When you're deployed, and your house is sitting empty, you may wonder whether it's possible to earn extra money renting out your home until you return. There are some factors to consider before you list your home for rent. As always, be sure to contact a military representative to ensure that you're allowed to lease out your home if your housing allowance is being used to pay for it. While most people are allowed, it's still a good idea to verify before advertising.

Figuring Out How Much to Charge in Rent
When you're about to ship out and have no idea how much to charge in rent, there may be a time when panic sets in. How can you advertise your home for rent when you're not even sure what it might be worth to a potential tenant? Fortunately, these tips will help you calculate costs.

  • Determine how much you pay per month, taking into account utility costs, taxes, and insurance. Add enough to cover this amount and then some, as you will be taxed on the income you make from renting your home out.
  • Consider whether you want to include utilities or ask tenants to pay for them separately. Some landlords offer limited utilities, like trash and water, while asking tenants to pay for their own electric, heat, and cooling.
  • If you're thinking about allowing pets, be sure to get an extra pet deposit to account for any damage that might be done to your property.
  • Offer a discount if tenants will sign a lease for your full deployment, provided you know how long you'll be gone. Locking one tenant into a lease will save you the headache of having to find someone to fill a vacancy when you're away, so offering a discount makes sense.

Finding a Tenant from Afar
If you've already been deployed, finding a tenant is going to be tricky. Fortunately, you can follow these tips to get the vacancy filled without compromising on the quality of your tenant.

  • Consider asking friends and family members you trust if they know someone who's searching for a home to rent. Renting out a property comes with an inherent risk, and minimizing this risk by consulting people you know helps to ensure your home is not damaged by future tenants.
  • If you're worried about the tenant screening process and don't having anyone to consult, contact a property management group or Realtor for help. These professional organizations are able to help advertise your home for rent, screen potential tenants and make the right selection for you.
  • Always conduct a credit check when screening tenants, making sure to first ask permission to do so. A credit check will show you if tenants are reliable when it comes to paying their bills on time.

Staying Reachable to Tenants
Finally, be sure there's a way for tenants to reach you or a responsible party in case of an emergency. Leave emergency numbers with new tenants, and give them the most reliable contact information for you while you're deployed. Email addresses tend to be best.

If you're being deployed and want to keep a tenant in your house for the financial benefit, follow these tips to ensure that you find the right tenant at the right rent. Whether you're lining up a tenant before you're deployed or you're conducting the search from afar, filling your home with a paying tenant will help offset the costs of the home that you're not occupying while you're away.

POSTED March 04 2015 9:25 AM

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