How To Prepare Your Property For The Rental Market

Painting walls, interior decorationPeople have different reasons for renting out their property. Some people are in the property rental business and own and/or manage a large number of properties. Other people need to move somewhere temporarily but want to keep their home for future use. Then there are people who are determined to sell their property—but only at a price the market is not willing to pay yet. For these people a great option would be to rent out that property for a while. After all, smart investors are buying up and renting properties quite deliberately because they realize that a rental home is not just an asset that can appreciate over time, but one that can also produce income at the same time. Rental prices are on the rise and why not take advantage of that?

Whatever your reason for renting out your property, it will most likely need some work to get it ready for the rental market and get top dollar. Preparations in the following areas should be considered before your rental hits the market:

1. Make the Necessary Repairs and Check All Safety Features
On the top of the list should be all heating, plumbing, and roofing issues. All other issues that could be considered safety issues should be addressed as well. Repairs made now will save you time and money in the long run, and will safeguard against increased damage and costs later. Be sure fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in place and have been tested, and double-check that all windows, doors, and locks are in good working order.

2. Clean and Add Curb Appeal!
Clean the house thoroughly, including closets, fixtures, and appliances. Replace dirty carpets, polish wood floors, and make sure that the grout in tile floors has been spruced up. Remove all debris and trash from the entire property. If a one-time rubbish bin rental is necessary, go for it. Where needed, give each room a fresh coat of neutral colored paint. On the outside, tidy up the lawn and landscaping and make sure that the property has curb appeal. Sometimes replacing a mailbox, front door, adding some color by displaying flower pots, or a coat of fresh paint, can make a huge difference.

3. Prepare Proper Documentation of Your Home and Its Contents
Plan to inspect and document your rental home before tenants move in; then once again immediately after they move out. This is imperative and will serve as documentation of damage caused by the tenant if that warrants withholding the security deposit for repairs. Photos, a checklist, and even a quick video can do the job.

4. Decide on Clear Leasing Criteria and Screen Your Tenants Thoroughly
Before you prepare a rental application, it’s a good idea to pin down the leasing criteria to help determine who will be qualified to become your tenant. Some common criteria to take into account are:

  • No prior evictions
  • Good credit
  • No foreclosures or bankruptcies
  • No criminal convictions
  • No pets
  • No smoking
  • Good References

A quality tenant background check is a must. An online service like Houserie to do your screening for you makes a tenant background check a breeze.

But whatever your choices, do remember to follow the Fair Housing Act guidelines.

5. Get Rental Property Insurance (Landlord Insurance)
Landlord insurance is not the same as renters insurance, which covers the tenant’s property. A good landlord insurance policy protects you; it should cover everything from major damage inflicted by tenants to legal action they might take against you.

6. Prepare All Lease Documents in Advance
There are many basic lease agreements and other documents available online that can be downloaded. You can also have an experienced lawyer prepare (or just review) these documents. Other rental documents you might need include credit check authorization forms, move-in checklists, and any other notices you wish to post to tenants. These forms are all available online.

Preparing your property for the rental market is an important and critical step in the leasing process. Following some of the advice mentioned in this article will make the whole process a lot easier and will give you more bang for your buck. If this sounds like too much work, a property management company can handle some or all of it for you.

How landlords can reduce property maintenance costs

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Investing in a rental property is a commitment, and requires proper care and devotion to enable it to become profitable. Maintaining and managing a property can be expensive, but these two simple cost-cutting measures can help you reduce your overhead and make a solid return on investment.

Reduce Home Maintenance Service Costs by fixing small maintenance problems yourself

Quality of living is a very important factor to your residents, and therefore it’s essential to ensure that maintenance issues are resolved quickly and efficiently, especially when the issues involve structural problems and water damage. Toilet leaks, major dry wall cracking, and roofing related issues require immediate attention and need to be fixed properly and quickly without a delay.
Normally you would utilize the services of a handyman or professional, but honestly, the vast majority of home maintenance tasks you can accomplish with relative ease yourself. For specialized maintenance consider hiring a professional, but fixing run-of-the-mill issues yourself is a great way to cut down on those costs. Taking up the repair duties will obviously demand more of your time and physical exertion, but it’s a nice way to drastically reduce the costs generally associated with home maintenance.

Opt for a Resident Manager Instead of a Management Company

This is contingent upon the number of properties you’re attempting to manage. If you don’t feel you can effectively run the place yourself, consider hiring a Resident Manager to focus on the daily duties. He/ she will be tasked with acquiring new tenants, monthly billings, and maintenance (a nice solution for the aforementioned reduction of home maintenance costs).
Management companies are far more expensive and not always the ideal solution. From a cost-effective standpoint, if you cannot attend to all the management needs, hiring a singular individual makes more sense as opposed to a company.

In Summary

Rental properties are long-term investments, and reducing home maintenance costs by either fixing small problems yourself or by hiring a Resident Manager instead of a Management Company you can save lots of money, reduce your overhead significantly and experience profitability sooner rather than later.

Author Bio: Trevor enjoys writing about home improvement and the housing industry’s continuous innovations. He’s currently marveling at the efficiency of geothermal heat pumps.

