Renting out your home as an income property can be a great way to earn additional income at no matter what stage of life you are in. Whether you bought a second home and are looking for property values to rise before selling your original house, or you need to move across the country temporarily for job opportunity, becoming a landlord for a season only requires moderate investments and a little bit of elbow grease. Bringing in reliable tenants can also be a challenge, but most are attracted to properties that are well taken care of.
To get your home ready for renters to move in, here are the top projects to tackle.
The exterior of your home is the first thing that potential tenants will see. Ensure all exterior maintenance projects are up to date, including cleaning out your gutters, washing your windows, and checking your roof for damage. All outdoor lighting should also be up to date, and it also doesn't hurt to have your driveway pressure washed before renting out the property.
An important consideration when renters move in is ensuring that your property is safe. Switch your insurance policy from homeowners to landlord insurance, and then make sure all pathways are swept and safe, railings on porches are sturdy, and steps are well-maintained. This is also the perfect time to change locks on the front and back doors.
HOA and Lawn Care
If your tenants will be responsible for lawn care, ensure they items they need such as a lawn mower or weed-eater. HOA's often have various rules about exterior care of the home as well. Make sure that your tenants are briefed on what rules are in place before they move in, such as not parking a car on the street.
Tackle interior maintenance projects first, such as getting furnace, hot water heater, and air conditioning serviced, changing out batteries in your smoke detectors, and ensuring all appliances are in working order. Also, write down special instructions for your tenant to follow, as well as providing labels for your electrical panel in case of an emergency.
No tenant will want to move into a space that still looks lived in by the owners. Take the opportunity to declutter your home entirely. You'll want to remove all family photos, toys, and furniture. If you are moving out of the house temporarily, consider getting a storage unit to put these items in and do not use the space you are renting out as storage.
Wipe down the walls, thoroughly scrub the floors in your home, squeegee the windows, and deep clean inside cabinets and drawers. Ideally, this is the perfect opportunity to repaint the home in a neutral color, such as white or grey that any tenant will be able to match with their decor.
Renting your home out for the first time is a huge step for both you and your tenants. If juggling your landlord responsibilities over time starts to take a toll on you, consider hiring a property manager who can be the point person for your tenants to talk to, while allowing you peace of mind. By walking through the list above, you will be more likely to attract tenants who will hopefully care for your home as much as you do while you are away.