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8 Tips for Preparing a Home to Become a Rental Property

June 25, 2021

If you have recently purchased a historic or older home with the intention of renting, you have made an excellent investment! But before you are ready to welcome your first tenant, you may need to make a few updates to ensure the home is safe and meets all modern standards. Here are eight tips when preparing to rent a historic home.  

Start With the Top and Bottom 

Your first focus areas should be the exteriors, specifically the roof and foundation. These areas are highly susceptible to weather damage and will age quicker naturally. Once you have made any updates such as replacing roof tiles and fixing leaks, you can set out to assess the structural integrity of the details in between including walls, ceilings, tile, HVAC, and more.  

Inspect the Electrical 

Depending on the age of your home, electrical wiring may have been added after it was built or very early during the era of electricity. For this reason, the home may not be built to withstand our modern needs and can become overheated, making it a potential fire hazard. The best way to prevent this is to have a professional electrician assess the electrical system and make recommendations based on his or her findings.  

Peruse the Plumbing 

Copper, galvanized steel, and cast iron plumbing have a lifespan of about 80 to 100 years. If your home was built around this long ago, it is probably time to update the plumbing to prevent serious leaks and water or sewer damage. Corrosion buildup can also negatively affect water pressure and even cause rusty or brown water. For the health, safety, and happiness of your residents, it is best not to wait for a plumbing emergency and replace pipes in advance. 

Test for Lead Paint 

Lead paint was extremely common in homes and only became illegal for residential use in 1978. Most homes built prior to that year will have some level of lead paint. Although it is not toxic when dried, if it cracks or crumbles into dust it can cause serious health concerns. Children under 6 are most susceptible to the effects, so if you plan to rent homes to families, you may want to take additional measures to remove it. Test for lead paint and consult a professional EPA-certified contractor if you plan to remove or sand down any walls with lead paint.  

Weatherize Windows 

Many older homes feature windows with wood cladding. While this can last an extremely long time if well-maintained, it is still susceptible to weather damage and rot if it becomes wet and left untreated. In many cases, a woodworker can conduct the necessary updates without requiring a full window replacement. They can also add weather strips, screens, or storm windows to add an additional layer of protection.  

Increase Efficiency, Not Size 

Older homes in historic neighborhoods are often smaller than the new builds of today. When updating your home for a modern family to rent, it could make sense to change some of the layouts rather than springing for a full addition or renovation. Perhaps a kitchen island can be added for more storage space if there is no pantry, or a compact washer and dryer can be added in a basement. By increasing the efficiency and storage capabilities, your residents will feel satisfied in their charming historic home while still being able to access amenities. 

Modernize Materials 

You may elect to leave all the materials and finishes as-is to keep the original aesthetic of the home intact, or you may choose to update certain features that are outdated or need replacing. Common updates include switching out synthetic flooring or countertops for natural materials, changing light fixtures, and replacing handles and drawer pulls. These updates do not have to be costly, and they can go a long way in attracting residents to your rental property.  

Manage Wisely 

Once you have set your home up for safety and success, it is vital to ensure that it is still maintained regularly. Using a property management company allows you to have your own team of professionals available to address maintenance concerns, process monthly rental payments, and ensure no damage is done to the home. You have invested a lot of personal time and energy into this property, and a rental management group can help keep the historic property in perfect condition for many years to come.  

To learn more about the property management services at MMC, call (615) 849-9006.