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The Top Tips for Renting Out Your House

08 Apr

The Top Tips for Renting Out Your House 

Renting out your house can be a wise way to make some extra money, whether renting out a vacation home or your main home when you're out of town. However, plenty of time, effort, and often stress comes with the responsibility. How do you know it's the right choice for you? And how do you manage all the ins and outs of renting your house while gaining the most profit? 

In this blog, you'll discover what it takes to be a first-time landlord and the tips for success! 

Should You Rent Out Your House? 

As a first-time landlord, you'll have to make mistakes and learn the hard way until you get the hang of things. Doing your research and talking to people with experience can help you get a better start, but personal experience is how a landlord learns best. 

From staying on top of repairs and maintenance to choosing trustworthy tenets and collecting rent, there are many facets to renting out your house. If you believe you have the extra time and energy to take on a new responsibility, then becoming a landlord may be the right choice for you! Otherwise, you have much to consider before getting involved with this new investment. 

Another critical factor in deciding if renting out your house is right for you is determining if your home is ideal for renting. Is it in a desirable area? Is your home ready for tenants?  

How to Get Started with Renting Out Your House 

Before jumping right in, it is recommended that owners get familiar with the process of becoming a landlord. This will help you understand if this profit-generating avenue is right for you. If it is, then use the following steps to guide you through the process of renting out your house for the first time. 

First, Consider Your Finances and Set a Rental Rate 

The first thing you should do when considering renting out your house is to make a financial plan. One of the biggest mistakes first-time landlords make is jumping right in without ensuring they know the true cost and profit of renting out a home by exploring all the details. To know if the time and effort are worth it, collect as much information as possible. 

To make the most of this investment, you must think long-term about the costs and renting process. Below are just some of the expenses you need to consider: 

  • Property taxes 
  • Mortgage payments 
  • Insurance 
  • Maintenance and repair costs 
  • Upgrades 

The other side of the budget is the rental rate and income. While you need to set a rental price that covers the expenses to make a profit, you also need it to be low enough to attract tenants. Research the rental rates in your area and compare your home to the amenities and quality of others to set a practical and profitable price. 

Next, Make a Management Plan 

Before posting the rental listing online and interviewing potential tenants, have a plan in place for how you will handle maintenance issues, collect rent, track repairs, and more. These guidelines will need to be in the leasing agreement or communicated to tenants, so they must be determined before you allow applications. 

Should You Hire Help to Manage Your Rental? 

Managing all repairs, concerns, and records yourself maximized your investment. However, if you are busy or live far from the property and can't make it over promptly, doing it all yourself may not be possible. In that case, consider hiring a management company or an individual to be more available for your tenants.  

It's also a good practice to choose your go-to trusted vendors ahead of time, such as: 

  • Pest control 
  • HVAC maintenance 
  • Plumbing  
  • Electricians 
  • And more. 

Third, Understand Landlord and Tenant Laws 

Most state and local governments have landlord-tenant laws. As a new landlord, it's your responsibility to educate yourself on the regional rules and regulations. Another significant mistake beginner landlords make is not learning and understanding laws, which can lead to legal trouble and potential lawsuits. 

Federal laws also regulate housing safety and more. Be sure to understand the following: 

  • Federal Anti-Discrimination Law 
  • Federal Housing Law 
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act 

Then, Write a Lease 

Online, there are many basic templates of leasing contracts to get you started on your draft. While writing the lease, you will encounter important decisions, like pet policies, late fees, and deposits. Do your research and explore the leasing terms of other properties in the area and those with similar amenities. 

Furthermore, ensure your lease agreement is legal and doesn't have loopholes by consulting with a lawyer. 

Finally, Market Your House and Screen Potential Tenants 

The last step to becoming a landlord is to market your home for rent and begin the process of accepting applications and interviewing tenants.  

Create a Marketing Plan 

Start by making any necessary repairs and upgrades to the house to make it market-ready. Then, stage the home and take quality photos for competitive advertising. It helps to hire a professional for this step if you don't trust yourself to get quality photos that stand out from other online listings. Photographs of the home are a vital element in attracting renters. The better the pictures, the more money people are willing to pay for rent. 

Next, post the photos and details of the house on rental sites. There are many to choose from, and listing your home on more than one site can help you attract more potential renters. You can also spread the word by talking to your community, family, friends, and co-workers. 

Connect with Possible Tenants 

As the applications come in, keep them organized by which ones stand out as ideal tenants and which ones may not fit your expectations. When you come across an attractive application, be sure to follow up quickly to set a date for a phone interview or a meeting in person. Remember, the people applying are likely considering multiple properties, so reply in a timely manner! 

The interviewing or screening process can go according to your preference. However, there are specific questions you may want to ask or things you should clarify and confirm about their application. Do your research to discover the common questions landlords ask potential tenants. 

Tips for First-Time Landlords 

Now that you're all good to go, get familiar with what renting out your home will be like! Below are a few tips to make being a beginner landlord easier. 

1 | Protect the Security Deposit 

As tempting as it may be to spend the renter's security deposit on the next maintenance repair, your month's groceries, or other bills and expenses, it's best to keep the deposit in a safe place. The last thing you want is not to have the security deposit returned to your tenant when they move out.  

2 | Keep Detailed Records 

Managing anything requires keeping a detailed record, and being a landlord is no exception. One of the first additions to your documents will be a variety of photos of the rental home before the tenant moves in. That way, you have something to compare to when the tenant moves out of the property and you need to assess damages. 

Other records you will continuously add to your documents will be maintenance requests and how they were resolved, whether hiring pest control or fixing a simple plumbing issue yourself. 

Also, keep track of your rent collections– Record the date, time, amount, and payment method, even if this is the same every month.  

Get all communication with your tenant in writing. And if a conversation occurs over the phone, don't forget to send an email or letter to confirm any decisions made or concerns and requests discussed on the phone call. 

3 | Consider Landlord Insurance 

Just as the renter is encouraged to get renter's insurance, you should invest in landlord insurance when renting out your home. This helps protect against damages, loss of income, liability, and more, depending on your chosen plan. 

4 | Communication is Key 

From the start of your time with the tenant, prioritize good communication. Here are some ways to establish trust and keep consistent, open communication with a tenant: 

  • Respond to questions, comments, and concerns quickly and professionally 
  • Address repairs and maintenance requests in a timely manner 
  • Respect your tenant's privacy 
  • Be professional and kind in conversation 
  • Do your best to understand your tenants, regardless of their reporting, asking, or requesting. 


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