Masters Prep: Lessons from a Beach House
This week, my family and I rented a beach house for Thanksgiving. My nature, as a home stager, is to look at every house and wonder how it could be better presented. However, more importantly, as a renting expert, I immediately note things that a homeowner may not. This beach house was lovely and well-situated, but could stand a few things that make a rental stand out. These thoughts transfer perfectly to thinking about your own home as a Masters rental.
Entryway: When we arrived, it was night time. We could not see the steps, nor could we begin to get the key in the very dark lock. Is your home well lit at night? Could someone unfamiliar with your door easily see and open your lock? Consider motion lights that light both the path and the doorway.
Light switches: This house has a good many light switches, and they are not as logically placed as one would wish. If you have multi-switch panels, consider a pretty computer-generated label above the switches.
Television remotes: We could not figure out how to use the television, nor were there any instructions. We were new to Direct TV and would have loved a simple guide as turning on the tv required three remotes: the tv, satellite, and the speaker.
Fireplace: There was a lovely gas fireplace...with no instructions. It does not match ours at home, so I was leery to start it.
Fire extinguisher: There didn't seem to be one at the beach house. No one expects a fire, but one could always start. Your fire extinguisher needs to be visible and full. (If you have a fire pit, be sure a hose is readily accessible, or place an extinguisher out there as well.)
General House Guide: We'd have loved a guide that perhaps had tabs, discussing the tv, heating system, what day the trash went out, what things were for our use (there's a lovely little kayak below but no way for us to know if we are welcome to use it), and any other quirky little things, particular to this house.
Hooks. Hooks. And more hooks.: Every bathroom door needs a row of hooks attached. There is nowhere for anyone to place their clothing as they disrobe before showering. We wish there were hooks in the entryway. There is nowhere for us to place our coats when we come into the home. Hooks are a wonderful thing for visitors.
Pantry space: I admit, I am a neat freak. It drives me crazy to rent a space where there is nowhere to place incoming groceries. I simply don't like to leave things out on the counter. If you are renting for Masters, be sure to clear out a generous portion of your pantry for their use.
Coffee pot: We were surprised to find this house did not have an auto shut-off coffee pot and the burned bottom reflected that. Don't set your renters up for the potential to burn down your home!
Clean the unusual: When we opened the washing machine, it had not been cleaned in some time. There are many places in this house which owners simply do not see as a renter sees it. Such spaces need to be tended to for a Masters rental, such as baseboards, blinds, fans, VENTS, lights, etc... Appliances need to sparkle and shine!
Pillows: The pillows had seen better days. Don't hesitate to make pillows a yearly purchase, and purchase a few different styles to suit your renters. We leave a large basket of extra pillows in the upstairs hallway, in case a renter has a particular need for very soft or hard, etc....
Look at your house as if it were going to be on a magazine cover. Is there dust, hair, paint that needs to be patched? If you are renting your house, your visitors need to feel like they are in a clean and welcoming environment. Fresh sponges, fresh bath mats, fresh, pillows...whatever it takes to complete a perfect rental, should be considered a standard expense for renting your home.