Welcome to 2022. Demand for rentals is up, and so are rent prices. As a landlord or property manager, you’re sitting pretty—as soon as you post a property, the potential renters start calling and emailing.

As rents soar, quality tenants want to know they’re getting their money’s worth when they choose their next home. With skillful staging, you can help your property rise to the top of the listings pile.

Why stage a rental property?

Here are two reasons you should stage your rental properties, whether you’re advertising a city studio apartment or a five-bedroom family home in the suburbs.
Make it memorable in a sea of sameness

If the property you’re advertising is empty, it will probably look like all the other empty properties in the area. To the potential renter, it becomes just another possibility in a long list. However, if your property stands out from the pack, renters will put it at the top of their list—giving you a variety of potential tenants to choose from.

Attract higher-quality tenants

Another excellent reason to stage your rental property is that it can help you attract long-term tenants who will treat the rental as home and take care of it. Renters who don’t plan to stay in an area may not care whether they damage something in the home or miss a few rent payments and get evicted—they’ll be moving on, anyways. Tenants looking to settle down, on the other hand, will see a staged home’s potential and may be more likely to stay put for many years, meaning less turnover and fewer vacancies for you to manage.

How to stage an occupied rental for listing

If the property is occupied, staging can be more difficult. It’s one thing to stage an owner-occupied home; it’s another entirely to ask tenants to allow a home to be staged while they’re living in it (plan ahead by adding this to your lease!).

Here are a few tips:

  • Ask your renters to keep several large storage bins handy, so that when the photographer is ready to shoot (or someone comes to tour), tenants can quickly declutter surfaces such as countertops, tables, and desks by tossing items into the bins. Bins can then be carried from room to room or put into a closet or garage, if available.

The advantage here is ensuring that the rental looks as spacious as possible. Clutter makes an apartment look small and cramped and gives the impression that it is lacking in closets and storage space. Not a selling point!

  • Offer to have a cleaning service give the home a thorough scrub-down. Just as you put on your best for a portrait, your property should look its best for listing. If the paint looks dingy, see if you can freshen it up (or consider letting the tenant do it for a rebate on rent). Make sure all light fixtures use the brightest, daylight-balanced bulbs they can handle. If carpets are visibly stained, have them steam cleaned.

Once the property is clean, any major issues should show up at once, giving you the opportunity to fix them before photos are taken.

  • Fix damaged trim, a broken window, or a hole in drywall now; it saves time and stress later, especially if a new tenant is moving in right after the old one vacates. And, of course, it’ll improve the home’s appearance in the listing.

    In the long run, fixing small problems before they turn into big ones usually saves money and time. If the landlord is caring for the property, it can inspire tenants to do so, as well. Conversely, damaged or broken features tell tenants the landlord doesn’t care about the property or their needs, which may seem like an excuse for them to abuse the property.

  • Walkthrough the home to make sure the current furniture arrangement doesn’t impede traffic flow and is logical given the home’s layout. For example, if a large sectional sofa blocks a gorgeous view in the living room, see if the tenants are willing to live with a smaller loaner sofa temporarily (and offer to store the large piece for them). Or if a second bedroom is empty, stage it with a twin or daybed, a large piece of art, and a few carefully placed accessories to help potential renters envision it as a bedroom. Make sure the entryway is inviting, clutter-free, functional, and easy to access.

In other words, play up the home’s possibilities—even if the current tenants aren’t.

In the Charlotte, NC, area and need advice on home staging? Find out how we can help you. Call us at 704-315-5802 or visit our website at creativehomestagers.com.