Preparing House for Rental – Essential Guidelines
Investing in an additional residential property is definitely a sign of financial success and one that would earn you plenty of admiration from your family, friends and colleagues. However, maintaining it is a different game altogether and as most home owners will concede, it is a task that can take a heavy toll on health and expenditure over a period of time. In such a situation, the option of renting out the property emerges as a viable alternative, particularly in terms of maintenance and financial considerations.
If you happen to own a residential property which is lying vacant, renting it out is the logical course of action. Not only does it ensure that it will be looked after well by the tenant in question but also provide you with a steady stream of extra income which is always welcome. The decision also implies that you will need to prepare house for rental and this could take up quite a bit of time.
Rental Options for Using Vacant Property
When you prepare your house for rental, tenancy is an option which is both long-term and stable. Other short-term options that are equally lucrative entail putting up your home for exchange as per the vacation schedule to serve as accommodation for travellers and tourists. Duration and terms of exchange might vary as per the situation at hand and can be customized as per your convenience.
How to Prepare Your Spare Property for Rental
Assuming that you have a spare apartment/house that may be sitting idle, you might as well rent it out rather than allow it to simply dilapidate that invariably follows due to lack of maintenance. But letting out a property for rent is a task that is easier said than done – it is a decision that entails certain amount of preparation not just in terms of physical aspect but legal and commercial aspects too.
Following are some of the crucial steps that must form a part of your agenda while preparing house for rental –
Checking the law – What the law says about renting out your property is the most instrumental aspect since it would serve as the foundation for your future decisions. Legal terms and conditions governing letting out the house on rent vary from one state to another and the onus is on you to cultivate awareness before taking any concrete step. As far as the law is concerned, it pays to bear in mind that your rental activity should be well within the laid rules and conform to the set guidelines.
Preparing the house – This step is comprised of several aspects like –
- Professional cleaning of carpets like deep cleaning, shampooing, steam cleaning and so on so as to remove dirt and deep-seated grease and grime
- Re-setting the combinations of all the locks in the house like doors, mail-boxes, outdoor sheds, gates and so on such that all the old keys become redundant
- Changing the air filters followed by cleaning of vents and surrounding areas since these are particularly prone to collecting dirt over a period of time
- Getting your property cleaned from top to bottom so that no area is overlooked whether it is the baseboard or the refrigerator
- As far as possible open all the windows so that the interior is flooded with natural light and this is also an opportunity to fix and replace all the light bulbs and light fixtures all through the house
- In case your property has not been used for a while, you must make it a point to inspect ceiling fans to check whether they are functional and free of dust
- Nooks and crannies in a property that has been unused for sometime are likely to be home to cobwebs and these would need to brushed off
- Sliding doors and windows are prone to get jammed or develop defects on being non-operational and these must be checked and repaired as part of the preparation
- Rather than wait for the bugs to show up and infest your property, it is time to get the premises sprayed thoroughly not just for the sake of the tenant but also to ensure good health and hygiene
- Any holes marking the surface of the walls would need to be filled in and damaged tiles will also need to be replaced as a part of floor and wall repairs
Charging the tenant – How much you should charge the tenant is probably the most difficult aspect of renting out your property and this decision is best taken by considering –
- The size of the house/apartment that is being given on rent
- Average rent for similar properties in the area or close vicinity
- Amenities and facilities provided for being used by the tenant
- Location of the house with respect to the city centre, shopping malls, business district and so on
- Any upper or lower ceiling as regards the rent as specified by the law
Signing the agreement – Tempting though it might be, preparing a written contract and getting it signed by your tenant is a step that must never be ignored. Given the importance of an agreement, seeking help of a professional is strongly recommended so that all the relevant details pertaining to the deal are duly included and mentioned in clear terms.
In addition to the terms and conditions pertaining to payment of rent, deposit and so on, an agreement must also comprise of a draft listing out the house rules so that both parties are well aware of the situation. While for the tenant this agreement acts as a protection against paying anything extra above the rental amount, for the home owner it ensures that the house will be restored to its original state at the time of vacating. This in turn would imply convenience while preparing house for rental since much of the work will have already been done by the previous tenant.
