How to Successfully Rent Your House: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you ’ rhenium considering becoming a landlord because you have some extra space, because you want passive voice income from a duplex apartment, or because you fair don ’ thyroxine want to deal with selling your old family quite even, actual estate of the realm may look like a sound investing to you .
At its simplest, you put your money down on a place, rent it out, and collect a monthly check. But experienced investors will tell you that there ’ s a lot more to becoming successful as a landlord in real estate .
Coleen Dearing completes 32 % more sales than the average agentive role in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where much of her business consists of investors buying properties to rent until they retire. Her advice :
“Owning rental property is a business, and it has to be approached as a business investment. You have to have the right personality to do it; it’s not for people who are not risk-tolerant.”

Before you take the plunge, it ’ sulfur significant to educate yourself about the work and how it works. here ’ s a bit-by-bit steer on how to rent your house .
A computer used to rent your house.

Step 1: Assess your situation

Before deciding to jump into rental, assess your potential rental situation .
If you have a spare bedroom, possibly you ’ ra thinking of listing it on Airbnb or finding a roommate. This could lead to a loss of privacy if you have to plowshare a kitchen or toilet. The short-run tenant or roommate could have unlike standards of cleanliness, allow randomness levels, or they might come and go at curious hours. Before attempting this route, be honest about your tolerance levels when living with strangers .
In a duplex or multifamily unit, you ’ ll have more privacy, but you ’ ll still share some spaces. Your bedroom rampart may be next to a tenant ’ mho loudly television receiver, or they could park on your side of the driveway. Buying a rental family wholly separate from your living site is the most expensive ( but much the least annoying ) option for landlords .
If you already own the house you ’ re plan on rental, then you ’ ll want to make certain your mortgage lend and policy are both set up for a non-owner-occupant to live in the house — and change them if they aren ’ thyroxine .
adjacent, consider what type of rental you want the property to be. short-run, or long-run ? Whether you ’ re renting a board or a property can influence this decision … along with the sum of cash you ’ ll want to start as an investor .
possibly you equitable want to rent out the extra room in your house, or your vacation home occasionally to make extra money. Or, possibly you own a separate property and are more matter to in a long-run rental agreement. Each comes with its pros and cons .

Short-term rental pros

  • You’ll have the freedom to use the property when you want.
  • With occasional occupants, the property won’t experience as much wear and tear.
  • Seasonality and current market demand can be factored into your nightly rental rate..

Short-term rental cons

  • You’ll have to clean the property more often than if it was occupied by a long-term renter.
  • If you live in a touristy area, it may be tough to find renters in the off-season.
  • Competition can be steep. You’re not only competing against nearby hotels and resorts, but also other rentals in the area. What gives your property an edge?

Long-term rental pros

  • You’ll have a consistent second source of income (as long as the property is rented).
  • The responsibilities of the utilities are passed on to the renters. So, no utility payments for you!
  • You can partner with a professional property manager who will handle things like screening potential renters, adhering to rental laws, and handling home repairs and maintenance.

Long-term rental cons

  • Having the property continually occupied is going to lead to more wear and tear on the home and its appliances.
  • You could find yourself bound to a long-term contract with a less than ideal tenant.
  • You’ll lose out on using the property as a vacation home.

The pro of being a landlord in this market is to be able to take that money, and if you’re smart with it, pay down your mortgage in a faster way so you can be debt-free better and have a much better equity in your home.

  • Dawn Bremer (The Bremer Team)
    Dawn Bremer (The Bremer Team)

    Real Estate Agent


    Dawn Bremer (The Bremer Team)
    real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Success

    • star

    presently accepting fresh clients

    • Years of feel
    • Transactions
    • average Price point
    • Single Family Homes

