Spring has finally arrived.  Those of us here in Oregon are still having to put up with some cold and rain between the intermediate sunny days. But all the same, spring is here. Consequently, those tenants that need to move are starting to look around for their next home. It is time to start planning for vacancies and property turnovers.

The Importance of Curb Appeal

The inside of the house is never forgotten. Everyone is aware that tenants are reluctant to move into a place that has someone else’s dirt in it or is hammered. Property managers and owners go out of their way to make sure that the inside is perfect. But the outside is just as important, if not more so.

The first thing normally seen by prospective tenants is the outside of the home. It is that deciding factor that determines if they stop for a second look, or move on to the next property down the list. 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 types of people when it comes to curb appeal. Three different ways of looking at it.

1. Yup, looks great. 

This house may not have been painted in years, the lawn needs mowing, and half of the plants in the flowerbeds are dead or dying. But this landlord is immensely proud of their rental and can’t see anything that needs changing.

2. Oh, it looks terrible! Everything needs to be changed. 

Some landlords understand the importance of having their home appear inviting and lovely from the street, but they take it a little too far. Just as it is extremely rare to have a home where nothing needs work, it is also very rare to have a home where everything needs work.

3. It could use a little work. 

There are very few homes where everything needs to be done, and very few where everything has to be done. The majority of landlords understand this and fall into category three. There are a lot of things you could change about the home, but will it help the curb appeal? That is the secret to balancing between the two extremes.

Here at Empire, we recommend starting by taking a step back. You might not see anything if you are standing on the front porch or in the flowerbeds, but if you move back to the curb and try again-… Now you look at it, and you ask, what needs to be changed? Not what can be changed, but what needs to be changed.

Most of the time, it is fairly simple. The lawn needs mowing, flowerbeds edging and raked, etc. The recent torrents of rain we experienced lately in Oregon, plus the warmer weather, has everyone’s lawn and flowerbeds slightly out of control.

Others changes can be:
  • Bushes need trimming
  • House needs painting
  • The front door is dirty and banged up
  • Flowerbeds can use some fresh bark
  • House needs pressure washing

Raking and blowing out the flowerbeds and yards will go a long way towards freshening up the outside appearance of your rental. And after it is cleaned up, you can move into actively improving.

Tenants don’t like fancy flowerbeds filled with all sorts of lovely flowers. It looks charming from a distance but is more than a little intimidating up close. Very few of them will like the idea of maintaining that during their tenancy. They also don’t like flowerbeds that are completely empty except for a few dying shrubs. Replacing the bark or mulch if needed and establishing a few attractive, resilient, and low maintenance plants will do wonders towards helping enhance your curb appeal.

Keeping the outside of your rental clean and attractive is important, but it isn’t difficult. The secret is what we at Empire consider to be the golden rule of property management. “It’s easier to keep up than to catch up.”

Happy Landlording!