You may want to rent out your home for extra cash or because you want to sell at a later stage when you can get a better price. Whatever your reasons for wanting to rent your home, there are key steps you should follow. Following the steps below can help to ensure you don’t expose yourself to too many risks and that the process is a smooth one.
Understand your responsibilities
It’s important not to go into home rental blindly. When renting out your home for the first time, you might not be aware of your responsibilities as a landlord. You have to manage your tenants, and this includes screening them, collecting rent, addressing their complaints, increasing rent correctly, and evicting them if necessary. You may violate landlord-tenant laws without even realizing you are doing so, such as returning a security deposit late. As a landlord, you not only have to manage tenants but also manage your property and your finances.
Using professional Tulsa property managers streamlines the management of tenants, property, and finances. Evernest, Keyrenter, Accent, and other property management services in Tulsa will take care of the hard part of renting out your home for you, which can greatly reduce your effort and risks when you rent out your property for the first time.
Prepare your home
The appearance of your home will make a difference to the type of tenants you attract. A thoroughly clean interior and exterior create a good impression. Make sure appliances are all in good working order, and it may be worthwhile replacing old appliances that are likely to break.
Check and replace air conditioning and heating filters. Clean the windows and make sure you fix any windows or doors that don’t close or open properly. It doesn’t hurt to put a fresh layer of paint on the walls and mow the lawn. If two comparable properties are available for the same rent in a certain neighborhood and yours is the more attractive looking option, you are likely to have more tenant applications.
Set the rent
Before setting the rent, do some research into the average rental price of properties in your area and how many properties are available for rent. Think about whether there are any benefits that could justify charging more, such as access to off-road parking, private schools, etc. Set your rent too high in an area where many homes are available for rent, and it could be difficult to find tenants. Set your rent too low, and it may not be able to cover all your expenses.
Market your home
You may have no idea how to go about marketing your home. You can use a home site, like Zillow, or advertise in area-specific publications like community magazines or newspapers. You don’t want to have to wait forever to find tenants. The Evernest property management team knows how to market your home. It will make sure your home is rented out within 21 days, or you receive two free months of management.
Screen potential tenants
As an inexperienced landlord, you can miss out on a step or two when screening prospective tenants. You want to find good tenants who pay their rent on time and in full, respect your property, and don’t cause unnecessary problems.
To screen tenants, you need to do a credit check, background check, check their rental history, and check references. Having one-on-one personal conversations with them may help you to pick up what doesn’t appear on paper. You will also need to obtain a security deposit from tenants.
Unfortunately, a tenant who may look good on paper and even appear like a good proposition in a personal conversation can still turn out to be a less-than-ideal tenant. Screening tenants is often tricky, and property management companies have the resources to screen them thoroughly.
Draw up a lease agreement
A typical lease agreement will include your name and the name of your tenant. It will include an address and description of the rental unit. It will state the amount of the security deposit, rent amount, and the date by which it must be paid every month. A start and end date for the rental period is also important. To make sure you don’t leave out crucial details, get a local lawyer to look through your lease agreement.
What you choose to include in your lease agreement can help to protect your rights and your property. You can include a clause in your lease that allows you access to quarterly maintenance checks. You can include whether you allow pets and if you require a pet deposit. You should have more than one person sign the lease agreement in case the first person on the lease disappears. The lease should state what utilities the tenant is responsible for and the yard maintenance you expect from tenants.