Tips for renting out your home

If you’re having trouble selling your home, you might have considered renting it out instead.  This is a great way to continue to be able to pay your mortgage and be able to sell in a few more years once the housing market turns around.  However, if you are a first time landlord, the process of having tenants in your home can be traumatic.  And being the winter, it’s harder to find people who need a place now.  Here are some tips to find good renters quickly.

1. Make it look move-in ready.  If you were living there or did have tenants in there previously, just like selling a house, the home has to be in showing condition.  Tenants are like buyers and generally move in quickly once they find something they like.  Make sure the home is clean, smells good, and appliances/fixtures are in working order.  Clean carpets if they’re dingy or you had a pet in there previously.  Also, if you moved out but are going to be renting the home, make sure that you have appliances in there.  If you took the washer/dryer when you moved, a tenant is going to need one, too.  Put them in first.

2. Make it available to a wider audience.  Hanging signs and advertising on Craigslist can definitely help.  Generally, for the cost of only 1 month’s rent, putting your home in the MLS can attract a lot more tenants.  And they’ve already been pre-screened.  Most Realtors have been working with a lot more renters since the market turned around.  In order to find them a place, they will have a credit report and background check.  By listing the home in the MLS, you open the rental up to a lot more people, especially those working with agents already.

3. Know your competition and price accordingly.  Make sure you look at comps to know what similar homes are renting for in the area.  You don’t want to be the highest priced.  Make sure you base your price on location, amenities, schools, etc. 

4. Make it available.  Tenants usually don’t have much time to wait when their lease runs out and they need a new place.  If you’re not going to be around to show it, this can be another great reason to list in the MLS.  Your Realtor can show it for you and/or put on a lockbox so it’s always available for tenants to look at.  And you want to be more open to your tenants.  Allow pets.  You can always charge a pet deposit in case the pet does something to the home.  You’ll open it up to a lot more prospects this way.

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Again, if you do find someone interested, make sure to get a recent credit report and run a background check if possible.  Contact past landlords to make sure they’re good tenants and they paid on time.  Ask for the first month’s rent and security deposit from a cashier’s check, rather than a personal check.

If you need help renting your home and want some MLS exposure, please visit me online.