Preparing Your Home for Market

Preparing Your Home

McGrath Real Estate Services, Inc. understands that as a landlord you are trying to maximize your profits and reduce your expenditures. Then you get an email from McGrath saying your new tenant wants the entire property repainted. They need all new carpets! Replace the dishwasher, install a new air conditioner! You probably say to yourself, well it was working fine while I lived there and you are probably right. However, one of the realities of being a landlord is that everything in your home has a life span and it could be up. McGrath Real Estate wants you to be prepared and expect that eventually parts of your home will reach their life expectancy and will need to be replaced in order to secure a quality tenant. Average life expectancy for common household components are:

  • Carpets — 6 years110726175921182
  • Paint — 3 years or less (more move-ins and move-outs tend to reduce life expectancy of paint, another benefit of longer term leases)
  • Washer & Dryer — 8-11 years
  • Refrigerator & Dishwasher — 10-12 years
  • Stove/Oven — 5-8 years
  • AC Unit — 12-15 years
  • Hot Water Heater — 10-12

Of course the life expectancy will vary depending on quality of material or equipment (low-, mid-, or high-grade), quality of installation, level of maintenance, and the intensity of use. It is very beneficial if you know when a certain component of your home was last replaced, let McGrath know so we have a record of age. If you have any questions about the replacement of an aspect of your home, please feel free to contact our Repairs Department at

Marketing & Showing Your Home

Securing a responsible quality tenant is the single most important factor in a positive rental experience. We’re going to work on obtaining this as quickly and effectively as we can, using the following steps:

  • Pricing: We must determine the appropriate fair market value of your home using comparables of what has recently rented similar in size and location to your house, along with what is currently active on the open market. Once the price is established we then draft the listing write-up. When you have recently hired McGrath to be your property manager, the agent that first met with you for your consult will be the agent representing your listing initially. Once the home has fulfilled a lease term and a tenant notifies McGrath of their intent to move out, we assign a Realtor from our team to represent your future listing to be your ‘stand-in’ and show the home to prospective renters. They are also the main point of contact for other agents who have clients interested in your home but may have questions prior to applying. For the agent assigned to your home, their first order of business is to visit the home and conduct a ‘Listing Assessment’.
  • Listing Assessment: This assessment occurs every time a property goes on the market. We find that when an owner is living in the property showing the home to prospective renters, the house shows fantastic and easily as the owner has an incentive to show the home in its best light at all times. There is a lot less control over ‘showing quality’ when a tenant occupies the home, but in an effort to improve this, we implemented these ‘walk-throughs’ by the listing agents for their listing assessments. The agents will educate the tenant on what is expected of them during the time the house is on the market. Also, in 2010 McGrath had an iPhone app created specifically for our company to streamline the process and ensure all the useful information obtained through these listing assessments was captured. It also has enabled each agent to personally familiarize themselves with your home and once they give the ‘all clear’ we activate the home on the rental market.
  • Landlords Activate CSS Showing & Feedback Access: We have added another feature to enhance our marketing efforts. Centralized Showing Service is a leading service provider for the real estate industry, dedicated to scheduling showings and streamlining showing activity and feedback for and from agents. You will be provided a link and portal to login to your own personal showing account, view number of showings and any feedback received. It will update every Wednesday. Check out this flyer for more information on the CSS showing service.
  • Marketing: Every agent in VA, DC & MD uses the MRIS website and statistics have proven it to be the primary form of renting our homes. We also advertise your home on,,,,, and which forwards your listing to over 100+ additional websites including but not limited to,,,,,, and many more!
  • Application Vetting: When an application is received we will process it thoroughly and present you the details such as credit, income and job title, previous and current landlord references, note if they have any pets as well as provide details on lease terms and help guide you through your decision to either accept or deny the applicants. Once a lease is agreed upon, we forward to the applicants who will have 48 hours to return and then we’ll email you a copy for your signature and lease ratification. At the day of move-in a detailed walk through is performed by one of our property inspectors who will note the condition of the property to use in comparison to their eventual move-out inspection.
  • Lease & Client Advocate Resource: Once the leasing phase is complete and the tenants take occupancy, your main point of contact will be the Client Advocates (Gregg Waters and Tim Savin):