Step 2: Crunch the numbers

top actual estate agent and certified home veteran Dawn Bremer specializes in investment properties and vacation homes in the Chicago area .
“ The professional of being a landlord in this market is to be able to take that money, and if you ’ ra fresh with it, pay down your mortgage in a fast means so you can be debt-free better and have a much better equity in your home, ” says Bremer .
Bremer ’ mho watched rental prices increase by 15 % to 20 % from 2019 to 2021, and she says that now has never been a better time to be a landlord .
“ For a typical exemplar of how that addition happened ; a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath theater, approximately 2,200 square feet, used to rent for approximately $ 1,875. now you can get over $ 2,200, $ 2,300 for that same house in 2021. ”
But to be a successful landlord, it ’ s crucial to always keep an eye on your expenses .
When Dearing is taking clients to look at possible properties, they start with the mortgage. “ If they ’ re going to finance it, with taxes and insurance, how does it pencil ? ” she asks. At a minimum, your lease income must cover these basic expenses, but she besides advises diving deep .
Questions to ask include :

  • Is it rentable?
  • What’s my likely vacancy rate?
  • What can I get per square foot in the current market?
  • Will rents continue to grow?

When making decisions, look at the overall rental grocery store arsenic well as a specific property .
plan on setting aside money for alimony and repairs. unfortunately, tenants can do a lot of damage. Dearing tells this history : A acquaintance with a rental property lost her year ’ second income when she had to repair $ 20,000 in damage that a tenant had done. Most landlords plan on saving 10 % of the property ’ s respect each year for alimony, but unexpected major repairs can hurt .
early unexpected costs landlords should factor into their overall expenses include annual care costs, indemnity and taxes ( which tend to run higher for lease properties ), and any periods of vacancy. These can all tack on a pretty penny, specially if the home stays vacant for a while and you get stuck covering the mortgage and utilities .
additionally, there could be homeowners association fees that come with the property, and you may want to account for the initial marketing expenses of listing the property, including lawn concern and property alimony services ( specially if you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate survive full-time in the area where your rental is located ) .
A tenant who will rent your house.

Step 3: Talk to your insurance agent

Don ’ thymine forget to loop in your insurance agent before you rent all or partially of your home. even if you ’ re good renting a board, you ’ ll want higher indebtedness coverage .
“ If a tenant burns themselves on your stave, they ’ re more probable to sue you for that, ” Dearing points out. Tell your policy broker that you ’ re going to have tenants coming and going from your guest room, and ask what you need to do to protect yourself. They ’ ll know which riders you need to add to your dwelling indemnity, or where you need to increase your coverage .
On average, landlord policy costs between 15 % and 20 % more than homeowners policy. Although purchasing rental property indemnity ( another term for landlord insurance ) international relations and security network ’ t a necessity, doing then has many benefits for both short-run and long-run rentals. It protects property owners from acquiring costly repairs, whether the damages are caused by the renter or a natural calamity. ( note : flood insurance is purchased individually. )
Most landlord indemnity policies offer coverage of the come :

  1. Property damage: Coverage that helps pay for repairs to the property due to damage by fire, weather, or natural disasters. These policies may also cover the landlord’s personal property such as appliances, furniture, lawnmowers, and so on.
  2. Liability: This legally protects landowners from being held liable for any medical injuries the tenant sustains while on the property.
  3. Loss of rental income: This applies when a property is damaged due to a covered event and the property is not available to be rented until repairs are made. In this instance, the insurance agent would cover the loss of rental income.

other optional riders you can add to landlord indemnity policies include :

  • Vandalism: If the property is damaged by a tenant or another person
  • Building code coverage: If the city requires an upgrade due to a change in regulations, building code coverage insurance will help offset these costs
  • Burglary: Coverage of any property damage caused by a break-in; broken windows, doors, and so on; this policy does not encompass stolen personal items

Another option Bremer suggests is for landlords to purchase a home guarantee. They run around $ 700 a year and cover most items in the house — dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, dryers, and garage doorway openers .

