After a tenant moves out of your investment home, it’s important to tackle some inspections, touch-ups, and any necessary repairs. It doesn’t just get the place ready for showings and the next tenant; it also reduces the chances the next renter will encounter problems after move-in, and it can help you catch issues early and avoid more costly fixes down the road.
Ensuring that your real estate investment property looks great also helps you rent it out faster and charge higher rent. And, of course, it’s simpler to do work while the home is vacant and you don’t have to worry about inconveniencing tenants, or their belongings and schedule. Even if you’re not taking on any major renovations, upgrades, or other big projects, everything is just easier during a period of renter turnover.
Below are some maintenance tasks for when you’re between tenants that every landlord should be sure to address. Obviously, it’s up to you how much you do on your own and how much you hire someone to take care of, depending on your availability and willingness to spend on these jobs.
Checklist of Maintenance Tasks When You’re Between Tenants
- Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed
- Make sure all electrical outlets and light switches are working
- Run all the plumbing fixtures and check for drips and leaks
- Confirm that the water heater’s pilot light is steady and blue
- Clean and check the kitchen appliances, including the lights and temperature regulation on the oven, refrigerator, and freezer
- Clean the oven with a strong degreaser; pull the oven and refrigerator away from the wall to clean behind, alongside, and underneath them
- Clean out the dryer’s lint trap and ventilation system
- Run a load of laundry through the washing machine and dryer to test them
- Perform a deep clean on the entire home, paying special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms; don’t overlook the details, like windows and sills, blinds or curtains, grout, soap holders in the showers, dusting ceiling fans, etc.
- Use bleach to kill and remove mold in the showers and other locations; use a mold remediation service for growth on walls or flooring.
- Vacuum and shampoo the carpets; replace carpeting that is worn, torn, or permanently soiled
- Spackle or repair any wall holes
- Give the walls, floorboards, and doors a fresh coat of paint
- Restore hardwood floors with a buffer to improve their aesthetics and prevent the need for costlier refinishing
- Check that all doorstops are straight, sturdy, and preventing knobs from hitting the wall
- Replace knobs and handles on room doors, closets, cabinets, etc. as needed
- Change the locks between tenants for security purposes; consider installing keypads on exterior doors that you can just reprogram between renters to avoid this at every point of turnover
- Put in new HVAC filters
- Have a technician perform an inspection and tune-up of the heating and cooling system; this improves efficiency, reduces energy costs for your tenant (or you if you pay the utilities at your rental property), and reduces the chances of a highly inconvenient malfunction and potentially expensive repairs
- Check the window screens for cleanliness and tears; repair or replace them as necessary
- Inspect the outside of the home for needed repairs for window seals, shutters, walkways, driveway, etc.