Homeowners may choose to rent out their home for a variety of reasons: they are moving for a job and wish to retain the house; they are getting married; they inherited another home; they are becoming seasonal residents; or they are downsizing to a smaller property. In any event, going from homeowner to landlord can be a long process, but it is typically not a difficult one if the homeowner is prepared and keeps focus on renting their home rather than living in it.
To put your home up for rent, it will have to be in its best condition. Be sure you have money in savings to cover the time the home is unoccupied, and advertise the house for rent through various media and the Internet.
- Skill level:
Clean the house from top to bottom. The first step in getting a home ready for rent is to give it a thorough cleaning. Making sure the floor is vacuumed, mopped or waxed, the windows are clean and streak-free, blinds and counters are free of dust and all the appliances are cleaned inside and out.
If you are renting the home complete with furniture, leave only sofas, chairs and tables; you'll want to put lamps, pictures and other personal effects into storage or move them into your new house (if applicable). Alternatively, you may want to rent storage space for your furniture or personal effects.
Give the house curb appeal. The first thing a potential renter will see is the outside of the house and the condition of the yard. Shrubs and hedges should be pruned, the lawn mowed and trimmed and any exterior defects, such as broken doorbell knobs, shutters with peeling paint, cobwebs on the outside of the windows and dented mailboxes, should be taken care of. You should also have the exterior pressure washed and blow any leaves off the roof.
You'll want to plant flowers along the walkway or in the planter and plant flowers around the mailbox. If you don't wish to plant flowers, buy flowers in pots and place them in the same area. If the exterior is in need of a paint job, spend the extra money and hire a painter or do it yourself.
Determine your rental price. The amount you rent your house for can be determined by looking through your local newspaper and finding similar homes with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as the same liveable square footage. You can also look at online rental listing sites to find comparable homes and use those homes as a guide to determine how much your home can rent for.
You might try to find the best rental price by setting the price at the top of the average and gradually dropping it until you find a renter. Have rental applications in the house as well as your car in the event you find an interested party---these forms can be found online or at any office-supply store.
Advertise in your local newspaper, at online rental websites and on social-networking sites. You can also tell family, friends and coworkers that you have a house for rent.
Another idea is to contact a local real estate brokerage and inquire if they have clients looking for a rent-to-own situation or contact local companies that have locations throughout the United States and/or internationally and ask if they rent houses for their employees or executives.
Tips and warnings
- Have at least three months' worth of expenses (mortgage and utilities) in a savings account to cover those months the house goes unrented.
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