Step 4: Determine how much you could earn

Janet Fields, co-founder, and CEO of Oak Trust Properties, a property management company in Charleston, South Carolina, says the fast rental market is like to the sales market — short to no inventory, rising price points, and moo days on the market .
“ We have besides seen more people working from home and looking for bigger spaces for an at-home position or a larger yard for at-home entertainment, ” says Fields .
When it comes to pricing your rental, you want to cover your expenses — but you can ’ t charge an astronomic rate, or you ’ ll never find any renters. It ’ randomness crucial to do some marketplace research on rent rates before buying a lease place or listing a room. What you can get for rent will determine your profitableness .
Fields advises that landlords put their personal preferences aside and look at their rental properties as a tool that can help them reach their fiscal goals .
“ I love decisiveness filters, and have a few I try to keep in mind. Is this necessary ? If I do adam, what will happen ? If I don ’ t do ten, what will the probable result be ? Is this a fear-based suffice, or can I find data to help support the options set before me ? ”
At the end of the class, any outgo decisions should result in a positive fiscal shock on restitution on investment. Taking this overture to fiscal decisions about your investment can be critical in avoiding mistakes that can cost significant dollars in the long run, advises Fields .
To help set a rental rate, keep tabs on your local anesthetic market with an agent who knows the area. You can besides do some research on your own by checking on-line for local apartment listings, using sites like Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, and more. Some place managers list rentals on the MLS, or you can look up local listings on Airbnb or short-run rental sites. Drive around the vicinity and call the call numbers, or jot down the numbers listed on “ For Rent ” signs to gather data .
Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate forget to consider how the number of bedrooms for rend, amenities such as a backyard or off-street parking descry, and the unit of measurement ’ south condition impact a unit ’ s rentability .
You ’ ll besides want to consider whether to hire outside parties to help you manage the place. Though these extra services can cut into your bottom trace, they have many benefits and can provide landlords peace of mind .
here are three professionals you may want to consider hire .

Property manager

Renting your place through a property management caller can save you a set of headaches. Their duties include screening tenants, handling repairs and everyday care, collecting economic rent payments, and more .
They are a great choice for owners who prefer a hands-off access, who live far away from the place, or for those who own multiple properties .


Being a landlord is basically being a business owner, and like with any occupation, it ’ randomness significant to make certain you and your occupation stay protected. Having an lawyer on hand can help guide you through local place regulations of an area, assist with writing a rent, and help navigate difficult situations like landlord-tenant disputes or eviction.


When tax temper rolls around, an accountant can assist in filing taxes for a lease property and find out if there are any tax deductions you qualify for. Along with many other services, they can besides advise early on about any changes to the U.S. tax code that may result in fiscal gains or losses .
A lease used to rent a house.

Step 5: Security deposits

All lease properties require a security system depository, which is like collateral to protect the place. The tenant pays the security lodge to the landlord when signing the lease, and the money is used to cover any damages that may occur during their stay. If the property is in the like circumstance upon move-out, the security deposition is refunded back to the tenant .
For landlords, security deposits are a way of protecting their investment and ensuring they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate get stuck with a mile-long list of repairs ( and an evening bigger placard ) if a tenant treats their property ailing. Depending on where the lease property is located, there may be laws determining how much a security deposition has to be, along with what repairs the money can be used toward. To keep expectations acquit with a tenant from the beginning, lay out all the tenants ’ fiscal responsibilities in the lease agreement .
As for tenants, besides treating the property with caution, there are a few early precautions that can help win back that security deposit upon move-out .
Take pictures of the property at move-in, documenting any nicks, cracks, broken appliances, or other damage to the place, and report them to your landlord ASAP. This will inform them that the damages were there before you moved in .
besides, make indisputable you have a clear understand of expectations come move-out time. Do you need to steam clean the carpets ? Fill in any holes from hanging items on the wall ?

Step 6: Property inspections

Before signing a lease, it ’ s coarse for landlords and renters to walk through a property and perform a move-in inspection in concert. This is a time where any concerns can be discussed, and both the landlord and renter can agree to the condition of the place at move-in. After the inspection checklist is completed, it ’ second added to the signed lease agreement for viewing at the time of move-out to determine if anything needs deducting from the security deposit .
Besides the initial move-in inspection, there are three early recommended inspections landlords should perform .

The routine inspection

otherwise known as “ check-in inspections, ” these occur annually or a few times a class .
hera, landlords inspect the property to ensure things are hush in tip-top shape. If there are any concerns with the way a tenant is treating a place, this is a good gamble to discuss these issues to keep the property protected and keep a tenant on racetrack to getting their security deposit back .

