This week, you'll hit your living areas. Start with your living room. Take the cushions off of the couches and chairs and use a vacuum nozzle to get in between those spaces most of us don't want to think about. However, if your renters lose their keys between your cushions, you don't want to be embarrassed. Enlist the help of family members and....drum roll here....move the couch and vacuum/mop beneath it. WHAT? Yes. Just do it. (We joke that we only rent our house so we will be forced to do this task.) Next vacuum/dust any window treatments. Get a step ladder and dust ceiling fans and fixtures. Brush off your molding and dust and clean your windows. Are there coasters for drinks on tables? Are all lightbulbs working?
Next, hit your den and do the same tasks. Also, if this is your television area, be sure your remotes are present. Are your remotes easy to understand or should you take the time to label them and print out a guide you can laminate at Kinkos and place underneath your remotes?(We have rented many beach houses where the remotes were so complicated we simply gave up.) It seems inhospitable when things are difficult. You will run out of time to do these kind tasks if you wait. Take the time now to type out good and helpful directions.
The dining room comes next. Pull out every dining chair. If your seats are upholstered, are they stain free? Are the seats crumb free? What will your guests use for linens? Years ago, we opted to cover our dining table with a sheet of glass after our only renter gaff in our 25 years of renting. Decide what linens, placeboards, etc...your renters can use and put irreplaceable things in storage. Is this the room where your barware is? Be sure you have enough glassware for your renters. You may need to replace expensive glassware with dollar store barware that can easily be tossed if broken. They WILL break a wine glass or two. Take the time now to make a bar area that is renter-friendly. Be sure you have wine cork openers, cocktail shakers, etc...
Last, prepare your kitchen. Clean and organize drawers and cabinets, inside and out. Count your dishes, glasses, silverware. Do you have enough for the amount of guests you can serve? Do you have coffeemakers? (We have two...one for decaf, one for regular). Carafes to allow for large amounts of coffee to be ready each morning? If you don't want your coffee mugs to go out the door, purchase some disposable to-go coffee cups. Do you have reliable pots, pans, serving ware? Dish soap, dishwasher soap? Trash bags? Organize your kitchen stem to stern. Things will get hectic next month!
You may be reading this thinking, "I'll do all of this later." I wrote this book to combat the stress of renters. I must be frank. You can't. You will find yourself crying your way out the door and screaming at your children and deciding you will NEVER rent again, unless you dig in in February. March will come in like a lion. Be prepared. It will make your experience SO much better. Happy renting!
Need help with your rental? Laurie Easterlin is a home stager and professional Masters preparation specialist. She is available for in home visits, or if you are a DIY style renter, purchase the book HERE.