Maintain Your Property
Most agents will not show properties which are in generally poor condition, and most customers won't be interested in renting a place which an owner apparently is not willing to maintain. If you wait for a renter before doing any maintenance, you may never get that renter.
"Better sooner than later" applies here -- it will cost you the same, but income will start coming in a lot sooner and add up quickly.
There are some exceptions. For a simple example, after one tenant moves out, you may want to wait before changing wallpaper or painting the bedroom walls because the next tenant might prefer a different color of paint or style of wallpaper ... or painted instead of wallpaper.
Nevertheless, it is important to show that you are serious about maintaining the property by doing all upkeep which will be required by all new tenants before agents show the property, such as the outdoor gardening, and repairing damaged items such as broken doors, faulty air conditioners and appliances which all tenants will need.
However, buying new appliances and fixing furniture would be at the risk of whether or not the next tenant wants those items.
You should explain to the agent what you are thinking, so that the agent can explain it to the customers, as well as understand it themselves. The agent may also be able to give you some expert advice.
If somebody has just moved out of the property and it looks presentable, then you may be able to wait to change the paint or wallpaper. However, if it looks awful then you should at least remove the ugly wallpaper to show renovations have started. No wallpaper looks better than decayed wallpaper, for example, and you are showing a commitment to renovation.
Two of the most important things to renters are the kitchen and the bathrooms.
For bathrooms, the toilets should be clean, worn out seats / lids replaced, taps in good condition, and the grout (mortar, caulk) between tiles and around the edges should be scrubbed clean or else regrouted. The bathrooms need to be clean and refreshing.
Kitchens are a bit more complicated, and tenants' needs and preferences vary, depending upon their degree of interest in cooking, extent of dependency on a maid, and preferences for eating out at restaurants versus home cooking. Houses and large flats should have a kitchen with adequate shelves for both shelved foods and plates/glasses/bowls/etc. Many tenants like an "island" or table in the center, in case you have a large kitchen with adequate central space.
It can be risky to furnish a house too much, because many tenants bring their own furniture and some appliances, and may not like the style of what you provide, possibly requesting that it be removed. It is important that you state your willingness to add or remove items.
Normally, the customer will have some requests as part of the negotiated price. When a customer states a serious interest in closing on a property, we first require that they make a complete list of requests, for example, add a dishwasher, remove a bed, replace a damaged mosquito screen door, etc. You can grant or deny particular items on their request list. These will all normally impact the rental price in negotiations.
At issue to tenants and agents is (1) whether the property will be ready to specifications when it is time for them to move in, and (2) if anything fails, whether the landlord will fix things promptly to a decent standard of quality after the tenant has moved in. It is normal for the agent to call you and visit the property to check on things before the tenant moves in. A good attitude also affects the tenant's happiness and whether the tenant renews at the end of the lease, as well as whether the agent shows the property again after the tenant moves out.
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