Reasons for Preparing House for Rent
Some reasons that justify your decision to prepare house for rent are –
- Building a working relationship that extends beyond mere business transaction
- A legal way of generating additional income
- Enable you to have some free time that you can utilize as per your preferences
- Ensures automatic maintenance of your property
- Cultivates in you a sense of responsibility
Being Responsible While Preparing House for Rental
Courtesy of the number of benefits that can be accrued while renting out spare property, it is but natural to wonder why more people do not consider this alternative. Much of the reluctance could be attributed to the fact that being a landlord comes with its share of responsibilities which could prove to be quite intimidating. In fact, most people would not envy your position as a landlord owing to the fact that the job description could turn out to be truly overwhelming.
So is it truly possible to ease the burden of responsibilities so as to accrue maximum benefits from preparing house for rental? Discussed as follows are some tips that could render your task as a landlord a lot easier –
Awareness of right and wrong – Your signature on the contract is indicative of the fact that you are legally in charge of anything that happens in the premises, from maintenance to personal behavior. There would be numerous aspects to take care of ranging from nitty-gritty to larger issues and it is imperative to be well-versed with the rules governing tenancy if these are to be sorted out without getting on the wrong side of the law. Not only should you be certain about your rights as the landlord but also about the rights of your tenants so that situations can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction as and when they arise.
Acquiring insurance – While most landlords focus on cleaning, painting and repairing the house, there are certain other aspects that they tend to ignore only to regret at a later date. Some aspects that landlords miss entail clearing the house of valuables, arranging for inspections by relevant authorities and most important of all purchasing appropriate insurance policies. Furnishings are subject to personal choice – you can either leave them to be used by the tenant and charge accordingly or remove them totally, thus providing the tenant with freedom of customizing as per his tastes.
Advertising – In an era which is dominated by multimedia, you must make it a point to make most of the channels that are readily available and accessible today to advertise your home. Internet, social media platforms, magazines, newspapers, brochures and billboards are some of the mediums that you can rely on for effective yet economical advertising wherein the positive aspects of the house should be highlighted.
Since the advertisement is meant to be read by prospective tenants, the financial aspect should be mentioned as clearly as possible. Clarity in this respect would ensure that only tenants that can actually afford the rent would show up and this in turn would eliminate unwanted visitors and time-wasters.
Screening of tenants – Part of preparation for renting out your house also entails printing out questionnaires, handing them over to every visitor that walks in and remembering to collect them back. Next it is time to go through each of the questionnaires and take note of details like employment status, finances, reliability, criminal record and so on. You must use these parameters to short-list a few names that deserve serious consideration and invite them for an interactive session after which you can take a final call.
Reliability and compatibility are some of the attributes that you must look out for as these have the power of making or breaking your decision of renting out your house. The main objective of screening is to judge the person so that you can gauge their behaviour once they move into your house. It is only after plenty of deliberation and thorough checking that you must select the tenant so as to enjoy a pleasant working relationship not to mention the confidence that your home will be well looked after.
Are You In Favour Of Staging Your Property?
Do take the poll as to whether or not you are in favour of home-staging while preparing house for rental -
Why Is It Important To Stage A Property?
Having decided to prepare your house for rental, a term that you would often come across is home staging. A part of real estate jargon, it basically refers to the practice of beautifying the house and show-casing it in a way that it appears attractive to potential tenants.
Often, home owners decide against leaving their furnishings in the spare property with the result that the house is totally vacant at the time of being presented to visitors. Because empty houses feel cold and lonely, chances of the property being let out are dismal with the result that the home owner stands to lose out on multiple benefits like additional income and regular maintenance. This is where home-staging comes in.
Home staging entails setting up the house as it would be when it is lived in so that the visitor can fathom how or what kind of furniture could be fitted in. Because furniture and furnishings have a tendency to lend specific character to any space, the house would acquire an aesthetic appeal and this is turn would add to the chances of it being rented out for a high amount.
Because preparing house for rental is a comprehensive activity that comprises of several stages, an efficient approach would be to write down the tasks in order and use the check-list as a guideline all through the process. It is possible that you might be too confused or overwhelmed to prepare on all by yourself and in such a situation it is the Internet that comes in handy or even a professional real estate agent.
Ultimately, the purpose of preparing house for rental is dual. Firstly it gives you an opportunity to indulge in maintenance and remove everything that need not be made available to the tenant. Secondly, it serves to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the property and renders it attractive to visitors, thus increasing the chances of going out for a hefty rent. As long as you are prepared to shoulder the responsibility of being a landlord, preparing house for rental is an aspect that you must look upon with optimism and anticipation.