First of all, Why? You wouldn’t want someone who would rent a dump from you, would you?
#1 Clean, clean, clean. Trash out (and not on the back stairs where it will get picked through and thrown around). Furniture out, even if you think this left-over “period-piece” goes perfectly with the unit. It was left behind for a reason.
#2 Windows clean. As in double hung, in and out. and Storms, in and out. Remember the first time you saw the unit that it had a view and plenty of light shone in?
#3 Paint, touch-up. If you’re one of the 2% of Landlords that marks and saves the paint you originally used you have a half a chance. However paint fades, dust and dirt accumulate and the colors are difficult to match when you touch up.
#4 Paint the whole unit. If it’s been more than 3 years since you’ve painted it. You owe it! Stain Kilz, in a spray can, for touching up stains. I like to wash and prime, seems to last longer. Some Landlords will only paint 2 coats of finish.
#5 Floors, hardwood shine and/or sand and polyurethane. Vinyl, replace with self stick floor tiles (you may want to have your significant female other select the color).
#6 New switch/outlet plates are only about 19 cents. Be careful removing existing plates, you don’t want to rip half the wall down. Use a razor knife around the perimeter just in case.
#7 Appliances, clean, replace any missing controls/knobs. We had one Tenant cook sauces and soups every night for a large family. They moved after 2 years. We went through the unit and I had to take the Oven/stove combination to the yard to clean it. Six cans of easy-off oven cleaner, I still wouldn’t eat anything cooked with it. After 30 minutes and 96 quarters at the self serve car wash, I gave up and left it there. Now the footprint where that appliance had been sacrificed… Yes we removed and replaced that kitchen floor.
#? I’ve got a few more tips, like read the meters (electric and gas) in case there’s a dispute on who pays what and from when. Anything you can add? Mike