If you’re getting ready to rent out your property, there are essential steps you must take to ensure your assets are protected. Follow these guidelines to ensure the best rental process for you and for your future tenants.
- Understand the Responsibility
If you’re looking to rent out your own property, you have to understand the responsibility that accompanies this venture. Should something break, it will be on your shoulders to have it fixed as quickly as possible. Becoming a landlord can be a fulltime job depending on the amount of properties and tenants you choose to rent to. If you’re not sure you can handle the responsibility or inconvenience of being at the beck and call of your tenants, managing your own property might not be your preferred way of renting.
- Hire a Professional
If you don’t want to be constantly on call for your tenants, you should consider hiring a professional property management company. They deal directly with potential tenants, can help collect rent, take care of any maintenance issues that come up, and perform eviction duties should it become necessary. While their services don’t come cheap, property managers are a good idea for landlords who are busy with other priorities or jobs, and for those who don’t want to deal with the daily ins and outs of tenants.
- Get the Right Insurance
Make sure you have the right coverage for your property. Work with an insurance broker to determine exactly what is covered under your plan. This will help you be prepared should any natural disaster or similar event occur. Many landlords also now make personal renter’s insurance mandatory for their tenants, and the extra coverage it provides can help keep both you and your tenants financially safe. The proper rental insurance will cover damage tenants may cause and help protect you should a renter try to bring legal action against you.
- Screen Any Potential Renters
You’ll have a variety of potential tenants to choose from, as renting instead of buying makes more sense for many in the current housing market. Use something like Smartmove rental screening to ensure your potential tenants hit all the right marks. This service can help you determine their eviction history, tell you their credit score, and find out if they have a criminal past. Your potential tenants will also appreciate that their personal information is kept secure, and you’ll have them vetted in one easy step. This is especially important if you decide against using a property manager.
- Home Inspection
You’ll definitely want to have your home inspected before considering any potential tenants. This inspection will help you determine any structural issues, maintenance concerns, and problems left from previous tenants. Taking this extra step may save you money in the long run as you can fix issues before they progress, and can protect you from legal troubles should there be a dangerous problem discovered. If you do this home inspection before your tenant moves in and after they move out, you’ll have proof and documentation of any issues or damage that may have been their doing.
- Draft and Review Your Lease Agreement
Make sure your lease agreement is perfect down to the very last detail. Start with a general lease agreement and change it to match your specifications and particular requirements. Make sure your expectations are crystal clear, with no room for tenants to use your words for their own purposes. Outline your conduct expectations, pet policies, security deposits details, and rent expectations for starters. Once you have your lease completed, consider having it looked over by a lawyer well-versed in real estate and rental legalities. If it’s approved, sit down with your tenant and go through the lease line by line. This will ensure no surprise rules for them, and you’ll have an airtight policy guideline that should protect you if you ever find yourself in court over a tenant issue.
- An In-Depth Update
Even if you feel the house is in great shape, it’s a good idea to have professional cleaning services come in and do a top-to-bottom scrub. During this time, you should also repaint the house, tend to any gardening, and update fixtures. Renters can be choosy in the current housing market, and you want to ensure you get to pick from the top of the heap of potential candidates.