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Rental Property Management Tips: How to Nail the Turnover Process

October 13, 2017 / by Brent Silberbauer

couple cleaning and moving out of houseTurning over a rental property is probably one of the trickiest parts of rental property management. You need to coordinate move-out dates, maintenance, marketing, cleaning, inspections, possibly remodeling and a whole host of other variables. No doubt this takes skill and finesse to nail down a fool proof strategy to turning over rentals. In this blog I’m going to talk to you about developing an excellent strategy that works for your Redding or Chico rental property. 

The End Game

Obviously, the end game to this process is to have a resident move-out and have least amount of days that your property sits vacant. Each day the unit goes unrented is costing you money. However, if you schedule a new resident to move-in too close to the move-out, their unit might not have time to be cleaned and ready to go, causing a whole host of bigger problems. 

A Little History

When I first started working in rental property management I understood that it was important to limit the amount of days the property is vacant. So, I scheduled a move-in on the same day as a move-out. The owner of the property was living in the house at the time, so I just told her to clean the house well and vacate in the morning and then I would have the residents move in that afternoon. What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, how hard could this be? 

Needless to say, that was a total disaster. The current owner moving out didn’t clean the house well, and there was still a ton of work to be done when the moving truck showed up with the new residents. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. 

The Procedure   

30 days out:

Where I live in Chico, California, our residents need to give us a 30-day notice that they’re moving out.  This is the first action that triggers our turnover procedure. Typically, we have photos of the property stored on a database. We immediately upload those pictures online and start marketing the property on our website as well as ILS’s (internet listing services). Many times, a prospective resident will need to give their current residence a 30-day notice, so we want to start marketing as soon as possible to avoid large amounts of time where the rental property sits vacant. 

We really need to nail down an exact day when the current resident will drop off the keys. This way we know what date to schedule the cleaning, painting, carpet cleaning and any other maintenance.

This also allows us to advertise when the unit will be ready. Currently, for our town of Chico, we schedule 7 days for all the turnover work to be done. For instance, if the current resident is moving out on the 10th, we advertise that the property is available for the 17th. We have experimented with different time frames to allow for turnover work – 1 day, 3 days, 10 days etc. – and found that 7 days is a great number that works for us. This may vary from city to city.

In our town we have a lot of student properties so in the Summer months it can be very difficult to schedule cleaning, painting, and other maintenance staff. There is just so many people moving out that those trades get booked sometimes for weeks out. That is why it’s so important to plan ahead.

Two weeks out:

Hopefully you’ve received some applications on the property and can begin showing the home around this time. You’ll also want to do a pre-move-out inspection. This allows us to get inside the home to look and see what turnover work will need to be done. Maybe it needs new paint or new carpet; maybe the place is clean and beautiful and won’t need much work at all. Having a rough estimate of what the home looks like allows us to plan and start putting in work orders.

Typically, there are four main things to worry about and you want to schedule them in this order:

  1. Maintenance
  2. Painting
  3. Cleaning
  4. Carpet cleaning

One week out: 

Last day of the lease

When the resident drops off the keys you’re going to want to do the move-out inspection as soon as possible. Either that day or the next. See what work really needs to be done. Maybe they don’t need cleaning after all, or maybe they need much more cleaning than expected. You’re going to want to get off to the races to schedule all the vendors in the order we presented earlier (maintenance, painting, cleaning, carpet cleaning). 

Week before move-in

Plan on stopping by and checking the property after all the work orders have been completed. Do your move-in inspection at that time and document the condition of the property. For effective tools to help with the move-in process please check out this blog here.

Move-in day

This day should not have any surprises. If done correctly your property should be pristine and ready to go. You’ll have a clean rental unit and a happy resident. 

We hope these rental property management tips are helpful! If the turnover process seems ovewhelming or you just don't have time to deal with it, contact a property manager at Hignell Property Management to learn how we can help!

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Topics: Residential Property Management, Rental Property Tips