The Make-Ready Process

Time is money. Once a tenant has given notice that they will be moving out when their lease ends, it is essential to make the property ready for the next tenant as soon as possible. The process used varies, depending on several factors. Is the property a large complex with many units and a residential manager? Are the tenants typically students or families? Or are you managing separate single family units dispersed through the city?


Prepare for the End of a Tenancy at the Beginning

  • Think ahead. Know your property. For example, the age of the roof, appliances, carpets, etc.
  • Know what upgrades you will be making to the property between tenants.
  • Have a list of proven vendors. Give them a heads up regarding any leases you know will be ending shortly.
  • Be sure to use a thoroughly constructed Inspection Check List, signed off by both tenant and landlord. There is much less to dispute at the end of a tenancy if there is agreement on the condition of the property in the beginning. Before and after pictures are, of course, helpful as well.
  • Re-Inspect the property using the same checklist every 6 months.

Once the tenant has given notice that they will be leaving, time is of the essence.

The Make-Ready Process

  • Schedule with the tenant a time to re-inspect the property - usually at least a week before they leave.
  • With the tenant, do a preliminary inspection.
  • Complete the 'Make-Ready' Checklist
  • Make sure utilities will remain on after the tenant leaves.
  • Order all necessary items immediately so that there won't be any delays during the make-ready process.
  • Create all necessary work orders and schedule vendors to get the property ready.
  • Once the tenant has completely moved out, re-inspect the property and send to the tenant a written explanation for any security deposit deductions beyond normal wear and tear.
  • Do a preliminary cleaning up of the property - removing any trash
  • Complete general maintenance.
  • Complete painting
  • Replace any appliances as necessary
  • Have all carpets either steam cleaned or replaced
  • Do a final cleaning of the property
  • Re-key all locks 'after' vendors have finished (depending on state property code requirements)
  • Complete a new Inspection Checklist that will be used with the next tenant.

Miscellaneous Helpful Suggestions

  • It is often useful to set Monday as the last day of the lease. That allows the tenants the weekend to move out and your vendors can begin work immediately on Monday.
  • If you have many units in one building, it is cost effective to paint them all the same color. This also makes it easier to do touch ups.
  • If you know you will be replacing appliances, be sure to have them ordered and available long before they will need to be installed.
  • Property managers are increasingly using Make-Ready software especially if they manage many properties. A well constructed Make-Ready program will keep everyone on task and save dollars.
  • If you don't have a Make-Ready checklist, there are many posted online that can be used.