Please, do sweat the small stuff

Like anything in life, it’s often the little things that can make the difference between a signed lease and another week (or more) on the market.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good first impression. While residents typically consider a variety of issues when deciding whether to rent a particular apartment or home, such as proximity to work, neighborhood conveniences, or affordability, that first look at an apartment or home plays a huge role in whether a lease is signed. No matter how great the area, or how reasonable the rent, if a rental showing brings up red flags, it’s difficult to close the deal.

The good news is that many of the things that may turn off an applicant are easily remedied—little things that may be overlooked in our haste to complete the big things such as painting and carpet cleaning. Here are some things that should be on every property manager’s list to check:

The entryway. Scuffed doors, dead leaves, and trash of any kind near the entrance will immediately turn off just about anyone. Get to the appointment a few moments early and clean up any trash that may have accumulated.

Light fixtures. Checking for burned out light fixtures is easy to forget, and just as easy to remedy. Spend a few moments turning on all of the light fixtures including oven lights and ceiling fans to check for burned out bulbs, and replace any missing or burned out bulbs prior to showing the unit.

Torn or missing window screens. People like windows. While looking at properties, they will notice where the windows are and they will subsequently notice things like torn or missing window screens. While it may not appear to be a deal breaker, it can give the appearance of sloppiness, or a safety issue, on the part of the management company.

Dripping faucets or running toilets. Both are equally annoying, and sure to be noticed by prospective tenants, who tend to pay close attention to kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Either of these can be considered a deal breaker. Get maintenance out and fix any plumbing issues prior to showing the unit.

Bent or missing blind slats. Surprisingly easy to miss, particularly if blinds are up, it’s important to check for mechanical or cosmetic issues and replace them as needed.

Don’t give applicants a reason to not sign a lease. Take care of these small, but annoying issues before an applicant walks through the door.