The last winter weather rolled through town, and now spring weather is here. Before rental property owners can enjoy the sunshine, they should thoroughly clean their unit so it’s ready for the next tenant.
If you’ve decided to get help from an agent (and save on letting agent fees), these tips are essential at bringing in new tenants or guests.
Whether they’ll live there long term or book it for a vacation, they’ll have incredible experiences if you take these steps to prepare the property.
1. Start With the Garden
First impressions are everything, especially for rental properties. Your tenants may book a visit or a tour if they find it visually appealing. Spring cleaning your rental starts with the garden because it’s what impresses people and invites them inside.
Pick up debris left behind by recent rain and make sure your sprinkler system functions properly. Assess if you should lay sod in areas affected by winter runoff. You can also cover the basics by:
- Mowing the lawn
- Clearing the driveway
- Trimming the bushes
Finish your garden care by scheduling a landscaping team through the summer. They’ll make a significant difference in your property’s success by preventing it from becoming messy after summer rain.
2. Check the Roof
Your roof can withstand many years of weathering, but sometimes damage occurs. Ice, snow and rain can warp the shingles and cause leaks. The shingles may have absorbed some of that water and held onto it, leading to mold growth that ruins your roof’s integrity.
Stepping back to the curb is one way to inspect your roof, but you should also get a closer look. It’s better to catch damage when it’s only begun. Call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable climbing a ladder so they can recommend any necessary repairs.
3. Clean the Windows
Most people take windows for granted. Pull aside the blinds and inspect any dirt keeping your guests or tenants from enjoying the view. You might find spiders behind the mesh or residue on the glass.
Buildup is more common than you might think. It occurs when water droplets containing minerals dry and form chalky white deposits that result in a hazy film. If left untreated, it can be challenging to remove water spots. Get started on them right away so your windows look pristine for the rest of the season.
4. Pressure-Wash the Driveway
A clean driveway is an essential part of making your property ready for summer. Sweeping increases your rental home’s curb appeal, but not if there are hidden problems beneath the debris. Rent a pressure washer to naturally remove stains left behind by leaking car oil, mold or dirt. It doesn’t require previous experience because it’s easier to learn. Spend a few minutes pressure-washing and your driveway will look like new.
5. Plant Spring Flowers
Landscaping transforms a rental property into a place tenants can be proud to live in. Mowing the lawn and weeding are significant first steps, but you can speed things up by planting spring flowers. Find a local garden store and get a few planters already in bloom. They’ll quickly take root around your house, mailbox and other yard features.
A pop of color attracts new renters and keeps current tenants happy. It only takes one afternoon to do, but it’s a crucial step. There’s no better way to celebrate spring than with fresh flowers.
6. Clean the Floors
Clean floors make a home look years younger. It’s something people forget to do because they’re busy keeping up with other parts of the house, like the bathrooms and kitchen. Polishing hardwood floors and deep cleaning carpets gives any property a fresh start for the season.
It also removes any lingering odors from pets or previous tenants. It’s more expensive to replace the flooring than it is to clean it, so add a little mopping, vacuuming and washing to your spring cleaning list to maintain the quality of your rental property.
7. Wipe the Walls
Walls are another part of the house that people forget to clean. Even though they don’t get as visibly dirty as a moldy sink or bathtub, they still collect bacteria. Wipe down the walls to remove dust from the baseboards and fixtures. You’ll get rid of bacteria and germs that could result in mold or airborne viruses.
Landlords can also remove scuffs between renters. Scratch marks might occur when people bump suitcases or furniture into hallways or door frames. A quick cleaning and a possible paint job will have your rental looking good as new.
8. Look Into Pesticides
Everyone wants to spend more time outside when the weather shifts from winter to spring. The warm sunshine is relaxing and refreshing, but humans aren’t the only ones to feel this way. Pests will also crawl out of where they hid during the winter. Landlords should add pesticides to their spring cleaning list even if there isn’t a bug problem on their property yet.
Renters could find ants marching through their kitchen or cockroaches searching for food in their pantry. Spraying the house’s foundation and inside any doors and windows keeps bugs out when they return from hibernation.
9. Spray the Porch
Porches are a great place to relax. They’re inviting, offer fresh air and give renters a different place to hang out after a long winter indoors. People will want to sit outside with their morning coffee or evening meal, but not if their porch is a mess.
Spring clean open and covered porches so more of the property is accessible to visitors or tenants. Use a hose to spray any pollen off the floors and rinse cobwebs away from corners. Repeat as needed during allergen season to keep the place clean.
