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Renting Out Your Home? Here’s How to Get Started

By MilitaryByOwner, Danielle Keech

So, you’ve decided to rent out your home when you PCS? Congratulations! Deciding whether to sell or rent is a big process in itself, and if you’ve made it this far then you’ll have little trouble with the rest. While there’s considerably less work to get your home ready to rent than to sell, there’s still some work to be done and a lot of decisions to be made.

Let’s talk through what the process of becoming a landlord looks like.

9 Steps to Get Your Property Ready for Renters

1. Make it safe.

First, make sure your home is habitable and safe. Not only should this be common sense, but it’s also required by law. For more information on this, be sure to read your current state laws.

2. Neutralize.

Make your home appealing to the masses by painting the walls a neutral color, just as you would if you were trying to sell. Potential renters want to be able to envision their lives in your home the same as home buyers do. And, one could argue that it’s even more important to provide this for renters because they have less freedom to customize the space.

3. Create a home guide.

No one knows your home as you do. New tenants need be to set up for success, and one way that you can help them is to create a home guide. In it, put information about the home as well as contact numbers for you, your handyman, and utility companies.

4. Decide whether or not to hire a property manager.

Being a long distance landlord is difficult. It can be challenging to be available and maintain the property when you’re thousands of miles and several time zones away. You might consider hiring a property manager to communicate with your renters and inform you only when needed.

But don’t misunderstand the role of a property manager. While they are a huge help for screening tenants and maintaining the property, you are still the homeowner. It is of the utmost importance that you remain involved and keep track of everything going on in your home, so you’ll want to be sure that you hire a manager you trust and who communicates effectively with you.

5. Set the price.

Research your market to see what other rental homes are priced at per month. And if you’re marketing to military families, then it’s a good idea to be familiar with BAH and list your property accordingly.   

6. Advertise.

If you decided to hire a property manager, you won’t need to give too much energy to this step. If you’re doing it yourself, however, you need to create an unforgettable home listing. And that includes a detailed description of not only the home but also the area, along with stellar photos.  

7. Screen applicants.

Getting the right tenant in your property is perhaps the most important step of renting your home. Remember, you’re choosing a person to live in your property and care for it as you would. The last thing you need is a call that your home has been trashed by a less-than-ideal tenant.

For help with this part of the process, check out US Legal Forms and request recommendations from your applicants.

8. Establish boundaries and expectations.

To ensure that your property is well-cared for, schedule regular inspections. You can decide how frequent you want them, but it should be communicated clearly to the tenant up front.

Establish rules about painting, pets, repairs, and maintenance. What types of maintenance and repairs do you expect them to handle and which ones do you expect a call for? Do they need your blessing to paint? Do they need to have the color approved by you or your agent or paint to original color prior to moving out? What about pets? A case-by-case basis might be the most popular pet policy, so as to appeal to a more broad base of renters.

9. Understand legalities.

Get familiar with the Fair Housing Act, Accessibility Compliance, the military clause, and state laws designed to protect both you and the renter.  

Finally, be sure to create and sign a detailed lease. Don’t leave any part of the agreement up to a handshake or verbal confirmation and leave yourself open to more risk.

Ready to learn more? Be sure to visit MilitaryByOwner where you can read more about rental homes, property managers, landlord/tenant relationships, and advertising your home to fellow military families!