If you’re thinking of renting out your home this summer, don’t wait another minute. Hamptons real estate agents are predicting a strong summer rental market so savvy homeowners are wise to list their properties without delay.
So how can you set your home above and apart from the rest? How can you find the best tenants early and maximize profits? Here are a few tips from the pros.
Do your research. Look at real estate advertising, spend some time online and size up your competition. Brennan suggests calling the managers of several leading real estate firms and asking for their top rental producers. List your property with a few of them and ask your favorite to hold an open house. The best agents have a pool of good repeat renters and it only takes one to make the perfect match.
Begin by giving your house a thorough cleaning. Wash the windows inside and out. Shampoo the carpets and polish the floors. Clean the baseboards, closets, garage and basement. It’s hard work, but renters want to see immaculate properties.
“We start getting summer-ready right after Christmas,” says Pam Stuart, a Town & Country agent who is also an experienced summer landlord. “We re-paint the entire interior every season,” she adds. Both agents urge putting some rental profit back into your home each year. Remember, it’s a business, so reinvest in your product.
Set the stage. The art of home staging has long been used to sell houses and merchandise model homes. But these days, interior design pro Allegra Dioguardi is also staging homes to attract summer tenants.
“It’s all about editing,” says Dioguardi, president of Styled & Sold in Westhampton Beach and a designer with 28 years of experience (styledandsold.com). “They don’t really want your house, they want their house, only better,” she adds. “They have to be able to put themselves in the picture to fall in love with your home.”
Start by de-cluttering: hide the kids’ toys, the dog beds and the kitchen magnets. Next de-personalize: take down your collages of family photos and collections of overly personalized items. Finally, re-accessorize. You’d be surprised what a set of fresh white slipcovers can do, or some new throw pillows, fluffy towels and area rugs.
Take professional listing photos. Agents across the board caution: do not underestimate the importance of your online listing photos. But unless you are a very good photographer, “don’t try this at home.” For as little as $150 you can hire a professional photographer to help attract the best renters and the best prices. He or she can see your home as you can’t see it, playing up its best assets while avoiding its faults. Prudential recommends IMAGEination (imageination.tv/usa), whose comprehensive services include digital retouching, video tours and more.
Keep up the good work. Now that you’ve scrubbed and painted, fluffed and photographed, it’s important to keep up appearances. Make sure your home is visitor-ready at all times. But above all, be flexible. If your agent suggests repurposing your man cave, don’t take it personally, consider it tough love. And if you get an early offer within 10 to 15 % of your “absolute” price, pounce on it. The sooner you rent your home the sooner you will reap the financial and psychic rewards of a job well done.