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5 Things to Do Before Renting Out Your House
Renting out your property may seem like an easy way to increase your passive income, but once you start the process, you may find that it’s more complicated than expected. Your home can sit on the market for months without a renter because it’s priced higher than fair market rent. A bad tenant may be late or outright refuse to pay rent; they have the potential to cause thousands of dollars in property damage and may ignore your attempts to evict them from your property until the authorities are involved.
So how can you avoid the headaches of these common rental property hassles? Here are five things you need to do before renting your home to reduce the risk and stress of being a new landlord.
1. Take a photo of the property
Property photos are necessary for several reasons. They are an important part of online advertising – otherwise advantageous rental offers without pictures of the property are often passed on by potential tenants because they do not want to wait for a house inspection to find out that the property does not have a layout or a design that suits them. These photos will also be useful when your future tenants move out, as you can use them to measure the damage to the property that occurred during the tenancy.
2. Assess fair market rent
While it may be tempting to charge a higher rent to make money back for recent renovations you may have done or moving costs from when you left the property yourself, the best thing you can do is do some market research: check to rental websites, newspapers, local landlords, estate agents and property management companies to determine the amount that properties of a similar location, size and condition are renting for.
3. Create a concise and effective rental application
An effective rental application will not intimidate potential tenants with its length, but will be comprehensive enough to be used for tenant screening purposes. Any additional information you need from the tenant should they pass the background check can be included in the rental documents. A good application will have places for the following items:
Social Security number
Current/previous addresses (last 7 years, including landlord name(s) and contact information)
Current employer (name, address, date of employment, income, contact details)
Authorization to obtain a consumer statement
4. Consider using the Properties Manager
Property managers typically charge a percentage of the monthly rent for their services, but in exchange they take care of things like finding new tenants, creating/signing leases, collecting rent, and issuing legal notices (including evictions). Hiring a property manager reduces the profit you get from rent payments, so you should carefully consider the cost-benefit ratio of these services.
5. Find good tenants
Finding a decent tenant is easier said than done – many applicants may be friendly, polite and seem like a good fit, but they will create a flood of problems for you. The best way to improve the quality of the tenants you rent to is to perform tenant screenings—that is, selecting tenants based on measurable fiscal and rental responsibility. Most landlords will charge rental applicants an application fee to cover the cost of tenant screening.
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