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There are many reasons you might be one of the many homeowners wondering how to rent out your house: Maybe you’ve tried to sell your home but the market’s too sluggish, or you’re moving to a new area but want to hold on to your old property and rake in some income on the side.
Whatever the reason, it’s a good time to be considering this, because the rental market is hot: A recent study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that the rental market has been growing for the past 10 years straight, and the share of Americans renting is at a 20-year high of 35%.
But renting out your digs for the long term is a very different animal than the occasional stint on Airbnb. Here are some basic steps to take to get you started down rental road.
Determine how much to charge in rent
At the least, most newbie landlords want their rental income to cover their monthly mortgage, as well as taxes and insurance. Times may have changed since you bought, so you want to be clear on what the market will bear. Check rental properties on realtor.com® for the going rate in your area.
“Look for comparable properties in similar areas, with corresponding bedroom and bathroom counts,” says Realtor® Ed Laine, partner/broker of Miller Laine Properties in the Seattle area. “That will give you a per-square-foot rental figure that you can then apply to your own property.”
Screen tenants carefully
“Picking the right tenant can make all the difference and is one of the top ways to make your experience as a landlord a good one,” Laine says. You’ll want to check their employment history, credit history, and income (via pay stubs or tax returns), as well as references from past landlords if possible.
To add an extra layer of security, you can do statewide and federal background checks at places like the National Tenant Network, which has been screening tenants since 1980, to make sure potential renters don’t have a checkered history elsewhere.
Decide whether to manage your property yourself or hire help
It may be tempting to manage your property yourself when you consider that property managers typically charge 4% to 12% of the monthly rental. But that might be a small price to pay for avoiding headaches with your rental. According to a survey from property management firm Buildium, 62% of respondents mentioned maintenance and 5% cited tenant management as the two main reasons that rental property owners choose to hire property managers.
“I often suggest that my clients manage the first one themselves, which gives them a great education on their property and on being a landlord,” Laine says. “It also proves to them that management fees are nothing compared to a 3 a.m. call about a tree limb coming through a window.”
Pick the right property manager
Picking a property manager isn’t just about finding one with the lowest fees. Fees are important, but don’t let that be the sole deciding factor. For instance, what are the property manager’s hours? If they’re available only during weekday business hours and a pipe bursts on the weekend, you may get stuck with coming to the aid of your tenant yourself. What happens if rent isn’t paid on time—will they pursue the matter? If not, you may get stuck chasing down your money, which rather defeats the purpose of having a property manager at all.
Also make sure that the property manager—and you yourself—are committed to keeping up on local laws. Laine cites a recent case when the local municipality enacted laws that hold landlords liable for bedbugs.
“We updated our leases immediately,” he says. “The liabilities are too great to take a risk just to save a few bucks.”
Because at the end of the day, hired help or no, the buck stops with the landlord, literally.
Posted by Cathie Ericson on realtor.com
Summer may be real estate’s busy season, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy time to be a seller. With so many homes on the market and minimal pressure to settle, buyers can afford to be pickier.
It takes strategy, patience, and a level head to manage a sale successfully. Nevertheless, it is still possible, and if you follow these five steps, you will not only survive this summer home selling season, but thrive.
1. Curb Appeal
Summer is a time when all the flowers are out and blooming and all the trees are nice and green. Use this to your advantage and keep the outside of your house looking as good as it possibly can.
Pay special attention to your lawn. Grass in the summer grows twice as fast as it does in the winter. If you are trying to sell a house, make sure you keep your lawn looking trimmed and tidy. It’s a good idea to mow your lawn 1-2 times a week to keep it in top shape.
2. Natural Light is a Must
Summer is the time of the year with the most sunlight and almost everyone likes to capitalize on that. If your house is not showcasing its full natural light potential, it will be most noticeable in the summer. Consider removing any heavy curtains or dark shades because this can make the room seem darker and smaller.
3. Show Off Your Outdoor Space
One of everyone’s favorite activities during the summer is enjoying the outdoors. People who are buying a house in the summer are going to be seeking somewhere to do that, so make sure that you have showcased the outdoor space at your house. Outdoor furniture and decorations will allow them to easily visualize themselves relaxing outside on a calm summer night.
4. Air Temperature
As we all know, summertime can often be too hot. The last thing you want on an 80 degree day is a potential buyer to walk into your house and find it hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable. This can be a real turn off.
Before anyone comes into your house, do everything you can possibly do to prevent this from happening. It could be as simple as opening the windows, but it may require an investment in an air conditioner.
5. Tidy Up
Prior to any prospective buyers walking around your house, pick up after yourself and clean everything until your house is looking its absolute best. It’s a very simple fix that could make or break a buyer’s decision.
While you’re at it, be strategic about how you arrange each room. Be sure to keep every room neutral and not too personal so people can imagine themselves living there. Also, have the furniture set up so it brings out the positives of each room. Don’t allow furniture to make an otherwise open room seem small and uninviting.
6. Be Realistic
This last tip is applicable any time of the year. It’s no secret that everyone wants to get as much money for their house as possible, but if you try and price it too high, it might not sell at all. So do your research and list your house at a price that you’re happy with, but that is also fair for your area and house’s quality.
Summer is the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine. Don’t ruin it by stressing about an unsold house. Instead, use these tips to sell it quickly and move on.
Posted by Carter Wessman on HomeZada
Save the big cash for major projects. Update your porch — and curb appeal — with these inexpensive tips.
When you’re hoping to add curb appeal to your home, look no further than the part that’s closest to the curb: your porch. A porch makeover can help you make a great first impression on visitors, and it provides you with a pleasant place to spend some time, whether you’re living in Nashville, TN, or San Diego, CA. Here are a few ways you can update your porch’s look without spending more than $1,000.
Posted by Virginia Brown on Trulia