Even if you bought your Beacon Hill home to live in rather than as an income property, you may end up renting out your condominium at some point.
Here’s how you can get your Boston condo ready for renters. While it may seem like a lot of work and a moderate amount of money, it’s well worth it. Good tenants are attracted to well maintained, trouble-free properties, and good tenants are hopefully the only kind you’ll ever have to deal with.
Start at the top of the interior of your Beacon Hill apartment and work your way down.
At the very least, you should wash all the walls and ceilings of your home before you put it on the Beacon Hill apartment rental market. Deal with potential problem areas that need to be dealt with, whether it’s drywall or plaster repairs, paint touch-ups, or, worst-case scenarios, a leaky pipe, or insufficient ventilation.
Wash curtains or blinds. Vertical or wooden blinds may not be removable, but they can still be vacuumed or sponged. Wash the interiors of your windows.
If you can afford to have the interior repainted in neutral colors from top to bottom.
Check all the appliances that come with the house to make sure they’re in working order and if you can find them, set the manuals aside in a dedicated kitchen drawer. Test and put new batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure you have working fire extinguishers.
If all this seems overwhelming or you find you’re having frequent renter turnover, you might want to consider hiring a property management firm to deal with tenant complaints, repairs, and maintenance. It will cost you 10 to 15 percent of your total rental income, but it may buy you peace of mind. Interview several property managers and ask for references from tradespeople they use as well as other property owners.
As one of the top-rated Boston Real Estate Brokerages leasing residential properties in Beacon Hill, we hear a lot of things from tenants moving into their new home. First impressions mean a lot. We’ve put together a few simple tips to set get your relationship with your new tenants off to a great start.
When you hand the keys to your new tenants you want to make sure that the experience they have when they first enter the Beacon Hill apartment is a good one. This first impression says a lot to the new tenant. It sets the tone for how they feel in their new home. For many, it’s a trust issue that is established at this moment In addition it serves as a marker of how you would expect the unit to be left when they move out. It demonstrates pride in ownership and that they are expected to value your property.
Several Beacon Hill apartment owners that we work with will ensure that they are able to clean properly by having their leases written so that the lease expires at 9 am on the first of the month. This allows the current tenants the early morning to move their things out and into their new home. The landlord will then direct us to write the new lease with the start time at 2 or 3 pm that same day. This allows 2-3 hours to clean the property prior to the new tenants moving in.
Over the years we’ve placed many tenants that stay several years with a landlord. Even the best of tenants will cause normal wear and tear on a unit. Three to four weeks prior to the lease ending it could prove helpful to view the condition of the property to make sure appliances, walls, and surfaces are in good condition and that there are no repairs needed prior to new tenants moving in.
Many landlords that we work with do a mid-year or quarterly checkup of the property. We have seen landlords add wording to their leases that a cleaning service will come monthly to take care of things like grout, appliance interiors, and other areas that renters too often skip. They usually build the cost of this cleaning service into the rent. Beacon Hill has found some great cleaning services on Yelp and Angie’s List. Be sure to schedule this service in advance as many cleaning companies get very busy at the end of the month,
Landlords score big points by simply sending an email to their tenants a couple of weeks prior to move in reminding your new tenants to set up utilities, cable, and movers. This can be so helpful especially for first-time renters. A simple list of names and contact numbers of the local utility and cable companies can save calls from tenants panicking because they forgot to have the electric or gas put in their names and are now taking cold showers!
Renters’ insurance is fairly inexpensive. Most tenants do not understand that there’s a good chance that the contents of their apartment may not be covered by your insurance on the buildings. Strongly encourage your tenants to sign up for rental insurance by providing the names of numbers of a couple of reputable companies.
Email is a great way to communicate with your tenants because it allows them to access information at a later date. Providing you new tenants with the important phone numbers for emergencies such as lock-outs or immediate repair issues such as an HVAC system that stops working is important. Providing a backup phone number should your tenants not be able to reach you, or whoever manages your property, would be a good idea as well. If you have a preferred company or tradespeople that you use to handle emergency repairs for hot water heaters, dishwashers, or electrical, and you are not living in the state, our we know that some out-of-town landlords allow the tenant to collect quotes for repairs and send to the landlord for approval.
Many of us have perhaps had the experience of renting a vacation property or an Airbnb property. You walk in the door and there on a table somewhere is a bag with some nice essentials. This doesn’t have to be expensive but this type of thoughtfulness goes a long way with tenants. One of the biggest reasons tenants say they stay year after year in a rental is because they have a great landlord. A little investment goes a long way in keeping vacancies at a minimum. A bag may include:
A couple of rolls of toilet paper
A couple of rolls of paper towels
Bottle of multipurpose cleaner / Clorox wipes
A few bottles of water in the refrigerator
Some landlords might even leave a bag of coffee, salt & pepper or a bottle of wine
Ford Realty Inc., has a stellar reputation in assisting property owners lease and sell their properties. Please contact us at Ford Realty should you need assistance with any of your real estate needs. 617-720-5454.
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