10 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Rent
Residential Property Management

10 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Rent

1. Planning Your Timeline:

Ideally, begin the process at least six weeks ahead of your intended rental date. This allows you ample time to manage any necessary repairs or updates, and prepare your property for viewing. If substantial work needs to be done on the property, it may be beneficial to start even earlier. Remember, many prospective tenants start their search four to six weeks before they plan to move.

2. Enhancing Property Appeal:

A clean, tidy, and inviting property can attract quality tenants. Consider giving your home a fresh coat of paint or planting some flowers to improve curb appeal. De-cluttering and deep cleaning are essential steps, as most tenants appreciate a well-maintained home. It might also be worthwhile to address minor repairs or update any dated features. This guide offers more tips you get your property ready to rent.

3. Updating Insurance Policies:

Once you transition from homeowner to landlord, your standard homeowner's policy might not provide sufficient coverage. Prior to leasing your property, consult with your insurance agent about switching to a landlord's or dwelling policy. This type of coverage is designed to protect landlords from financial losses related to their rental properties. Find out more about the landlord’s policies.

4. Complying with Legal Requirements:

Landlord-tenant laws vary by location, so familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area. Many jurisdictions require landlords to obtain business licenses and pass property inspections before renting out a home. Some cities, like Washington, D.C., even mandate a certificate of occupancy. Understanding and complying with these legal requirements can protect you from potential liabilities and fines. Learn the requirements for becoming a landlord in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

5. Setting a Pet Policy:

Decide in advance whether you'll permit tenants with pets. While allowing pets could broaden your pool of potential tenants, it's important to balance this against the potential for damage and noise. If you do decide to allow pets, establish clear rules about the types, sizes, and numbers of pets allowed, and consider charging a pet deposit or fee to offset potential damage. You’ll find information to help you decide and develop good pet policies in this article.

6. Determining the Rent:

Research similar properties in your area to gauge an appropriate rental price for your property. Consider factors like size, location, amenities, and condition. Pricing your property correctly can help you attract tenants and maximize your rental income.

7. Creating a Marketing Plan:

Craft an effective marketing strategy to attract prospective tenants. Highlight your property's best features, take high-quality photographs, and post your listing on platforms where your ideal tenants are likely to see it. Remember, your goal is not just to attract many tenants, but to attract the right tenants for your property.

8. Screening Tenants:

A rigorous screening process is vital to finding responsible tenants who'll respect your property and pay rent on time. Verify employment, check credit history, criminal records, and eviction history, and ask for references. Having a systematic screening process not only increases your chances of finding reliable tenants but also helps you avoid potential discrimination charges.

9. Drafting a Solid Lease Agreement:

A well-crafted lease agreement outlines the rights, responsibilities, and expectations for both the landlord and tenant. It's your primary legal protection in case disputes arise. You may wish to consult an attorney or a professional property management company to ensure your lease complies with all local and federal laws. Click here for more information on leases and rental agreements.

10. Considering a Property Management Company:

Managing a rental property involves significant time and effort. A property management company can handle these tasks on your behalf, from preparing the property and finding tenants to handling maintenance and rent collection. This can be particularly valuable if you live far from your rental property or if you have multiple properties to manage. Before choosing a property management company, research their reputation, services, and fees to ensure they're a good fit for your needs.

The process of preparing your home for rent can be complex, but with careful planning and thoughtful execution, it can be a rewarding venture. With these steps, you're well-equipped to navigate the rental preparation process and attract quality tenants to your property.


Q: Is it worth investing in professional cleaning before renting out my home?

A: Absolutely. A clean and well-presented property will attract a wider pool of quality tenants and can potentially command a higher rent.

Q: What should I consider when setting the rental price?

A: When determining your rental price, consider the size, location, and condition of your property, as well as the rent of comparable properties in your area. Setting a fair rent can help you attract and retain good tenants.

Q: How important is a comprehensive screening process for potential tenants?

A: It's crucial. A thorough screening process can help you find responsible tenants who will take good care of your property and pay rent on time.

Q: Should I allow pets in my rental property?

A: Allowing pets can attract more potential tenants, but it also has potential downsides, such as property damage and noise. If you decide to allow pets, it's advisable to establish clear pet policies.

Q: What are the benefits of hiring a property management company?

A: A property management company can handle many tasks on your behalf, including preparing your property for rent, finding and screening tenants, managing lease agreements, handling repairs and maintenance, collecting rent, and resolving any issues that arise.


Renting out your home requires significant preparation and consideration. However, by following these steps, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the rental market and attract quality tenants to your property. If you're interested in professional assistance with this process, our team at Gordon James Realty is here to help. We provide comprehensive property management services, from preparing your property for rent and marketing it effectively to managing lease agreements and handling repairs and maintenance. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you get your home ready for rent.

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Find out about our services and fees from one of our experienced agents. We provide management & brokerage services for community associations, residential properties, and commercial properties.


Rental Property

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