How to Get Your Baltimore Property Rent Ready - Article Banner

As a Baltimore rental property owner, you’re probably pretty eager to place a tenant and get the cash flow moving in your direction. That’s great, but there are a few steps that need to be taken before you begin depositing rent checks. You cannot advertise your house, show the unit to interested people, or place a tenant until the property is ready to be someone’s home. 

To attract the right tenants and get your property rented quickly, it has to be move-in ready. On our Baltimore property management blog today, we’re sharing some of the things you must be sure to do before you begin to market your rental property to prospective tenants.

Pricing your Baltimore Home to Rent Quickly

A property that’s ready for the rental market is accurately priced.

To increase your rental income and your long term ROI, you need to avoid vacancy and get a good tenant into your property as soon as possible. Overpricing your home will not help. You need to take a close look at the market, and establish the right rental value. These are the things that drive your rental price:

  • Location.
  • Property condition and size.
  • The market and how it’s performing.
  • Competition and whether there are lots of homes like yours.

Focus on your competition. Look for properties that are similar to yours, and make sure you aren’t pricing your home higher than they are. That will only give your prospective renters a reason to choose a house that isn’t yours. 

You don’t want to underprice your home because that’s going to hurt your cash flow and your long term ROI. Don’t overprice either, or you’ll extend your vacancy. If it takes you a month longer to rent out your home, you’ve lost an entire month’s rent. That’s going to hurt a lot more than reducing your rent by $25 or $50 or even $100 per month. Be smart. 

Overpricing will also attract the wrong tenants. Only people who are rejected by other landlords will be willing to pay more than the Baltimore rental market will bear. Good tenants who pay rent on time and have excellent landlord references will know what they’re willing to pay. They will know your competition, and they will choose their next home wisely.

Inspect Your Home and Make Necessary Repairs

Your property isn’t ready for the rental market until everything is safe, functional, and habitable. The home needs to be in perfect working order. That includes the closet door that sticks and the tubs that need caulk. You have to present a well-maintained home. It helps you in a number of different ways: 

  • First, it preserves the condition and value of your asset. Deteriorating homes are always more expensive when it comes to upkeep. Any deferred maintenance will come back to haunt you. 
  • Second, it shows the tenant that you are serious about the condition of your home, and it tells them what you expect in terms of maintenance during the tenancy. If you allow a tenant to move into a home that needs repairs and replacements, you’re basically telling the tenant that you don’t care much about the property. 

Before you rent out your home, make sure all of the appliances work. Check every outlet and light switch. Flush every toilet, turn on every faucet, and open and close all drawers, cabinets, and closets. You want the tenants to move in with a clean slate. Promising that you’ll come back to fix something before a tenant has even unpacked is not the best way to begin your relationship.

Put together an inspection checklist, and go through the property. Once everything on your list is checked off, you know that the maintenance needs have been met and it’s ready to be occupied by a responsible, proactive tenant. 

Consider Investing in Upgrades and Improvements

It’s hard to pour extra money into your property before you’ve even begun earning any money on it, but investing in some small cosmetic upgrades can really help you earn more. You don’t have to do a complete renovation. Instead, make some small improvements that tenants will notice and appreciate. 

For example, if you install new hardware on the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, you’ll give the whole room a modern, updated look. Instead of replacing worn carpet, consider putting in some hard surfaces such as tile or laminate. New faucets will get attention and so will updated window coverings. A rental property that has something other than those plastic white mini-blinds will really stand out. 

Professional Cleaning for Your Baltimore Rental Property

A clean property is absolutely critical. 

Do not put your rental home on the market if it is still cluttered with your own personal property or with things that belonged to former tenants. There shouldn’t be any trash in the background of your marketing photos. Instead, you want to offer prospective tenants a home that’s empty, fresh, and clean. 

Hire professionals who will clean every bit of the home. You want the appliances to be pulled out from the walls, ceiling fans to be relieved of their dust, and toilets sparkling like they’ve never been used before. 

It’s important not to be stingy when it comes to cleaning. Good tenants will simply be unwilling to move into a property that isn’t totally clean. No one wants to live with someone else’s dirt.

Provide an outstanding home, and you’ll attract an outstanding tenant. Outstanding homes don’t have to be huge, perfect, or even ideally located. But, they do need to be clean. Cleanliness is never negotiable with a rental property. Clean it thoroughly and make sure the tenants understand that you’ll expect to have it returned in an equally clean condition.

Check Your Curb Appeal and Landscaping 

First impressions are very important, and the way your property looks from the outside will help prospective tenants determine whether they even want to bother checking out the interior. 

If you are renting out a single family home or a duplex with a yard, make sure the lawn is mowed and the bushes are trimmed back. Provide an outdoor space that is easy to maintain. Your tenants will not want to spend their weekends pulling weeds and watering lawns. If you’re renting out a unit in a building, make sure the common areas are attractive and inviting.

When you have a pool, you’ll want to ensure it is safe. Hire a professional to maintain it. You can include the cost in the rent, and you’ll be sure that the pool stays safe, pleasant, and pretty. 

Take a look at your home from the street. If you see debris, trash, and a general mess, you need to take action immediately. Make sure you give prospective tenants a reason to come inside and look around. Show them that you have pride in your property, and they’ll have pride in it, too. 

Marketing your Baltimore Rental Property 

Once your home is clean, maintained, and welcoming, you’re ready to put it on the market.

Have a clear strategy about how and where you’ll market your home. Many landlords are quick to simply throw an ad up on Craigslist. While that may be a valuable resource when you’re seeking tenants, you want to remember that you’re hoping to attract high quality tenants. Those prospects are going to be on some of the more popular rental sites. They’ll be looking for their next home on Zillow, Trulia, Zumper, RentCafe, HotPads, or They might be working with a real estate agent, who has access to the MLS. Make sure your listing shows up in these places, and make sure it stands out with professional photos and clear, descriptive text. 

Yard signs may seem a bit outdated in an age of online advertising, but they’re actually still effective. When you post a professional yard sign that provides general information about the property, when it’s available, and contact information, you might attract someone who happens to be driving or walking through the neighborhood. It will also give neighbors in the area an opportunity to make a referral. 

One of the best ways to effectively prepare your property for the rental market is to work with a professional Baltimore property management company. Property managers know the local market, and we understand the needs and desires of your most selective tenants. When you partner with a professional, you know you’re getting:

  • A smart pricing strategy. 
  • Professional marketing. 
  • All legal guidelines will be met. 
  • Excellent photos that show off your home’s assets.
  • Relationships with the real estate network in Baltimore.
  • Knowledge and experience on what works well and how to rent quickly.

Even if you want to manage your property on your own, it can help to have a professional prepare it for the market and find you a tenant. This is the best way to protect your home and your bottom line. 

House on MarketIf you have any questions while you’re getting your own investment property ready for the market, or you’re interested in hearing more about Baltimore property management, please contact us at Stripe Management. We work with owners, investors, and properties in Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County, Washington, D.C., Capitol Heights, District Heights, Baltimore, and anywhere in the DC metro area.