Chicagoland Leasing and Management Blog

Getting your property ready to show

Nora Bohanon - Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Property Management Blog

So you’ve got a property you want to rent. What’s the first step you need to take before you can find a qualified tenant? It’s called staging.

Staging is the process of getting your property ready to show. This is how you finesse curb appeal, making the property look its best both at a glance and up-close. Of course, you could spend a ton of money to improve any property, but the return on investment is a gamble. Instead, staging is all about spending as little as possible to achieve a much better presence for any prospective tenants.

The key to keeping costs down is focusing on the little things that matter. What matters most is that which any tenant would focus on, so you might want to take a walk through your property and imagine yourself as a potential tenant: what do you notice?

The best place to begin is with the idea of curb appeal. How does the property look from the road? Simple maintenance of the lawn, hedges, trees, and other natural elements goes a long way. When the landscape looks properly trimmed and edged, the whole property looks well cared-for. If the front door is old, give it a fresh coat of paint. Check out shutters, gutters, trim, and other pieces, replacing or cleaning as necessary. The same goes for roof shingles, siding pieces, bricks, or anything else that might look like a red flag to a tenant. These simple fixes go a long way.

Depending on the season, you’ll want to keep track of what’s happening out here. There may be an abundance of fallen leaves that need cleaning up in the autumn, for example. If you are looking to sell during the winter months, you’ll want to make sure that any driveways, sidewalks, and entries are shoveled, de-iced, and ready for visitors.

Next, move indoors. The biggest step is keeping the interior free of clutter, messes, and damage. Keep the property clean and tidied at all times, ready to be seen. Store any unnecessary pieces of furniture or knick knacks, anything that could look like clutter. The prospective tenant needs to picture their life inside the space, so the emptier, the better. After cleaning, patch up any holes, loose handles, scratches, or any other wear and tear that’s visible. For just a small amount of effort, your property will look immeasurably better.

Along with cleaning up and fixing things, you’ll want to make sure the rooms have a nice looking coat of paint, preferably in neutral tones. Just as with the lack of clutter, neutral tones help prospective tenants project their lives into the space. A fresh coat of paint doesn’t cost much, but it makes a room look instantly newer. Other small fixes are advisable, such as replacing the cabinet hardware, fixing or replacing any plumbing in need, and ensuring that every room is well lit with fresh bulbs and clean fixtures.

Of course, some properties may need more extensive, specific improvements to rent at a given price, but these vary on a case by case basis. Some properties might need up-to-date windows while others might need electric upgrades. But in most cases, the small improvements listed above will be more than enough to get your property show ready.

Realtor Article