Are you considering renting out your home? Perhaps you are looking for an additional source of income, you are struggling to sell the house or simply want a way to keep things ticking over until the economy improves. Whatever your reasons, renting out your home is an excellent way to increase your income for a relatively low level of expense and effort.
If this is your first time renting out a property, you should know what you are getting into. Without proper attention, your rental property could end up being more trouble than it is worth. Here are five top tips for getting the most impact from renting out your home.
5 Top Tips for Renting Out Your Home
#1 Know your responsibilities
Before taking the big step of renting out your home, you need to be aware of what is expected of you. Knowing and adhering to your responsibilities will keep your tenants happy and provide you with structure and guidance. Landlords have several legal obligations that they must adhere to. Throughout the tenancy, it is your responsibility to ensure you respond to all queries and complaints, keep the property well-maintained and deal with any repairs and issues that arise. You will also have the added jobs of collecting rent, managing your finances and conducting property inspections.
#2 Choose your tenants wisely
A good tenant will make your life so much easier throughout the process. For this reason, it is wise to have a screening process in place. Conduct a brief interview when meeting potential tenants to get a sense of their character and whether they might be likely to cause any trouble. You can conduct credit and criminal history checks online or ask for character references from employers and previous landlords.
#3 Charge the right amount
If the rent you charge is too high, you will struggle to find tenants. If it is too low, you will miss out on an opportunity to generate more income. Get an idea of an amount that is reasonable by checking newspapers, online rental sites and rental signs in your area. Be realistic about how much you can charge, but don’t sell yourself short.
#4 Protect yourself
You should never rent out a property without a detailed written agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord. A contract, signed by both parties, should outline such details as payments, house rules, eviction terms, as well as your own responsibilities. As a landlord, you will also need to be covered by rental insurance.
#5 Hire a professional
All the legal and financial technicalities can be overwhelming, so you might wish to consider hiring professionals. Talking with a lawyer or accountant can help you ensure you are abiding by tax laws and zoning regulations. Hiring a property manager can make your life easier by dealing with the tenants and maintenance on your behalf.
Renting out your home can be a pain-free process if you follow these tips. Once you have the hang of it, you may even wish to continue to grow your rental income by investing in additional properties. This is a big step to take, and it would be wise to talk with an expert before you do so, but it can be a highly lucrative way of generating extra income.