Home or apartment owners looking to sell their property are often encouraged to ‘stage’ for potential buyers. If you are new to the real estate market, you may be unfamiliar with what exactly staging means.

Staging a home or apartment simply means fixing and decorating the property so it’s as appealing as possible for potential buyers at a showing or open house. While this may just sound like taking the vacuum out of your closet or putting a wreath on the front door, staging can be more time consuming than it initially seems.

Staging is traditionally associated with properties up for sale, but staging a home or apartment for rent is becoming more and more common. Rental prices continue to rise across the United States, and staging represents a way for landlords to get a leg up on the competition in their area. Let’s take a look at a few tips for staging a rental property for showing.

Curb Appeal

The idea is to make the property appear as welcoming, spacious, and vibrant as possible. Cleanliness is definitely a big part of this equation, but you should also be thinking about your property’s best attributes and qualities. Once you’ve determined those, ask yourself how to accentuate those qualities to the best of your ability. What color scheme is going to work best with the property’s furniture and natural brightness? What small appliances or accessories can you add to really bring a specific room together?

One common mistake property owners make while staging is focussing too much on the interior of their property and neglecting the exterior. The first thing potential renters will see at your property is the front yard or doorstep. Just like the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Be sure to mow the lawn, trim plants, and make sure the overall exterior is clean and welcoming.

This is even more relevant for a rental property; while some property buyers may relish the opportunity to purchase a “fixer upper”, that’s almost never the case with renters. No one looking to rent a property for a year or two will be interested in doing excessive cleanup or refurbishment work to the exterior.

Give Each Area a Purpose

While staging your rental property for showing, it is a good idea to give each room (and more specifically, each area) a clearly recognizable purpose. If a certain room is meant to function as an office, make sure there is a desk, chair, and an overall color scheme and atmosphere that is conducive to getting work done. If your property has a balcony, bring a few folding chairs outside.

Think of yourself as an interior decorator here. If you are having trouble finding the right arrangements, try searching the web for popular interior designs in your city or town; it can be as easy as typing in ‘interior design Boulder CO’ or ‘interior design tips San Diego CA’.

Make Sure Applications are Available

Potential renters are much more likely to move quickly on a deal than potential buyers, and have often already done their due diligence or research on the property. To that end, always be sure to have rental application information readily available during rental showings. This can be done the traditional way via paper rental applications, or if you’re looking to cut back on clutter, opt for a free rental application online.

You can have convenient business cards or magnets printed with information on how to apply for the rental online. More and more landlords are using online rental applications, and there are a number of services you can use.