You've decided to rent out your new property to make some extra money, but before you advertise your rental or have the tenant sign the lease there are several things you need to do to to get your property ready. To ensure a successful and smooth move in for both you and your incoming tenant, here are some helpful tips that you as a landlord can follow.
Talk to Your Lender
If you have a mortgage on the property, contact your lender. Some mortgages do not allow the property to become a rental, while others require a fee. Before you make your first move, make a call to the mortgage company. If they allow you to turn your property into a rental, you'll want to get that in writing from them and keep it for your records.
Figure Out a Price
In a perfect world, the rent you receive will cover the monthly mortgage, taxes, insurance, and other fees as well as provide extra income. Do a little research to find out what the rental rates in your area are for homes similar to yours. Check online, talk to nearby homeowners that rent their property, and seek the opinion of a few real estate professionals for a fair rental price. If you are able to find a property in an up and coming market, over time, the value of your property will increase in addition to the rental rates that you will be able to seek from tenants.
Fix and Repair
Prepare a checklist that includes fixtures, fittings, appliances, furniture, and flooring and replace or repair as needed. For example, you may have to change burned out light bulbs, repair leaky faucets, oil squeaky hinges, repair and paint chipped walls, replace worn and discolored carpet, and replace torn window screens. Hire a home inspector to ensure that you do not miss any repairs -- large or small.
Hire Professional Cleaning Companies
Hire a carpet cleaner to do a full steam and shampoo cleaning on the carpet throughout the property. You may find you need to replace less carpet once it's clean. Make sure to hire someone to come in and clean the interior from top to bottom. A rental should be clean and move-in ready for your tenants - and if possible, clean while it's on the market so prospective tenants can envision themselves living there. A professional cleaner will touch everything from baseboards to corners with cobwebs and dusty ceiling fans.
Paint the Walls
Painting the interior of a property does two things. It covers any unusual colors that tenants may not want in their home and makes rooms look cleaner and brighter. If possible, hire a professional painter to save yourself time and stress and to create a polished, professional look and prevent drip marks and possible stained carpets.
Change All Locks
Think about all the locks associated with your property - the front door, all exterior doors and doors on outer structures, the garage door,, the mailbox, and even alarm codes. Make sure all are changed prior to renting the property out to new tenants. When possible, simply rekey locks to save on cost. This will let you and your tenants rest easy knowing that no one else can enter the building without prior authorization.
Obtain Proper Insurance
If your property was your home prior to renting, you probably already have homeowners insurance. Now, as a landlord, you need a different kind of insurance, commonly referred to as "landlord's insurance." A landlord's insurance policy will cover the building and your possessions within the property while you're renting it out. You can also consider requiring tenants to carry renter's insurance which will protect your tenants in case of damage or loss, and frees you of any liability from damage to the tenant's belongings.
In order to get a property ready to rent, time and money are required. Appropriate actions to ensure that your rental is completely ready and free of damage and dirt will allow you to demand and obtain higher rents and attract better quality tenants.
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