If you want to sell or rent a property, you have to make it look good. While cleaning between tenants is a no-brainer, there are additional considerations to take into account when staging a property for viewing.
- Come to an arrangement with current tenants
Ideally, you would be able to show an empty apartment or home with no tenants. But that is only an ideal. In today’s competitive rental market, waiting until a tenant moves out to show the property can easily lose you at least one month of rental income. Showing with tenants in place is the reality for most property owners.
The best way to handle this is to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with your tenant and lay out what you want to do in terms of repairs, cleaning and everything else. Offer to pay for a hotel for a weekend if you want to arrange showings – anything they need to do in order to help you rent or sell the property that makes financial sense. Often, all it takes is a conversation. Most people are agreeable and will want to help you out, especially if you’ve been a good landlord for a number of years. Arrange a showing schedule with them in advance, and give it to them in writing beforehand so there is no confusion.
- Cleanliness is #1
The next most important consideration after getting buy-in from current tenants is cleanliness. If you are willing to spend $200 to detail a used car before you sell it, why wouldn’t you hire a cleaning company to do a deep clean of your property before you sell or rent it? Dust, dirt and cobwebs are all huge turn offs for prospective tenants and buyers. Get carpets steam-cleaned, make sure appliances such as ovens and fridges are completely spotless, and make bathrooms shine. Make sure nothing is missed – windows, window sills, garages – make sure it is all clean.
If your property has a yard, you may want to hire a landscaping or lawn maintenance company to come in and do an outdoor cleanup if you are showing the property from spring to fall. In winter, make sure all walkways and decks are cleared for a good view of the yard and the safety of your prospective tenants and buyers.
If you do nothing else, make sure your property gets a deep clean. People don’t realize how far this will go.
- Staging is all in the details
If you are lucky enough to be dealing with an empty property, staging it yourself is not rocket science. Avoid bulky furniture as it can just clutter up a room and make it look smaller – you want each room to look like a blank canvas – all you want are accent pieces. Small details such as nice linens in the bathroom, little flowers in the kitchen, paintings on the walls and accent pieces will warm up the property, and this will only cost you a few hundred dollars.
Of course, this only applies if you have a regular-sized apartment or home. Once you start getting up into a home over 3000 square feet, larger rooms will require furniture. But you’ll want to be sure to do it right – we’ve seen an unmade bed in a property selling for $6 Million. Details like that can lose you a very important sale.
- Only hire a staging company for high-end properties
Staging companies are very expensive. You can do it yourself and save thousands of dollars – unless you are selling or renting out a high-value property. In that case, it is worth the money for a professional staging company if you don’t have the time or skill set to do it yourself. When hiring a stager, ask for referrals that you can speak to on the phone, as well as pictures of properties that they have done. Ideally, you’ll be able to visit a property that they have staged as well. As with anything else, there are good and bad staging companies out there, and you don’t want to waste your money.
- Upgrade and repair anything that needs it
Flooring and light fixtures are two key areas that may need upgrading before you rent or sell a property. If carpets need replacing, replace them or put down laminate flooring. Repair anything obvious, such as chips in handrails, broken door handles, or worn-looking light switches. Highgate has a team that will do all of this for you, and of course we will help you sell, buy or rent your property as well.
- Have friends do a walkthrough
Before you unleash the property on the buying public, have your friends over to do a walkthrough – preferably your most critical friends. They’ll point out obvious flaws, items that still need to be repaired and if they would be encouraged to sell or rent based on the appearance of the property.
It is possible to stage a regular property to sell or rent without going too deep into your pockets to make it happen. Just pay attention to the details and make sure it’s clean before your showing.