As of today, it is official. The calendar has spoken. Today, March 19th, despite the conflicting messages from the weather, is the first day of Spring. Easter, the greatest feast in the Gregorian calendar, is less than two weeks away. It is finally Spring.

Warm weather has been sorely missed and we’re all happy to see it return, but it will come with new challenges: increased vacancies as tenants give notice and prepare to move, empty units, and a yard that is flourishing just a little too much.

The pace of society picks up in the spring. For those homes that are student housing, tenants are preparing to move or looking to sign a new lease for the upcoming year. Families are more likely to move towards the end of spring and the beginning of summer. Everyone feels more motivated when it is warm and sunny, or even warm and rainy as we experience more frequently, as opposed to wet, cold, and soggy.

It is time to prepare for vacancies and property turnovers.

The Importance of Curb Appeal

It is of crucial importance for the interior of a home to be pristine and spotless. Not only is it difficult to rent a dirty or dingy home, but it is very difficult to complete an accurate deposit accounting after move-out if the condition on move-in was not absolutely perfect, as far as the condition of the home allows. The accounting will descend into irate verbal sparing where each party remembers differently, even if you have all of the documentation. 

Of nearly equal importance to the conditon of the interior is the state of the exterior. The front of the home is the first thing seen by prospective tenants. It is usually the first picture on the online listing. Applicants look at innumerable houses when searching for a home, half of which they do not remember clearly. A well-maintained exterior can be that special ingredient that helps your property stand out from the many others populating the market.

There are three different landlords when it comes to the exterior of the home.

Landlord no.1 –

Looks great!

The house has not been painting in twenty years. It is faded, cracked, and peeling. The yard is either half dead or hasn’t been mowed recently and is mostly weeds, not grass. There is no longer any bark in the flower beds and the plants are dead, dying, or growing out of control. But it looks great.

Landlord no.2 –

I must rehaul the entire exterior. It looks terrible.

There is such a thing as taking it too far. Your house needs to be in good repair, the exterior needs to be clean and neat. It does not need to resemble an English garden with exquisitely manicured shrubbery. In fact, if you take it too far, especially in regards to the plants in the flowerbeds, it will discourage prospective tenants. They don’t want to move-in and take over a complicated landscaping routine. Unless you are planning on providing professional landscaping as a lease perk, keep the exterior simple and neat.

Landlord no.3 –

The right attitude falls somewhere between the two previously listed. There are very few homes where nothing needs to be done and very few homes where everything needs to be done. The majority of landlords, thankfully, are no. 3.

We recommend starting by taking simple step back and looking at the home. Look at the home and ask what can be changed, what should be changed, and what needs to be changed. Most homes would be drastically improved by a few simple steps:

  • Mow the lawn;
  • Edge the flowerbeds;
  • Weed and rake flowerbeds;
  • Trim any bushes; and, if needed,
  • New bark for flowerbeds.

Some homes may require a little more. If it has been a while and the paint is peeling or will be soon, then by all means, schedule a time to have the house painted. Maybe it doesn’t need painting yet, but it is looking dingy. Time to see about pressure washing the home. If the front door is dirty or banged up, either have it painted or replaced, depending on the condition.

It is important to keep the exterior of your rental neat, clean, and attractive. Luckily, it isn’t hard to accomplish. We recommend that all landlords adopt Empire’s golden maxim.

It’s easier to keep up than to catch up.

Happy Landlording!