You may think that selling a rental home is just like selling any other home. The rental home is move-in ready so you’re good to go. But this is not always the case. 

When selling a rent ready home you need to bring your A-game and jump through a few more hoops.

Disclaimer: This blog post and website provides general information on Maryland real estate. Maryland Estates, LLC, doing business as Creo Home Buyers, and its authors are not liable for the accuracy or use of this information; consult with a trusted real estate professional or attorney for guidance regarding your unique selling situation.

What Does Selling “Rent Ready” Mean? 

Selling a rent-ready home means the new owner can rent the property to a tenant right away. No work or final touches are needed at all.. 

A turnkey home not just for the owner but a new tenant. And there is a bit more involved in making sure a home is ready to rent. Basic move-in ready standards are not enough.

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Why Having a Rent-Ready House for Landlords and Tenants is Important

From the moment the tenant sees the house for the first time it needs to be rent-ready. This is important for both the tenant and the landlord because itshows the tenant that the landlord is serious and takes pride in the property. This builds confidence that the landlord will treat the tenant with the same respect. 

When the tenant sees the house in excellent condition they are more likely to keep it that way. They are less likely to trash the place and skip out on the last few months of rent, because they’lll want that security deposit back when they move out.. 

This means when the time comes to find a new tenant the landlord won’t have to spend as much time and money on tenant turn-over. After some fresh paint and cleaning the rental will be ready and a tenant can move in right away. We all know that a vacant rental property doesn’t do you any good as a landlord. So a quicker turnover is always desirable.  

Characteristics of a Rent-Ready House

Clean and Well-Maintained

The house needs to be clean and well-maintained. You are going to need more than a broom and a vacuum cleaner to do the job properly.

Hire a professional cleaner to get the job done right. It will be some of the best $35/hour you’ve ever spent. A professional will get rid of all the traces of the former occupants. Messes and smells and all. 

Carpets are notorious for holding on to old smells. Professional cleaners will take care of that for you. Bathrooms and kitchens both need to look like you could eat off the countertops.

Even with a rent-ready house, tenants are not likely to leave the home in better shape than they found it. They are however, less likely to trash something that was provided to them in tiptop shape. 

If you were selling a “move-in ready” home some damage to the paint on the walls would be par for the course. Most new owners don’t expect things to be perfect and they may want to paint the walls themselves anyway. 

With a rent-ready home you really need a fresh coat of paint on the walls. If the tenants see a scuff here and a scratch there then they aren’t going to worry about adding a few more. And when the time comes for them to move out they can say “hey, the paint was messed up when we moved in.”  And they would be right. 

Functional Utilities and Appliances

You really need all the appliances and utilities in good working order. When you are selling a move-in ready home you need these in place as well. But with rent-ready you need another level of polish. 

You can’t have a broken knob on the stove or a light switch that only works sometimes. . An outlet that doesn’t work in the basement is a bigger deal for rentals. 

All the HVAC equipment needs to be in complete working order. If your renters move in in the summer and find out the heat doesn’t work well in the winter, that’s a problem. The landlord is going to get a call at 2 am with some unhappy tenants. 

In Baltimore there is actually a minimum temperature law. This means that the residential areas of the house must be at least 70F in cold weather and no more than 80F in hot weather. So you could be facing fines as well if this is not met.  

If you have a garbage disposal, it needs to work. If not, it needs to be removed or replaced. The washer and dryer need to both wash and dry. With a move-in ready home you can get away with a dryer that takes an extra half-cycle to dry your clothes. With a rental that might not dry, I mean fly.  

Everything needs to work and should be in good shape aesthetically. If not, that means the house is not rent-ready.

Safety Features in Place

Safety features are a big part of a house being rent-ready. If the house isn’t safe then you as a landlord landlord can be held liable if something goes wrong. 

You might be surprised to hear that many owners/sellers tend to overlook safety features. Many sellers label these as low cost or low impact items. Meaning that safety features tend to not be expensive but do not add much value either. 

Don’t be one of those sellers. Make sure you take care of as many safety features as possible. Things like: 

  • Smoke Alarms
  • CO2 Alarms
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Guard railings
  • Walkways
  • New Locks
  • Structure Issues
  • Ingress or Egress

This list is not meant to be exhaustive. We have a good variety coveredbut you will want to know what the rental laws are for your market. In Baltimore there is a code for Essential Services that a landlord must provide. Many of these are related to the tenant being safe. Not providing these services is a misdemeanor and can result in a fine for you as the landlord. 

Benefits of Rent-Ready Houses

Attracting High-Quality Tenants

Rent-ready homes attract high-quality renters. Tenants that will pay the rent on time and keep the property in good condition. This will make your renting experience much smoother. As well as your transition periods. 

Minimizing Vacancy Rates

A vacant rental doesn’t make any money. In fact, it costs money. All landlords want their rentals occupied, with very little turnover. Keeping the house rent-ready at all times helps with that. Buying a rent ready property means the investor is more likely to get a good tenant in the home as soon as possible. Saving them a lot of time and money on tenant turnover.

Increasing Rental Income

The nicer the property is the more you can charge in rent. That’s kind of just the way it goes with these types of investments. Your market will make a huge impact on this as well. Those high-quality tenants you’re attracting are willing to pay more for quality. 

Preserving the Value of the Property

Falling into disrepair is never good for a property’s value. If you can keep the property ready to rent you are ahead of the game. The property is more likely to retain its value or even go up in value.  

Tips for Making a House Rent-Ready

Conducting a Thorough Inspection

Make sure you conduct a thorough inspection of the property. You should get yourself a checklist together and take good notes. Don’t think, I’ll remember to do this or that. You will forget. A checklist and notes will ensure you get everything you need done, done. 

Addressing Any Necessary Repairs or Maintenance

Try to take care of repairs and maintenance as soon as you find the issue. This will prevent those issues from getting worse and becoming more costly to fix. You don’t want potential buyers coming by and noticing repairs that you knew you should have taken care of. 

Updating the Property for Modern Preferences

Sometimes homes with older features can be charming. However, usually if you are looking to sell a rent-ready home that’s not the charm most buyers are looking for. Most renters want updated homes, and that’s what buyers want too. There will be other properties in the area with a modern look and feel. Take some time and make those updates. You will be rewarded in the end by a quicker home sale. 

Cleaning and Staging the Home for Showings

You can stage the home and give the buyer an idea of what their rental could look like. Sometimes buyers will want to buy the home as it is, with the staging furniture and all. A buyer won’t want a dirty rental if it’s advertised as being rent-ready. A stager is not likely to work with a dirty house either. 

Conclusion

It’s important to remember move-in ready and rent-ready are not the same. There is plenty of crossover for sure. But a rent-ready home is held to a slightly higher standard. 

For that reason, selling a rent-ready home can yield some great results. Buyers looking for rental properties will have most of the work done for them. And they will be willing to pay for that privilege.

If you’re looking to sell your Baltimore rental home fast whether it’s rent-ready or not, why not request a free cash offer from Creo Home Buyers? We pay cash for rental houses AS-IS in Baltimore and throughout Maryland, Washington DC, and Northern Virginia.

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