Staging for rent is the preparation of a rental property for showings so it looks more appealing to would-be tenants. Although it is not standard practice as when selling your home, most rental property showings do include some staging for rent. It increases the value of the rental property in the eyes of prospective tenants.
Staging for rent is different from staging for sale although both aim to make the investment property more desirable. Home sellers often have to strip down the property for sale in order to invite the creativity of the new prospective owners.
Landlords, on the other hand, do staging for rent in order to present their rental property as move-in ready and make the decision easier for potential tenants. Since it is just a rental and not their first home, staging a rental property will add a homely feel so tenants can see themselves living there.
But is it really necessary? There are actually a few different benefits that come from staging a rental property:
The Benefits of Staging for Rent
- Most people start their search for long-term rentals online. Photos of a staged rental property will stand out from the competition in online listings. Staging can help convince renters to come to a showing.
- It creates a cozy, move-in ready feel which many people are willing to pay for. The decor and rented furniture pay off quickly with good tenants.
- It showcases the potential of the property for comfort and various uses of the space: cooking, entertaining, child play, hobbies, etc.
- It helps attract more involved tenants looking for a long-term rental property, which reduces turnover and vacancy rates.
However, if your rental property is in a hot real estate market where demand from tenants is very high, staging may not be necessary. If you are struggling to rent out your property, then staging could help you find tenants (if there is no underlying issue with the rental, of course).
Here are some staging tips for rental properties.
Before Staging a House
Before you can begin to stage your rental property, you must ask yourself these questions:
Has the property been lived in?
If yes, you probably need to replace outdated furniture and appliances, do a thorough cleaning, and fix any issues.
Are you doing the staging for rent yourself?
Staging services are available, but they usually deal with properties for sale. Still, working with an expert may be worth it. If you are a real estate investor with a portfolio of rental properties, it makes sense to save yourself time and hire a professional. However, if you are a new property owner or landlord, there is no need for extra costs eating away your return on investment.
Wondering how much money you could be making renting out a property you own? Find out with our Investment Property Calculator.
Who is your target tenant?
Are they a family with two kids or is it a single high-paid professional? Whom would your rental property suit best given its size, bedroom count, other amenities?
Single family homes might be too big for young couples. If the kitchen of a condo is rather small, maybe you’ll lose stay-at-home moms. But the yard of a townhouse can draw in pet owners. Try to make the most of what you have and stage the rental property to highlight it in the showings.
How to Stage a Rental Property for Showing
Choose the time of the open house for rent wisely. Consider holding it at a time when your rental property will benefit from the best light and feel when it is neither too hot nor too gloomy.
Open a window to let fresh air in if the weather permits. Open all curtains, blinds, and shutters to let light in but be ready to close them to show light-blocking capabilities if needed.
If the rental property is unfurnished, you must rent furniture for staging. This will help potential tenants grasp the size of the place and start imagining their own furniture fitting in.
Highlight special features like a fireplace (light it up) or a reading nook (put some cushions).
Make the Showing Memorable
Have an element of a pleasant surprise both at the entrance (an interesting plant, a large family photo frame) and in the last space to be seen (a foosball table in the basement, workout gear in the yard) to give potential tenants a reference to remember the rental property by.
Use Home Textiles
Dishcloths, towels in bathrooms, bedding in bedrooms, cushions in the living room, carpets and rugs all give a warm, homely feel.
Spice Up the Ambiance
Aroma candles in bathrooms, fresh potted herbs in the kitchen, fabric softener in the laundry room. Only keep in mind that the cookie baking trick is so popular now, it won’t do you any good.
Instant Homelier Feel
Plants or flowers in vases add freshness and elegance. Even Airbnb hosts are doing this already. It is certainly worth it when in the process of finding tenants for the long term.
Good Vibes Only
If you’re unsure of what kind of tenants would come to the showing, remove any furniture and decor that is too particular (e.g. a baby crib) and might spark negative emotions. On the contrary, if you know for sure you are only meeting tenants with kids, by any means show off all child-friendly features of the rental property: yard, space that can be turned into a playroom, open kitchen, schools in the neighborhood.
Art and Books
Art and a stacked bookcase are a great addition if you are aiming at more affluent tenants. Framed art prints and books bought from yard sales are ok when working on a budget, just don’t use props.
Don’t Forget to Highlight the Location of the Rental Property
If there is a park nearby, place a pair of skates by the door; if there is a farmer’s market, put some fresh veggies in a bowl on the counter and make sure to mention where they are from.
A Few Extra Tips:
- Avoid gender-specific decor like flowered wallpaper and pink and blue towels.
- Offer coffee to viewers to keep them around for longer, show off the coffee machine and fridge, and make them try the bar stools.
Staging a House for Rent: Staging Different Areas
A house has many different spaces that need to be presented through staging for rent.
- All greenery needs to be trimmed and mowed to make a good first impression. Sprinkle some new seeds if the time is right. Avoid complex landscaping that might signal a lot of work or extra costs to tenants.
- Flowers won’t hurt, potted plants on the patio also work.
- Some outdoor furniture will make it look like a lively and useful space.
- You can add an accent like a rope swing or a dog pool if you want.
- If it fits two cars, keep it empty to show off the size.
- If it doesn’t, add a storage rack for extra functionality.
The Attic & Basement
- Clean them up and install proper lighting to make them livable spaces.
- A simple desk can suggest a hobby room or a study.
- If the laundry room is in the basement, add a laundry basket and hang a shirt to dry.
Staging Apartments for Rent
As you know, apartments usually offer less space so staging for rent should make them look more spacious.
- Put household items for scale in all storage spaces: a jar of pasta in the kitchen pantry and a stack of towels in the bathroom nook to show how much stuff can fit in
- Clear away utensils and appliances from the countertops, keep only the best ones to show off some luxury.
- Hang art lower to make the ceiling look higher.
- Put curtains for privacy if there is another building nearby.
- If there is a balcony, dress it up as a fully-functional outdoor space with seating and plants.
Staging for rent aims to make the property look ready to move in so potential tenants can imagine living there. It is a good investment of effort on the landlord’s side because it helps find tenants faster and at a better price point. Just be sure to determine if it is necessary for your real estate market. What are other landlords doing? How long do rental listings stay on the market? You can also consult with a real estate agent. And be sure to stick to a budget!