Five Great Tips for New Landlords

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A landlord’s responsibilities run the gamut of planning, maintenance, safety, and legalities. Most new landlords just don’t realize how much really goes into renting their property. Safety is one of the most important priorities, but a new landlord should also be careful about choosing the right tenant, keeping the property safe and clean, following state laws and regulations, and even creating a solid lease agreement. Before you list your property on Rentalroost.com to find potential tenants, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Safety. Before even thinking of leasing out your property, bring in professionals to make sure it is safe and suitable for a tenant to live there. In particular, hire someone to look for bug infestations, electrical issues, gas leaks, plumbing problems, building code violations, and fire safety issues.
  2. The contract. This is another of the most important steps a new landlord can take. The lease agreement is a great way to specify your rules regarding rent payment, policies on pets, damage, and renter’s insurance. It is also good to outline the eviction process you have in place and any other specific details you have for your property.
  3. Insurance. Landlords must have special landlord insurance on all of their properties to cover the buildings and sometimes even the contents inside if the property is being rented furnished. You may need to check with your state, as most states have differing rules and regulations regarding landlord insurance.
  4. Repairs and renovations. As a new landlord, you must get the property for rent suitable and ready for habitation. This can mean making necessary repairs, changes, renovations, and improvements to the property before even beginning a tenant search. This could also potentially attract a lot more interested potential renters.
  5. Screen tenants correctly. Always be sure to check references (past landlords) and income information, and to run a credit and background check. If they’ve had any past bankruptcies or foreclosures, both should come up under the credit check.  This is one of the most crucial steps for new landlords, and many do not conduct a strenuous tenant screen like they should. Houserie.com can help landlords perform background checks quickly and easily, with minimal paperwork or time wasted! You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your tenant is reliable.

Using all the Senses to Attract Potential Tenants

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All of our five senses—smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste—can be used effectively by landlords to market their property and attract potential tenants. Landlords too often focus on sight alone to rent their property. However, the other four senses can also be used with more success and faster rental numbers. Here’s how to market using all of the five all-important senses:

  1. Smell. Any tenant who enters a property that has a musty or moldy smell will immediately notice and most likely not rent the unit. First off, make sure everything is clean and well maintained. You can then get creative – use vanilla-scented or “fresh linen” candles, use home fragrance sprays that also get rid of germs while simultaneously disinfecting the home, or bake bread or cookies in the unit before potential tenants arrive. The warm delicious smell is sure to invite several potential renters!
  2. Hearing. Even if your property, or a specific unit, is near a busy highway, there are certain things you can do to minimize the home’s noises for potential tenants. Try to put in double-pane windows to bring down outside noise; insulate around doors and windows; and also try showing the unit at a time when the noise is less blatant. If you cannot do the aforementioned, try playing soft, soothing music throughout the unit or home during showings.
  3. Taste. This is the trickiest of the senses to use when attracting potential tenants. However, it can be very effective if you have a plate of cookies (either home-baked or catered by a local place) for potential tenants to nibble on or even having wine for them to enjoy as they check out the unit. This can help put the tenants at ease, while also making your particular home memorable in their search for a rental.
  4. Touch. When you first meet the tenant, give a firm, not-too-strong handshake. Then, let them touch things in the property (open cabinets, take their shoes off to feel the tile or carpet, etc.). This will allow the tenants to interact with the property and familiarize themselves with the home in the same manner that they would use it.
  5. Sight. This is the main sense that most landlords use for marketing their property, and it is probably the most important one. Don’t just rely on the property or unit itself to attract the tenant. Try using finishing touches such as light decorating or “staging” to get the tenant to sign that lease agreement. Set out fresh flowers, light candles, use colorful throw pillows (for units that come already furnished), and be sure to point out any recent renovations you’ve completed.

How to Write an Effective Ad for Rental Properties

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Listing your property for rent—whether in print or online—is one of the most important and effective marketing steps you can take for renting out your unit. For maximum benefits and to stand out from the crowd of property listings, follow these simple easy tactics:

  1. Create a headline that makes renters want to read more. Most rental ads will start out with either the number of bedrooms/bathrooms or a succinct phrase like “Good, clean.” To really make your headline stand out, try using something like “Just miles from the beach,” or “Gorgeous hardwood floors throughout.” Use attractive features of the unit/property to really capture a potential renter’s attention.
  2. Use lots of photos. Renters love listings with pictures of the property. Focus on the kitchen, living-room, bathrooms, bedrooms, and any unique features of the unit (fireplace, hardwood floors, or gorgeous kitchen countertops). It might also be helpful to include pictures of great views from the property, if any.
  3. Write a complete, thorough description. Write the listing as if you are walking through the property. Start by describing the rooms, special features, the location, and also note if you have an application fee and how much it is. This lets the renter know the cost up-front so they won’t go into the application process and get surprised with the fee.
  4. End the listing with a call to action. A short call to action would include a phrase like “Make sure to take advantage of this month’s rent special” or “Get the first month’s rent for free if you answer this ad today.” This will entice potential renters to get in touch with you soon so that you can rent out the property quickly.