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Five tips to get a higher rent for your house

Here are some simple steps and strategies to enhance the appeal of your property, so that you are ensured a better deal from prospective tenants.

1) Spruce up the house

Give your home a fresh coat of paint, preferably in a neutral colour, to spruce it up. Clean the windows for ample light and, if possible, install screens for windows and doors to keep out bugs. Ensure the bathrooms are clean and check that all taps and electrical fixtures work properly. Replace burnt-out bulbs and clean the switch panels. Make sure that the drains don't clog and rectify any seepage problems.

Clean kitchen counters and cabinets, as well as bedroom cupboards and door panels. Most of this work will only require time and effort, not money, but will make the house look more attractive to a prospective tenant. However, do not renovate extensively as the requirements and preferences of each tenant are different. This is why you should stick to simple paint jobs that cost Rs 15-20 per sq ft.

2) Improve the utilities

Can you carve out ample parking space? Do you have power back-up and adequate water storage? Though homeowners cannot change the basic amenities in and around their localities, they can enhance the basic utilities. A tenant will quickly snap up a house where he can get a parking space and doesn't have to argue with his neighbours.

Similarly, he will be willing to pay a slightly higher rent to have an accommodation where he doesn't have to suffer power cuts and water shortage. So, installing an extra water tank or a powerful inverter adds to the appeal of your house. It's also beneficial if you can enhance the security of the house by installing double doors, mortise/cylindrical locks with deadbolts or a simple burglar alarm.

3) Increase space, storage

Is there any way you can add an extra room so that your house can beat the competition? If this isn't possible, can you enhance the storage space in the house? Ample storage is coveted by every tenant. To make the house look spacious, get rid of all junk. Many homeowners use a rental property to dump stuff they do not need immediately or cannot discard, such as furniture.

You could include and advertise it as part of a well-furnished house, but if it is very old and looks used or is of poor quality, it will put off the prospective tenant. So, get rid of old, bulky furniture or rusty almirahs and appliances.