carpets can also be a determining factor. At the very least make sure they are freshly vacuumed, ideally have them professionally cleaned, and if they are at the end of their life, replace them (it’s a tax write off).

 Less is More:

Clutter makes a poor impression. In closets, cabinets, kitchen countertops and other storage areas like basements, remove anything not needed for daily housekeeping. To make each room in your property look larger, get rid of or donate unnecessary furniture. Walk through your property and think: “Less is more.”

 Repairs:

Make sure everything is in good working order. Dripping faucets, squeaky steps and loose doorknobs can easily create a bad impression and reduce the value of your property. A few hours spent on repairs, whether by yourself or a tradesman, can pay big dividends in terms of getting top rental dollar for your property.

 All the Small Things:

It’s easy to improve the appearance of any room. You may want to replace worn rugs or small pillows, put new towels in the bathroom or brighten up a room with a vase of flowers.

 Follow Your Nose:

Smell plays a big role too; if your house smells of chicken vindaloo, wet dog, cat litterbox, or last night’s “all dressed” pizza, it can be a big turn off for prospective tenants. Make sure to remove the source of the offending odor, don’t just mask it. We baked a fresh batch of cookies and burned vanilla scented candles for about thirty minutes prior to the showing, but then removed the candles for the showing, giving the house a warm comforting scent. At the very least your house should smell clean. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use the plug-in air fresheners, these generally smell very artificial, and can be overpowering.

 Pull Together:

Get all the members of your household to pull together when it comes to getting – and keeping – your property ready to view. By getting everyone into the habit of spending a few minutes tidying up every morning for an afternoon showing, you improve your chances of renting your property considerably.

 If you are not doing these things, know that your competition is, and tenants will choose accordingly.