It seems easy enough, people need a place to stay, you have a home for rent. But before you hang out the “for rent” sign, there are things that you need to do to make your rental as competitive as possible, to get the most for it, while also being law-compliant. Whether your home has been on the market for a long time and you are just realizing you won’t make enough to breakeven, or maybe you moved in with someone and have an extra home that you aren’t ready to let go of just yet, becoming a landlord can be a profitable way to make use of your vacant house. But first, there are things you must do, and others that you should, to both cover yourself and to turn the best profits without putting in too much of an investment. These are five important suggestions made by our Charleston property management company.
Take Out Insurance
When you rent a home, the homeowner’s insurance is typically not enough to cover a rental property. If you rent your property, you have a certain level of responsibility to take “reasonable care” for their safety. Things like a tree falling on your home during a storm, or a gas fire, can injure a tenant, and that can potentially turn into a major legal problem if you don’t cover yourself properly.
Once more, what if you bought a house specifically to make rent money, and you were using the rent money to pay for the mortgage. If a tree does demolish it, how are you going to pay the mortgage in the interim? If you aren’t insured properly, it would have to come out of pocket. Before you rent out any property, make sure to take out a landlord insurance policy that combines both liability and property insurance under one umbrella. That will ensure that you take care of both the rental property and the people who reside under it while renting.
Lastly, always require tenants to carry their own renter’s insurance and provide you with a copy of the policy cover sheet.
In respect to short term, Airbnb type rentals, many municipalities restrict short term residential rental property and require that you hold a permit, but the requirements will vary according to where your home is located. A permit is supposed to be for safety purposes. Therefore, you typically have to have it inspected by local government officials to ensure that it is fit to rent out. They check for safety hazards, building code violations, things like having proper exits, and the general safety of the premises. The permits are typically not costly, but not pulling one can be in fines and other issues!
Upgrades and Repairs
Renting a house is similar to selling it; you might need to make necessary upgrades and repairs. The cheapest and easiest thing you need to do is to clean it up with a fresh coat of paint. To make it more marketable and command more money, upgrade where you can and replace things that are old or aged. Like with selling a home, however, don’t put so much into renovating and remodeling that you will never get the money back from the rental.
How Much Will You Charge?
Don’t just assume that you know how much your rental is worth. Depending on the size, the location, and sometimes even the school district that it is located in, the price will fluctuate. Also, you have to consider things like Fair Housing laws when renting to tenants, or letting Sea Turtle Properties catch you up to speed, and ensure you are compliant, is super important.
You also need the right forms and paperwork for things like applications, lease agreements, and consent. If all this sounds overwhelming Sea Turtle Properties can help you through the red tape. Sometimes deciphering a good renter from a not-so-good can be difficult, make sure to ask for references and do a background check to cover yourself.
Are Charleston Property Management Companies Worth it?
Being a landlord can come with a whole lot of stress and headaches. If you want to make sure to have fewer vacancies, vet renters thoroughly, and not worry about the logistics like collecting rent and maintenance, then a property management group might be an excellent answer. A property manager can handle things like paperwork, collecting money, and keeping your rental full year-round. By hiring a property manager, you will probably break even by making sure that it is rented, rent is collected, and repairs and maintenance are done to upkeep your property without you having to lift a finger.
The Bottom Line
If you have a home that you are considering renting, it is a mistake to think that all you have to do is hang a “for rent” sign and call it a day. As you can see, there is a lot to take into consideration prior to renting out your investment property yourself. Let Sea Turtle Properties handle all the complexities that can come with rentals. We take the guesswork and the stress out of sitting back and collecting rental checks and also make sure that you are covered fully. Contact us today and let’s partner!