In a perfect world, one lease would end, and another would begin immediately after. Unfortunately, it is not an ideal world, and property turnover remains a vital property manager’s responsibility. The success of this endeavor relies on a stable process, trustworthy vendors, planning, follow-up, and attention to detail. As a property manager, you can take steps to minimize vacancy time but careful coordination of property turnovers. Follow along below as we walk you through the process of turnover, necessary repairs, and time-saving tips.
What is the Process for Property Turnover?
When an existing tenant gives the notice to vacate, property managers must begin to prepare for a new tenant. Doing so includes a variety of tasks ranging from inspections to cleaning and addressing compliance. Continue reading these quick reference steps below.
- Tenant Gives Notice: To eliminate any confusion or potential disputes, all notice to vacate notifications should be in writing and signed by the tenant. Once you have received their notice, provide them with a written copy of move out instructions and expectations.
- Tenant Returns Keys: Keep in mind, the tenant has not officially surrendered possession of the property until they have returned their keys.
- Move Out Inspection is Completed: This can be done in conjunction with the tenant returning keys as they have a right to be present for the inspection. Maintain a standard and detailed move out checklist and required the inspecting employee to document the condition thoroughly through photos.
- Determine Damages: Review the inspection carefully to determine if you will seek to hold back any of the tenant’s security deposit. Remember, if you do, everything must be impeccably documented.
- Repairs and maintenance Completed: Now that the home is vacant, move forward with making repairs or any upgrades to the property.
- Property Cleaning: Clean the property from top to bottom by utilizing a trusted professional.
- Compliance Inspections as Needed: If you need any state or local inspections, such as a lead test, complete these before a new tenant takes possession.
Basic Turnover Repair and Maintenance Items to Address
Creating a standard maintenance checklist will help expedite things and provide clarity during the inspection process. Below are the most common repairs needed in almost any property. This is a great place to start and can easily be adjusted depending on your individual property’s needs.
- Change the Locks
- Service or Replace Appliances
- Repair and Paint Walls
- Common Repairs
- Replace or Deep Clean Carpets
- Professional Cleaning
Change the Locks
Once the tenant has moved out and turned in their keys, it is time to change the locks. This can easily be done as part of the move out inspection by an in-house maintenance technician. Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee the previous tenant turned in every key or cannot gain access again, so changing the locks buys peace of mind for you and the new tenants.
Service or Replace Appliances
Appliances need service and routine maintenance, just like any other major system in your home. They are an expensive investment to replace, so utilize preventative measures to extend their life as much as you can. If any of the appliances are nearing the end of their rope, replace them while the property is unoccupied. If you do need to invest in upgraded appliances, be sure to update your marketing photos to highlight your investment!
Appliance Maintenance Checklist
- Replace any air or water filters
- Inspect the water pressure and drains for clogs
- Verify appliances function properly
- Repair any broken hardware
- Tighten any loose connectors
Repair and Paint Walls
Small holes, scratches, or dents are relatively common from hanging art or moving furniture. For the most part, these take little effort to patch and then paint right over. For larger holes, make sure to s patch compound is sanded down before attempting to repaint. Also, choose a durable and neutral colored paint for the best results. Don’t underestimate the difference a fresh coat of paint can make on the first impressions of potential renters.
Besides cleaning and painting, there are some other everyday tasks to complete at turnover. This is also an ideal time to complete an HVAC tune-up to extend the life of your system. Check out the list below for a few suggestions.
Basic Turnover Task Checklist
- Change locks
- Replace any burned-out lightbulbs
- Clean or replace HVAC filters
- Inspect the interior and exterior for signs of leaks
- Check the water pressure and ensure drains are clear
- Verify smoke and carbon monoxide detectors function
- Tighten or replace loose or broken hardware
- Ensure appliances work
- Attend to any landscaping needs
- Address repairs listed in move out inspection
- Deep clean entire property
Replace or Deep Clean Carpets
If your rental home has carpeting, you are likely familiar with how dirty it can become. Carpet traps dirt and allergens, so invest in deep cleaning between each tenant. If the carpet is worn or overly stained, consider a full replacement. New carpeting can be a big selling point for potential renters and adds to the overall appeal of your home.
Tenants expect the home they move into to be thoroughly cleaned. If you choose to tackle cleaning yourself, start from top to bottom, always saving the floors for last. However, even though it may seem like you are saving money by doing it alone, consider the amount of time it will take you. Professional cleaners have the staff and tools to get the job done right and quickly. That said, it may be worth the investment. As you build relationships with vendors, the consistent workflow for them may result in more favorable pricing for you.
How Much Time to Budget for Property Turnover?
The clock starts ticking as soon as the tenant returns their key. Turnovers consist of many moving parts that all take careful coordination to happen efficiently. Review any previous inspection report and photos you have available to you to help determine the overall condition. Throughout the industry, a typical turnover may take between 7 to 14 business days, but this depends on various factors.
Factors to Consider When Estimating Property Turnover Time
- How long have your vacating tenants live there?
- Did the tenant have pets?
- How large is the home?
- Are you aware of any significant repairs needed?
- Does the carpeting need to be replaced?
- Will any upgrades be completed once vacant?
- What are compliance items needed, if any?
Time Saving Turnover Tips to Minimize Vacancy
Preparing properties for new tenants is an essential part of any property manager’s job. However, the question is always, how can the process be more efficient? There are steps you can take as a landlord to limit vacancy time and have units up and running faster. Check out these tips below.
- Routine Inspections: Periodic inspections of the property every six months will help keep you informed of potential issues in the home. That said, many of these problems can be addressed right then, and will therefore save time at turnover.
- Pre-schedule Vendors: A trusted pool of multi-purpose vendors is vital to property management. As soon as a tenant gives notice, you should jump into action. Begin scheduling maintenance items for the week after their move out date. Doing so serves a few purposes, including ensuring vendor availability when you need them most.
- Contemplate Upgrades: Thinking of making some upgrades? Before the home goes vacant, research the local market to see what upgrades will bring the most ROI or what is feasible. Once decided on, place orders for appliances or fixtures as the vacate date approaches. That way, you will not be delayed waiting on their arrival.
Additional Tips for an Efficient Property Turnover
- Track Everything: It should go without saying, but maintaining detailed records is an essential part of the process. A tenant’s security deposit hangs in the balance, and if you intend to seek damages beyond wear and tear, you need documentation. Failing to keep good records or receipts can not only end up costing you money in legal fees, but it wastes a tremendous amount of time.
- Follow Up: Create a process for monitoring the status of all units in turnover. Follow up with vendors if any delays arise and confirm that work is complete. This lets them know what your expectations are and keeps everything running on time to limit vacancy.
- Pre-lease: Getting a property on the market 30 to 45 days before vacancy significantly increases your chances of lining up a tenant to minimize vacancy. For this to work correctly, you must have a reliable turnover process and an availability date you can stick to. Depending on the workload of your vendors and the property condition, generally, a 10 to 14-day turnover is average. However, before committing to an availability date, be sure to allow time for the inspection, repairs, compliance, and cleaning to take place.
Property turnover is a vital property management task, and the leasing process depends on its timely completion. Therefore, to minimize vacancy time, create a standard procedure, and tracking system to manage property turns. Seek to establish and maintain strong working relationships with a variety of vendors. These contacts will be invaluable when it comes time for renovations or repairs. Are you looking for a stress-free property turnover experience? Bay Property Management Group has the experience and vendor relationships to handle all properties from a basic turnover to full-scale renovations. Contact us for your property management needs throughout Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania