If you’re going to be away from home for a while, you might be considering renting out your house so you can earn some extra cash. You may as well let your house earn its keep, right? It’s not like you’re going to be using it anyway. Renting your home, though it may seem like a great idea, opens you up to liability. Here are ten things to keep in mind if you’re going to rent your home.
10 tips when you’re renting out your home.
1. Get references from potential renters.
Before you turn your home over to your renters, be sure to get references from them to make sure everything checks out. These are the people who are going to be living in your house, after all, so it’s important to do your due diligence about whoever your tenants will be. So, take the time to make a few phone calls. This is especially important if they’re going to be there for a while.
2. Have a rental agreement.
The rental agreement is extremely important – you have to be on the same page as the people who are renting your home. Having a clear and detailed rental agreement can help you do that. Your rental agreement should include the following:
- The terms of the rental.
- Any restrictions.
- Occupancy guidelines.
Remember, this is your house – your property. You have to protect it, and protect yourself from the risks that come along with renting out your home.
3. Request a security deposit.
It’s also important to get a security deposit. The way it works is that the tenant gives you the deposit at the beginning of their time in your house. If there’s no damage to the house when they move out, you give the deposit back to them. It’s basically a way to ensure that you can repair damages to the home if there are any. (And if you think about it, it’s also an incentive for your tenant to take good care of your house – they want to get their money back!)
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4. Have a safe, secure place set aside in your home for belongings you’re leaving behind.
When you clear out of your home, you might not be taking everything with you. If you have to leave clothing, valuables, or other belongings in the house, be sure to set aside a safe place for them. Define your space and lay your claim to it.
5. Take pictures of your house.
Before you turn your home over to your renters, take pictures of everything. This is your chance to put your smartphone photography skills to good use. Be sure to get pictures of all areas of the house. This is just in case there’s damage to the home when you return – you’ll have evidence that the damage wasn’t there when you left. Anyways, knock yourself out as you tour your house and get pictures of everything before renting out your home. (It’s kind of like taking a home inventory.)
6. Don’t forget to provide your contact information.
In case of an emergency, your tenant will need to be able to get in touch with you. Be sure to leave current contact information with the tenant. You can also leave it with your neighbors, too, just in case. You’ll want to be reachable if something happens. Of course, the hope is that they’d never need to use it, but still – it should be easily accessible for them. (Plus, your neighbor can give you a shout if something seems off.)
7. Take care of your mail.
It’s also important to figure out a plan for your mail. You can have it forwarded to you, or you can just have it held until you get back. Either way, your tenants will probably appreciate not being bombarded with your mail. That could get old pretty fast.
8. Consider hiring a property manager.
If you’re going to be away for a while, you might want to hire a property manager to help you keep an eye on things. Again, hopefully, they won’t have anything negative to report to you, but it’s still nice to know there’s someone there to be monitoring your property.
9. Talk to your insurance agent.
If you’re currently living in the home and you have insurance for it, it’s also important to talk to your insurance agent so they know that you’re renting out your home. You may need to adjust your coverage since you’ll be having tenants in your home, so it’s best to talk about your specific situation with your agent to make sure that all will be good on the insurance front.
10. Get rental property insurance.
If you need to get insurance for the rental property, you can get quotes by filling out our online quote form, messaging us on Live Chat, or calling us. We’re here to help you get the insurance you need.