As the for sale market inevitably begins to slow, there may be more and more accidental landlords that choose to rent out their property rather than take a loss selling their home. Most of these accidental landlords need to figure out how to rent out a house, and fast.
This guide is meant for those non professional landlords that might have to rent out their house simply because they have no other choice.
How to Rent out a House
Find the perfect renter (market your property)
- Clean the rental property professionally. Remove everything that doesn’t need to be there. If you can leave your furniture in there prior to moving, that would be ideal. This will allow you to take high quality photos of the interior and exterior of the property.
- Determine the rental price of the property. There are a variety of rental rate tools out there but this article will help you determine the best rental price for your rental.
- Purchase a for rent sign at your local home depot for less than $10. Add your phone number and put on the front window of the rental so passerbys know it is available.
- Don’t waste your money on the newspaper. For the amount of cost compared to the quality leads you get is not worth the Return on Investment.
- Write down all of the major qualities, amenities, and differentiator your property has compared to other similar rental properties in your immediate area.
- Start to post your rental property on rental sites like rentbits, craigslist, hotpads, zillow, trulia. You can learn how to write the perfect ad which this how to article.
- Answer the phone and email leads that come to you immediately, you will have a service advantage compared to other local competitors since more than 50% of all rental leads currently go unanswered.
- Be prepared to show the property to interested renters. Never do this at night and preferably have someone else with you when you show the rental property.
Screen All Interested Tenants (rental screening)
- For all interested renters that would like to proceed, make sure you have a renter application that you can send. Hear are a few sample rental applications, and here.
- Run property background and credit checks.
Protect you and your Renter with a Rental Lease Agreement
- Work with a local real estate attorney to develop a rental lease agreement or you can use a third party website to generate one for you that would be specific to your state. Here are a few that you can use Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom.
- If you are in a State where Marijuana is legal, like Colorado, you can use some tips from this marijuana laws in colorado article.
Get Proper Property Insurance for Rentals (Managing)
- Speak to your current insurance agent and tell them you are going to rent out your property. They will help with getting the proper landlord insurance to help if anything happens to your property because of your renter.
- Although not mandatory in most states, you may want to think about making your renter get their own rental insurance. This will not only protect their personal belongings but can potentially also help you in case of a disaster.
Do a Property Inspection with the Tenant Before they Move In (Inspection)
- Walk the entire property with your tenant and take pictures and write down all items and their current condition. This will help with any uncertainty at the end of the lease when the tenant moves out. There are a variety of different types of inspection check-lists from here, here, and here.
Fix Issues that Arise Quickly (Managing)
- It is inevitable that something will break during the time the renter is in the property. Things like the heater, air conditioner, toilets and appliances tend to go out at the absolute worst time. Not to fear, there are some things you can do to make this less painful.
- For smaller items like plugged toilets, you can add this in the rental lease agreement that makes the tenant responsible for these small repairs.
- For other larger repairs like leaking sinks, broken pipes, AC / Heater not working etc, you can always use a service like Home Advisor to find a local plumber or handyman to fix these types of maintenance requests that come in.
Be Prepared for a Possible Eviction
- Although rare, if you follow all the right steps, it still does occasionally happen. You should never do an eviction your self.
- Instead, work with a property manager or a local real estate attorney to help you with this process. It can be long, and you want to make sure you have everything in order. Below is an example of a typical process for evicting a tenant.