Planning to rent out your home? Here’s a quick and easy checklist to follow to make sure your house is ready for tenants.
1. Make some home improvements
Getting your home ready for rental is not that different from getting it ready for sale. Attracting high quality tenants is just like attracting high quality buyers.
If your property is already in good shape, then you won’t need to make any major overhauls. A good place to start is to make sure that basic house systems like the plumbing, the roof, and the heating are in good working condition.
If you’re looking to make improvements, go for those that give the most value. Among these are giving the house a fresh coat of paint, sprucing up the kitchen and bathroom, or improving the curb appeal with some landscaping.
2. Get landlord insurance
Your homeowner’s insurance only covers your single-family residence if its occupied by the owner. Once it’s a regular rental property, it doesn’t meet that specification anymore.
Inform your insurance provider that you’ve decided to become a landlord and look into landlord insurance.
3. Review your state’s landlord-tenant laws
Landlord-tenant laws detail the protections and remedies of you and your tenants’ rights, safety, and obligations.
Federal laws like the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act are enacted throughout the country, while state laws differ by location.
For example: Tenants in Tennessee can exercise the right to “repair and deduct” or withhold rent if their landlord fails to make important repairs to basic house systems like the heater.
See Tennessee Code Annotated Title 66-28-101 through 521 for more information.
4. Choose your pet policy
On one hand, you’ll have more renters to choose from if you allow pets. On the other hand, pets can be responsible for damage and other problems if the tenants aren’t careful.
If you decide to accept pets, make sure to have good pet and tenant policies in place.
5. Calculate how much you’ll charge
Make the rent you charge competitive with other rental properties of similar size, location, and amenities near you. High rent will garner less demand.
6. Make a marketing plan
Think about the type of renter you want to have and create a marketing plan to attract them.
Create ads that showcase the main benefits of your rental property and why it’s the best choice for them. Highlight the home’s best features and add great photos of it to your listing.
Research where your target audience will most likely see your listing and post it there. Depending on your particular area, these can include real estate websites, social media, newspapers, and more.
7. Create an airtight lease
A lease is a legal contract. It’s an agreement that outlines the rules and regulations that you and the tenant must adhere to.
Consult an attorney to make sure you’re properly protected and that the lease follows all the laws applicable and has no loopholes.
An airtight lease can protect you in case there are any disagreements or problems down the road.
8. Have a thorough tenant screening process
A thorough tenant screening process involves checking the following: credit card reports, criminal background, employment, eviction history, references, and more.
Making it a standard process for all applicants will help you find high quality tenants and screen out potential problem ones. This will also help you avoid any discrimination charges.
Don’t have time to deal with all of these?
A good property manager can take care of all the things on this checklist for you and more.
Professional property managers will effectively manage your investment property for you so you can focus your time and energy elsewhere.
Check out our article on the benefits of hiring a property managerand get in touch with us today.