Have you bought a new home before selling your old one? Are you temporarily relocating for work and want to defray your costs for an empty house? Do you want to try your hand at buying investment properties? Whatever reason you have to want to rent out your house, the goal is always to do it quickly and start making money.
Determine comparable rents. Ideally, of course, you want to rent your house as quickly as possible for as much money as possible. Comparing your home to similar ones for rent in your area is one of the best ways to establish your home’s rental potential.
- Search for house rentals in your area on real estate websites. Find “comps” that appear similar in size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age and condition, and neighborhood location.
- Check back every few days to see which ads have disappeared, which probably indicates a successful rental. You can also call and ask if certain houses are still for rent. This will give you an even better idea of the price level that moves rental properties like yours.
Make value-adding improvements. Before trying to rent out your house, you may feel like you need to fix up every problem, major or minor. Try, however, to focus on repairs and improvements that will bring your house in line with its “comps” and add value in higher rents.
- Make any improvements that need to be made — that is, meet the requirements of yourself, if you don’t want to rent it, who else will?
- Focus on short-term value additions like cleaning, touching up paint, and replacing broken window blinds. For landed houses, if your roof is leaking, for instance, more long-term improvements like a new roof are unlikely to bring back sufficient value in increased rents.
Weight the costs and benefits of renting your house. Before jumping into making any improvements or putting out your advertising, make a realistic appraisal of your likely rental income. Weigh this benefit against the potential costs — not only monetary ones, but also the possible headaches and hassles you may face as a landlord.
- Once you establish the prevailing rent for homes like yours in the area, consider closely whether this amount is sufficient to be worth your time and effort.
- If you are new to renting out property, or are concerned with your time or ability to deal with tenants, you may want to consider hiring a property manager. You can let them do all the “work” for you, often at the cost of the first month’s rent and thereafter. The money you paid is worth your time for dealing with it yourself.
List where people look. The way property rentals are advertised can vary depending upon where you live. While online listings are ubiquitous by now, the sites utilized and amount of alternative advertising done may differ widely.
- Even if you don’t subscribe to a local newspaper, buy copies every so often and look at the classified ads. If you see numerous listings for comparable houses for rent, you may decide that this is a good approach for you as well.
- List your house on the site(s) where you find the most nearby and similar house rentals. Utilize social media sites and video sites as well — for instance, linking to a video tour of your home posted on YouTube.
- Studies indicate that rental ads posted on Fridays and weekend are visited more often than those posted at other times, presumably because people tend to do their house-hunting on weekends.
Use your house as advertising. Some people prefer not to include an address with rental advertisements, so that they can ensure a proper showcase for potential tenants. However, there is no reason not to attract the interest of people passing by your house anyway.
- While a basic “For Rent” sign gets the message across, a professional-looking, easy-to-read, eye-catching sign can arouse much greater interest, especially if you are seeking a particular clientele. Spend time making attractive signage, or have signs printed up. Provide key information about the property (beds/baths, and perhaps one or two distinctive features like hardwood floors or a hot tub).
- Host an event that will draw people to your house. Hold, for instance, a yard sale and offer information and viewings to interested parties.
Get creative. If you’re lucky, placing an ad, putting out a sign, and waiting may be all you need to do. More likely, though, you will need to play a more active role in attracting the right tenant to your rental quickly.
- While you may want to think twice about renting to family or close friends because it inserts a personal element into a business relationship, utilizing this network to seek out potential leads can prove helpful. Have them ask around at work or places they frequent. Ask to place flyers at local businesses you visit regularly. Utilize your social media presence, and that of friends and family.
- If you need to find a tenant quickly or you’ve been advertising with no success for a while, you may want to offer incentives beyond just reducing the rent a bit. Offer referral fees, a first-month rent discount, or allow pets if you had not intended to (but can accept doing so). Draw people to at least take a look at your house, but still be selective in choosing the right tenant for your property.
Don’t take chances. No matter how eager you are to rent out your house, having no tenant is almost always better than having a bad tenant, as they can cause you more headaches and costs than they are worth. Make the property more appealing to good tenants, by rent reductions or improvements, instead of loosening your tenant screening standards.
- Choosing someone to occupy your house, especially if you are going to resume living in it later (but also just to preserve its future sale or rental value), is a big decision that should not be entered into lightly.
- Establish a rational, detailed, fair (and legal) screening process beforehand to find the best tenant for your house.
- Do a check established real estate agent can help to verify information about your potential tenant.
Obey the law. Even if it is not your intention, there can be a fine line between being selective in your potential tenants and appearing to be discriminatory. The last thing you need to be facing while trying to rent out your house is a discrimination complaint. It is your responsibility to know and obey all applicable fair housing laws.
- For the tenants you choose, provide a rental agreement that fulfills the legal requirements, a real estate agent should able to help you on that.
- Conduct a walk-through inspection before handing over the keys, take pictures for additional evidence of the condition of your house before move-in.
*As the above are general guideline as it do not cover all situation, engage a professional real estate for the job is always advisable.