Ready to Rent?
A checklist for rental property owners
A thorough cleaning is certainly part of the process, but there is much more to preparing a property for market than shampooing the wall-to-wall. Newcomers to the investment rental property arena often overlook key factors and smaller details when getting a rental home tenant-ready. The following checklist describes a few more items to consider.
Take time now, save time and expense later
You may be feeling anxious to get a tenant in place because the generated income is important for meeting associated expenses, but do create a comprehensive list of chores required, and allocate ample time to complete them. It’s also much easier to tackle these jobs when nobody is living in the home.
Review your coverage
Protect yourself with the proper insurance. There are policies available specifically for landlords. Meet with a professional insurance agent to discuss your personal situation.
It’s a dog’s world
This axiom has never been truer. People are devoted to their furry family members. Will you accept a tenant with a pet or pets? What is the upside vs. the downside? Wear and tear will probably increase, but it may be easier to find a quality tenant.
Set your rates
How much does a home similar to yours rent for in your area? What is the supply versus demand situation? Comparing numbers will help you price your rental home correctly. You don’t want to underprice it and miss out on extra income. But price it too high and it may languish on the market unrented.
Spruce it up
There may be myriad other considerations, but your rental home still has to make a great first impression when the right tenant comes along. Clean everything. Paint what needs painting. Groom the landscape. Add a touch of color with flowers or seasonal outdoor accessories.
Get the word out
Now that your house, paperwork, and policies are in shape, it’s time to reach out to potential tenants to let them know your home is available. There are many options for advertising your rental. Whether you engage a real estate agent or do it yourself via word or mouth and advertising online, always spotlight the best parts of the home.
Interview potential tenants
Everyone has heard a few renter horror stories. Take steps to reduce the risk of ending up with one of your own. Use an application to gather basic personal information. Meet the tenant in person. Run a credit check and background check on them. Ask for references and check them: Previous landlords, current employer, and personal references.
Write up a lease
A lease is standard operating procedure for nearly all property rental arrangements. In it, all parties agree to specific terms regarding issues, including but not limited to, rent, rules, and consequences for anyone who breaks the agreement. A lease should be written in an easy-to-understand format. Consult a legal expert for concerns about your rights and responsibilities.
Hire a management company
If all of the above tasks seem like more than you can handle due to time, family, and job constraints, professional property management might be the answer. If you have more than one rental property, or don’t live near your rental, it makes even more sense to hire someone to communicate with tenants, advertise your properties, and handle rent collection, maintenance and repairs, and more.