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The Ultimate Apartment Make Ready Checklist for Landlords and Property Managers

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A contemporary apartment being readied by property managers, featuring a smart home control panel, modern kitchen with smart appliances, and a living room with smart TV and automated lighting, embodying a fusion of functionality and stylish design.


When one tenant moves out, and before the next moves in, landlords and property managers face the critical task of preparing the apartment, known as the ‘make ready’ process. This preparation is not just about cleanliness; it’s about ensuring the apartment is in the best possible condition to attract and satisfy new tenants. A detailed apartment make-ready checklist is an invaluable tool in this process, helping you save time, maintain property value, and ensure nothing is overlooked.

Cleaning Essentials

A spotless apartment is the first thing prospective tenants notice. Here’s how to ensure every room shines:

  • Living Areas & Bedrooms: Dust all surfaces, clean windows, shampoo carpets, and ensure all light fixtures are working.
  • Bathrooms: Disinfect all surfaces, check for mold, clean mirrors, and ensure all plumbing functions correctly.
  • Kitchen: Clean appliances inside and out, wipe down counters, and clean sinks and faucets.
  • Balconies & Patios: Sweep and wash down the area and check for any necessary repairs.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips:

  • Use vinegar and baking soda for safe, effective cleaning.
  • Opt for microfiber cloths over disposable wipes to reduce waste.

Maintenance and Repairs

Regular maintenance checks and repairs are vital to keep the property in top condition:

  • Appliances: Ensure all appliances are in working order and repair or replace as necessary.
  • Fixtures: Check all light fixtures, faucets, and door handles.
  • Plumbing & Electrical Systems: Look for leaks or electrical issues and address them promptly.
  • HVAC: Clean filters and schedule a professional inspection to ensure the system is efficient.

Safety Checks

Safety is paramount in any living space:

  • Check and replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Ensure fire extinguishers are accessible and not expired.
  • Review the apartment’s security features, like locks and alarms, for proper functionality.
  • Verify compliance with all local safety regulations.

Cosmetic Updates

Small updates can significantly enhance the apartment’s appeal:

  • Apply a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint to the walls for a clean, fresh look.
  • Update cabinet handles, door knobs, and light fixtures for a modern touch.
  • Ensure window treatments are clean and functional.

Final Walkthrough and Documentation

Before declaring the apartment ‘ready,’ conduct a final walkthrough:

  • Check every room for completion of cleaning, repairs, and updates.
  • Document the apartment’s condition with detailed photos or videos.
  • Keep a record of all maintenance and updates performed between tenants.


A thorough apartment make-ready process is crucial for attracting and retaining tenants. By following this comprehensive checklist, you ensure that every aspect of the apartment is addressed, from cleanliness to safety, making it a welcoming space for new occupants. Customize this checklist to fit the unique needs of your property and maintain a high standard of living for your tenants.


What is an apartment make-ready checklist?

An apartment make-ready checklist is a detailed list of tasks that landlords or property managers use to prepare a rental unit for new tenants. It covers cleaning, maintenance, safety checks, and cosmetic updates to ensure the apartment is in optimal condition.

How often should I perform maintenance checks on my rental property?

Regular maintenance checks should be performed at least annually, with more frequent inspections if the property is older or has had issues in the past. Additionally, maintenance should be addressed between each tenant to ensure the property remains in good condition.

What are some quick updates I can make to increase my apartment’s appeal?

Quick updates that can significantly enhance an apartment’s appeal include applying fresh paint, updating hardware like knobs and light fixtures, ensuring adequate lighting, and providing clean, functional window treatments.

Why is documentation important in the make-ready process?

Documentation is crucial as it provides a record of the apartment’s condition before the tenant moves in. This can be essential for resolving any future disputes about damages or maintenance issues and can also serve as a reference for what maintenance has been performed.

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