Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prepping an Apartment for Rent - Views of a Landlord

In the comments of a post from last week Esperanza said that, as a renter herself, she would be interested in hearing more about the rental process from a landlord’s perspective. I am happy to do that! Since I have an apartment that needs renting right now, I will be sure to write about the process as I go through it.

When it comes to apartments, my feeling is “Better rental = better tenant.” It is just that simple. If a person rents an apartment that is beat up or dirty, what reason do they have to take care of it? If the owner of the unit doesn’t care enough about it to keep it looking nice, why should the tenant? I know there are lots of slumlords out there who have different goals for their properties, but that is not the kind of person I am. Plus, from a business perspective - I don’t want the hassles that come with renting to people who are likely to destroy their apartment or people I need to evict. This apartment is in my own home, I want it to be a lovely place for someone to live - a place they can take pride in. My own conscience will not allow me to rent out a place that I wouldn’t be willing to live in myself.

So to that, whenever a tenant moves out, I take that as an opportunity to do some home improvement. My ex husband owned another home that had three rental units in it, and over the years we rebuilt bathrooms, re-tiled floors, had carpet re-stretched, added heating units, new windows, light fixtures and kitchen cabinets and of course, painted. My rental is actually in beautiful condition for the most part. The last tenant did a great job cleaning, and in my opinion, it is pretty much “renter ready.” However, since I don’t have anyone in it, this is a great chance to get a few things done...

The apartment is built out of a portion of the second floor of my home. The tenant has their own separate entrance from the front, and once you go through the door, you immediately go up the stairs. At the top of the stairwell is a small foyer area. This section was painted “apartment beige” and had gotten a bit beat up over the years from people moving in and so on. Also, there were some small pieces of trim that were broken and not looking their best.

The other area that needed love was the kitchen. I had put new cabinets in it a few years ago, but now the walls needed some TLC. For one thing, they were painted screaming “Georgia peach.” I mean, it was so peach it was nearly fluorescent. (I obviously, had not picked out the color - it was there when I bought the house.) Over time some cracks had developed in the plaster, so the walls needed some repair work and a fresh coat of a more neutral paint color.

Most of this is work I could have done myself, though honestly I wasn’t too keen on tackling the entryway molding. Since I was so busy this month, I decided to take the “easy” way out and hire someone to do it. The same gentleman who did the exterior paint on my home is working on it now. I would actually love to repaint the bathroom and the bedroom too, just to freshen them up, but neither is so bad that I have to do it. It will entirely depend on my time and my energy level. If I do decide to do these rooms, I will probably do them myself with the help of some friends and family - since they don’t need anything but paint, they’re projects that could be done in a weekend.

I will be taking a ton photos of the apartment for my advertisements, when I do, I will make sure to post some of the photos! I'll also keep writing about each step of the landlord process as it happens.

Photo by: Clarous Maximus
Via flickr

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