10. Replace Old Lightbulbs
If you rent to long-term tenants that sign a lease for six months or more, they’re in charge of replacing lightbulbs in their lamps. However, it’s wise to check the bulbs in permanent fixtures. Ceiling lights and outdoor floods aren’t the tenant’s responsibility, and they may need to be replaced after a long winter of constant use in low-light months.
Schedule an inspection with any current tenants and ask them if any lights currently flicker or have stopped working. This preventive maintenance keeps bulbs from dying when people need them the most.
11. Inspect Your HVAC Unit
HVAC units should last at least a decade, but that’s only if they’re consistently in suitable environments. Snowmelt and mud buildup can get into the unit’s vents after winter weather. Rust and debris keep the fans from working correctly, drawing on more electricity or breaking the system altogether.
Anyone can inspect their HVAC unit for visible problems. Wipe away or remove whatever shouldn’t be there or schedule an inspection with a professional. You’ll ensure the system works through the hot summer months and your renters stay comfortable. It will also prevent a costly replacement before you get more than a few years out of the unit you already paid so much to install.
12. Apply New Caulking
While you’re cleaning water spots off your windows, look closely at the caulking. It may also line the inner panes on older windows. It can peel or crack due to weathering like freezing and thawing or intense direct sunlight.
Caulking is available at most home improvement stores and only takes a few minutes to apply. As long as it has time to dry before your next spring rain shower, it will prevent air leaks that make electricity bills skyrocket.
Air can seep into leaks and heat your rental home during the summer. The HVAC unit will turn on more frequently to constantly cool overheated rooms, making it more expensive for landlords or long-term renters to pay for. Cold air will do the same thing with your heating system in the winter, so it’s a smart thing to check while you’re spring cleaning.
13. Look at the Fire Extinguisher
People often forget to check their fire extinguisher, but landlords can’t let this quick step slip their minds. Although there may not be an expiration date on the can, they only last around a decade if kept in the right conditions. Property owners are legally required to have a working extinguisher in their rentals, so it doesn’t hurt to double-check it during spring cleaning.
There are a few reasons you should replace your fire extinguisher beyond its production or expiration date. If the pressure gauge needle doesn’t work, the pin is missing or the can has dents, it’s time for a new one.
The pressurized chemicals could explode if the can doesn’t have working parts or has been damaged. It’s safer for everyone to check and replace the extinguisher during your spring cleaning routine.
14. Call a Pest Inspector
Rodents or small animals who may have found winter shelter in your crawl space will become more active in the warm weather. Don’t wait until renters discover a raccoon digging through their trash cans to call a pest inspector.
They should look around your home’s foundation for any noticeable damage and search the crawlspace or basement. Spraying for rodents under your house and around the property will keep smaller animals away.
It also gives you a proactive solution to landscaping problems like moles, which you might not catch until they’ve dug disruptive tunnels under your lawn.
15. Empty the Gutters
Gutters are another thing that’s often overlooked. Leaves, pine straw and sticks will fill them after the trees bloom and withstand strong winds. If you don’t remove the clogs, water will spill out instead of filtering through the drainage spouts. It could cause erosion damage around your foundation that leads to cracks and costly repairs.
The water may also cause flooding that runs your landscaping and prevents nutrient-rich soil from helping plants regrow.
Investing in a ladder and spending an hour on your gutters will save you from paying for repairs down the road. It’s best to do it before the rainiest seasons in your area, which are likely the spring and early summer.
16. Remove Chimney Buildup
Older chimneys accumulate buildup during the winter if renters use them frequently. The debris could catch fire or redirect smoke back into the house. You should always pay a little extra attention to your chimney if you have one.
An expert team will remove buildup so no one experiences a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. You won’t become liable for injuries or even deaths because you looked over your fireplace during seasonal cleaning.
17. Examine the Plumbing
Getting through the winter without broken pipes is a victory, but it doesn’t mean there wasn’t other damage. Freezing and thawing water in your pipes could have made them expand to the point of leaking without breaking. Examine the plumbing under each of your sinks to see if there’s water damage there.
A plumber can also take a look at well-hidden pipes under your house if you don’t feel comfortable inspecting them on your own.
Spring Clean Your Rental
Anyone who rents out properties should do what they can to boost their business and prevent expensive damage. While completing traditional tasks like landscaping and vacuuming, you should also remember less-common jobs like cleaning window spots or pressure-washing your driveway.
Every minute spent cleaning is a wise business investment because it keeps renters safe and makes your property more appealing. In addition, regular upkeep will reduce your efforts if you ever decide to sell your property.