Saving Money During a Tenant Turnover

By L. Roberts on February 7, 2020

When you’re a landlord, you often encounter tenant turnover. This is when a new tenant is moving in, and you have to “turn” the property so it’s nice and clean for your new renter. Turning a property in a new leasing season can be pricey — especially if you’re having to repair a lot of damages from the previous tenant. If you’re a property manager who rents to college students, it’s likely that you’ve encountered some pretty expensive “turn” seasons.

Because property managing isn’t always incredibly lucrative, it’s important to most managers to save money during the tenant turnover season. If you’re looking for ways to save money (no matter how big or how small!) follow these tips:


1. Change out all lightbulbs.

You might not think that lightbulbs make a big difference, but changing them all to energy-conserving, LED bulbs are actually a much better investment for you in the long run. I’ve lived in several places that required the tenant to change the lightbulbs, but if you’re not one of those managers, you should switch out all of your bulbs and consider it to be an investment.

If you do allow your tenants to change the lightbulbs, make sure you’re ready for all kinds of nonsense that comes with that. It is likely that your tenants will break the glass on fixtures, drop ceiling fans, or otherwise somehow damage your property while trying to change the bulbs. On average, LED bulbs last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours. It’s much less likely that your tenant will have to change the bulbs as often if you go ahead and change out your bulbs now.

2. Consider a master key system.

Walking around your property with a huge set of keys not only looks ridiculous, but it wastes a lot of your time. When you’re in “turn season” and you’re getting ready for new tenants, you don’t want to be wasting time looking for the right key to a unit. You should set up your property to have a master key system. This means that while tenants all have their own key that only works in their door, you can have a key made that will work in all of them.

Depending on how many locks you have on your property, this can get pretty expensive. But when a tenant locks themselves out of their apartment or they lose the key you gave them, you can easily let them back in without having to figure out which key works in their building.

3. Stick to the same paint.

Buying in bulk is obviously the most cost-effective way to shop. Instead of painting your properties all kinds of different colors, stick to the same color so you can buy your paint in 5-gallon buckets. It’ll not only save you money when it comes to re-painting your properties, but it’ll also save you time when it comes to buying the paint and figuring out what color goes where. It’s much, much easier to keep all of your properties the same color.

4. Rip up the carpet.

You can save all kinds of money by making sure you don’t have any carpet in any of your properties. Carpet cleaning costs money, and when you’re trying to “turn” a property for a new tenant, you’ll have to hire someone who will clean the carpets really well. Instead, rip up the carpet and put in all hardwood flooring. Sure, it’s likely that it’ll get damaged over time, but it’s much easier to keep clean and to replace if something happens.

Your tenants will also likely appreciate that your property has hardwood floors. They are always welcome to put down rugs, but for your sake, cleaning hardwood floors is much cheaper than having a company come in to clean carpets.


5. Hire a cleaning crew

When you’re trying to get every nook and cranny, just hire a cleaning crew to go through and clean your properties. If you try to hire an individual, there’s not as much protection against things getting broken or the wrong cleaner being used on your items. If you hire a cleaning crew, it is likely that you’ll get professionals who are reviewed and backed professionally. If something turns up broken, or a cleaner stained something on your property, it’ll be easier for you to follow up.

If you use the same cleaning crew time and time again, they’ll get faster at cleaning your properties, cutting down on your turnaround time, and ultimately, saving you money.

6. Put in mini-blinds

You’ll have to replace lots of drywall if you allow tenants to hang up their own curtains or nail a blanket over the window. If you go ahead and invest in putting up blinds, you’re likely to save money in the long run. It might be a bit of a pain in the beginning, but in the end, you’ll be glad you did it.

“Turning” your property can be expensive. It’s annoying, it’s hard, and there’s a lot of pressure behind how fast you can get your property taken care of and ready for your new tenant to move in. Part of being a property manager is being able to manage people and paperwork, but also keeping your tenants happy. You want to be able to “cut corners” by saving yourself money, but not delivering any less of a product. If you follow these six tips, you’re likely to save money and make your tenants happy this tenant turnover season.

By L. Roberts

Uloop Writer
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her pup at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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