Crucial First Impressions : Instant Landlord

Landlords seeking to rent properties should have them ready to rent when the prospective lessee walks in the door! It is critical that the property be in good shape when the FIRST meeting happens. If the property is in poor condition the first time an interested party views it, then they will leave believing that the property will be managed in the same neglectful way. There are several important factors to having a property ready to be viewed by potential renters. The overall idea is that it be ready to rent when they first set foot on the premises. Other considerations are
1. that the property be clean,
2.that it smell good,
3.that there be a nice lawn with new mulch,
4.and freshly steamed carpets.

Ready to Rent

Other things to consider:
The property must not have loose boards, unfinished drywall, disconnected piping, torn up carpet or unfinished floors, noticeable defects in the ceiling or walls, missing lightbulbs, scuffs on walls or any other such problems. The property must at least be in its finished state, ready to be furnished and moved into.


The property must be very clean. Cleanliness is important to new renters, and a dirty apartment could easily drive away prospective profits. After all, an unrented property constantly consumes resources without a return. The inside of the house or apartment should be spotless. The walls should be free from marks or smudges, the space behind the stove scrubbed free of food waste, the ceiling should be clean, and there should be no cobwebs in the corners or roaches on the floor. In general, the house should be thoroughly cleaned in all respects before the renter arrives to see it. Just explaining to them that you’ll clean it later will leave a bad impression. The property should also smell good. It is not necessary that you spray a lot of air-freshener as that may even give the impression of masked odors. A simple fresh cleaning and $4 plug in works miracles! Just clean the property thoroughly, air it out, and the smell should be fine.

Freshly steamed carpets are also a must.

If the carpet is dingy, and full of stains, the overall feel of the apartment will be one of shoddiness and disrepair. Even if everything else is clean, a repulsive carpet will repel renters.


The area outside the premises must also be well kept. The lawn of the property, if there is one, must be neat, clean, and free from garbage and other debris. It must be recently trimmed, and the lawn care must be professional looking. If the lawn is cut, but there are grass clippings all over the sidewalk, it will be an indication to the renter as to how you manage your property. The state of mulch is also important. If the property has old mulch, it can exude a run down feel. If you are going to have a mulched landscaped area, then refresh the mulch to keep it looking neat. This, along with the $4 plug in mentioned earlier, is a great wow factor for very little money.



Properties Managed by Homeowners Vs. Property Management Companies: INSTANT TENANTS

The question of which one is best has been asked over 1000 times, however, those tenants that have experienced both choices , typically choose the management company. Top 3 reasons renting from a property management company just makes sense:


Moving is considered one of the top most stressful times in life. The thought of having to move is already hard enough, but then it just gets progressively worse. Now you have to pack, find a truck, transfer utilities and find a new place to live. The latter one is what causes the hardship . When you finally have the time to search the web or drive an area, you call on a few rentals that you are interested in. Our top grievance that we hear from tenants is that no one will return their calls. And the homeowners that do finally call back, wait a few days or even a week. Many ( not all ) are simply just not professional or responsible. Which already places a bad taste in the tenant’s mouth. A rental agent however, works to assist tenants and answer questions as a full time job. His/Her phone is always ready and waiting. They text, they email, they Facebook and talk in person. That is why, for example, the agents at usually find a good qualified tenant for Jacksonville properties in (on avg.) 7 to 21 days. Their attentiveness to potential tenants-while they are looking- is their most important trait- which seems to make the tenants and landlords of those properties very happy! Why settle for less? Life is simply already too hard.

2. PROfessionals WITH PROcedures

If you’re a tenant, you probably have money to pay for rent. And if you have money for rent, then that means that you probably have a job. And if you have a job, you probably do not have a lot of spare time to waste. So why do homeowners, continually think that a contemporary tenant would want to fill out a paper application and then drop it off, meet them at a good time for the landlord to hand over a deposit check and then answer calls at work ( where the homeowner usually calls), and then meet them personally to do a walk through a week before moving in and then fill out a lease that is so homeowner biased that the tenant is bound to loose in the long end?
Time is too valuable!

Now enters the professional property management company. There’s an actual office, with a/c, water, and a full leasing staff ready to help.
Paperwork and procedures are all in place along with a few offerings such as :
1. Online applications with online payments
2. Online background and credit checks
3. Agents who will answer your questions from 9 to 5
4. Printed multiple listings with viable information that would help a tenant to find just that perfect rental quicker…choices!
5. Walk through forms and streamlined leases that are not one sided towards tenant or the homeowner
6. Email, texting and call choices for communication
7. Online easy maintenance requests
8. Online rental payments
And more, more, more!


And lastly, but most important, are all of the choices that a property management company typically provides. A medium sized agency will average about 20 to 30 openings at all time. These choices are invaluable to the potential tenant. Remember, time is money and you can see five or so of your favorite choices in two hours with your agent. Then, you can inquire as to what is “coming up”
The agency will also help with local schools and pet friendly properties…and doing all of this for the tenant for FREE!

Author: Christina Starmer
Licensed Broker and Investor
First Coast Rental Management
2099 Park Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32204
904-701-3276 office