These days, it is easier than ever to rent out your home. But with the increased popularity also comes increased competition. How can you help your rental property stand out from the crowd?

1. Photography. Good-quality photography should top your list. Potential renters absolutely judge a book by its cover, so make sure your photos stand out. Some tips:

• Never include people, pets or clutter in photographs.

• Don’t take photographs at night.

• Showcase your entire property. If a photo of a particular space or room is omitted, potential renters may suspect you have something to hide.

2. Bathroom improvements. Consider your rental property to be on the same level as the local inn or bed-and-breakfast. Cleanliness should be first and foremost. Beyond this, making bathrooms fresh and appealing should be part of any improvements. Some affordable fixes include adding additional lighting such as sconces, replacing a toilet and upgrading faucets and fixtures.

3. Kitchen improvements. Many potential renters will likely be committing to only a short stay. As such, the kitchen may not be fully utilized. Some essentials include a working and clean microwave, a fresh set of plates, glasses and utensils, as well as a fully functioning refrigerator. Looking to upgrade? Affordable updates include replacing door handles and cabinet knobs, adding new flooring and painting cabinets.

4. Curb appeal. As potential renters may be looking to rent your property as a vacation retreat, many may be focused on atmosphere, both inside and out. In cooler months, potential renters may be looking for outdoor amenities such as fire pits and hot tubs, while in warmer months, an outdoor grill will have appeal.

5. Stage your rental. The better your property looks, the more it will appeal to potential renters. Look for ways to style your rental property, including affordable artwork, area rugs, toss pillows and throws, as well as accessories such as vases, coffee-table books and blooms. Also, don’t forget good quality bedding for bedrooms. For those with smaller spaces, adding mirrors can go a long way to open up a space.

6. Paint. Painting remains one of the most affordable home improvements. If your space has too many custom colors or needs a quick refresh, consider adding a fresh coat of paint.

7. Clear out the clutter. Once you place your property onto the market for rent, it becomes a product that will be compared with other products. To appeal to the largest number of potential renters, create an oasis for them by clearing out your space of personal items and excess.

8. Neutral palette, bright accents. When choosing colors to use in your space, neutral hues almost always work best. Black, white and taupe help create a soothing environment and serve as ideal foundation colors. Bright accents will help perk up your space.

9. Welcome package. Creating a sense of welcome will help your guests feel special. Some of the more successful rental properties greet guests with a welcome package that may include local foods and wines, as well as relevant guide books relating to the area.

10. Reviews matter. For many websites, the volume of rental bookings coming is made and broken on reviews, both quantity and quality. Be sure to make a good impression on your renters, and be responsive to inquiries and potential issues.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is a TV host and interior design and home-staging expert.