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Image of a couple sitting down and learning about their area's marketThere are a lot of different reasons why a homeowner might consider putting their home for rental. Perhaps they just bought a new property and need income until the other sells, or maybe they own a home with a separate apartment space. Whatever the reason, there are several steps toward preparing a home for rental. We’ve put together some advice to help you succeed as a new landlord.

Get to know your area’s market. Is your area currently in an up or down market? There are a lot of reasons why people may or may not be looking for a rental unit, and many of those reasons have to do with the market. If house prices are rising and pricing out many people with low-to-mid-level incomes, they may seek rental property more aggressively. If there are lots of available rentals on the market, it could be much more difficult to find qualified tenants. Do your research and go in prepared.

Make sure you select qualified tenants. All tenants are not created equal. Consider the space your renting and what sort of tenant would be best for that space. Is it a small space near a college that would best suit a pair of students, or a home large enough for a family? Knowing how many people will use the space will help you set reasonable rental prices. Make sure you’re using a qualified screening service to find rental history, which will show you if they’ve been good tenants in the past. Remember, you own this property, while your tenant is only renting. Select someone you feel confident will pay their rent and keep the space in good condition.

Consider a professional property management service. Some people just aren’t made to be landlords. Maybe you’re concerned that you can’t be the “bad guy,” or are worried that you’ll choose the wrong tenants. It’s a lot of work, and if you have other obligations, it can quickly become overwhelming. Consider working with a company that has experience in the areas of tenant screening, property management, and more.

Set policies ahead of time. Now’s the time to decide how you’re going to rent your property. Are you going to allow pets? What kind? Will you allow smoking? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and answer before you sign a lease with your new tenants. You may also want to consider if yard work will be the tenant’s responsibility or yours, how repairs will be handled, and what will be cause for eviction.

Get insured and update the property. Rental properties require special insurance. You may choose to have your tenant purchase renter’s insurance, but either way, make sure you’re covered. You may also want to invest a little money in updating old appliances and maybe a little fresh paint. This will make the property more appealing and also help you avoid potential repairs from faulty equipment.

As you can see, there’s a lot to do! If you’re preparing your home for rental, contact us and let us help you through the process with advice and services.