I’ve been in lots of rental homes, both single and multi-family, ranging from the low to upper middle income market. And I’ve seen it all. Everything from immaculate to absolutely gross. As a real estate investor, it’s perfectly reasonable to buy a rental that’s filthy and disgusting inside. It’s just dirt. It can be cleaned up in a very short time.
As a landlord, there’s no reason to rent out a home that’s anything less than immaculate inside. I’ve walked into middle income rentals owned by landlord associates of mine, ready to rent with signs in the yard, and thought to myself, “Okay, this person needs to go to the optometrist right away. His eyesight must be going. The carpet’s dirty and stained, there’s grease on the stove top, and it stinks in here. Is his sense of smell out of order, too?”
In this business, you get what you give. If you present your rental at a level less than decent, your tenant is going to match that level. You can’t expect much if you don’t offer much, regardless of how expensive the home and neighborhood are. So, why knock yourself out? Because it’s worth it, that’s why. If you do a great job of cleaning your rental home . . . if it looks good and smells good, you will attract good tenants.
Now, that’s not to say they will take excellent care of the place. But if you screen them properly and do your periodic apartment checks, you can monitor them and remove them if you feel they’re not taking care of the home. I evicted the people who lived in the apartment below because they were dirty. I don’t think they ever cleaned this shower. It took a bit to clean it (Easy Off oven cleaner, followed by a nice soaking with Pine Sol, then a good scrubbing) but now it’s ready to go.
This is one of my lower income properties. Adding some nice touches like bath/kitchen rugs adds appeal and makes the apartment look like home to a prospective tenant. And I always include window coverings as well.
It didn’t take much time to shampoo the carpets and do the appropriate cleaning to get this apartment turned around and ready to rent . . . about three days total. So by all means, knock yourself out every time you have an empty rental. It’s worth your time investment, because a clean, fresh-smelling property will more than likely attract a clean, fresh-smelling tenant!