The drive-by inspection

This inspection doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate need to be orchestrated ahead of time, as it is much more casual. The landlord inspects the outside of the place to see if any issues need addressing, or if it looks like a act inspection needs to be scheduled .

The move-out inspection

very alike to the move-in inspection, both the landlord and tenant walk through the property together, comparing its condition against the move-in inspection report .

Step 7: The importance of curb appeal

“ Curb entreaty is great, ” says Bremer. “ I think that there are a batch of people who can do landscaping themselves. tied putting in a few potted plants can make a huge difference between whether a house looks rentable or not. ”
Some ideas to spruce up your rental ’ second suppress invoke include keeping the gutters clean, lawn cut, tree branches trimmed, and weeds pulled. besides, don ’ metric ton forget about cleaning the outside of the house .
“ Power lave is such an easy thing, ” says Bremer. “ I think people think, ‘ well, I have to repaint, ’ but you in truth don ’ t have to repaint. A lot of places have vinyl siding and stucco and bric-a-brac, and you can get a ability wash, and a exponent washout does wonders for your house. ”
Bremer says a few more cost and time-effective ways to refresh a rental property include painting trim inside the family and around the garage, or adding a fresh coat of rouge on the kitchen cabinets .
When considering renovations, Fields says it ’ s crucial to look at the parts of the property that leave the most ocular impact to gain the highest return on investment : the front yard, chief living area, and chief cortege .
A kitchen in a house that is rented.

Step 8: Building codes

Before renting out a place, it ’ mho important to ensure the base is up-to-date with all the latest build codes from your local municipality .
Building codes apply to both the at heart and the outside of a property. They are the minimal guard standards a house must comply with out of protection for the tenant ’ s health and condom .
here ’ s a look at common building codes and what they measure .

Structural integrity

This applies to the condom of the home ’ second social organization .
The foundation, walls, doors, and windows of the home should be secure, the walls weatherproof, and there shouldn ’ thyroxine be any standing water system within the home .

Mechanical integrity

The heating system, electric, plumb, boast, and other systems should be safely up and run, and in complaisance with local codes. additionally, the family should be equipped with roll of tobacco and carbon monoxide detectors .


It is the landlord ’ mho responsibility to supply tenants with size-appropriate garbage and recycling containers .

Water supply

The landlord is required by the Landlord-Tenant Act to supply the tenant with houseclean, running hot and cold body of water .
These codes are in invest to protect tenants from dangerous homes with things like defective electrical wire, lead-based paints, shape, asbestos, and other dangerous survive conditions. To check if your lease property is safe and up to code, schedule an appointment with a local home inspector .

Step 9: Find applicants and prepare your rental for viewing

Fields says that at Oak Trust Properties, to find the most qualify tenants, it ’ s first authoritative to establish guidelines around acceptable income and credit scores .
“ We have found there tends to be a ‘ charming ’ credit score total that backs up future requital history of a resident, particularly when income and residential history is verified. ”
Fields advises doing your homework function ahead of time to know what you ’ re looking for and setting requirements. This can save both you and potential applicants time and frustration. early helpful tips Fields suggests include :

  • Wait for the right applicant to present themselves
  • Call landlord references
  • Verify a potential tenant’s income (with an employer or recent bank statements/pay stubs)
  • Avoid accepting tax statements as they may not represent a tenant’s current state of finances

“ unfortunately, forge bank statements and pay stubs exist, which means employment verifications are a key function of the application process, ” warns Fields .
so, how do you know if it ’ mho time to hire a property coach ? Fields recommends landlords pull out their lease and read it cover to cover .
“ If your eyes don ’ triiodothyronine sugarcoat over, you might be able to self-manage well adequate, ” says Fields .
Fields mentions that it ’ sulfur important for landlords to not entirely understand the lease, but besides consider possibilities like : “ What would I do if the resident doesn ’ t pay on time or at all ? ”
“ Life happens, and it can negatively affect tenants, and when this occurs, the lease must be followed systematically and to the letter of the police. If you miss steps, you most probably will weaken your case if brought to court, ” advises Fields .
If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hire a property coach, you ’ ll have to find renters on your own. List your theater on the MLS, on-line list portals, classified websites, put out some yard signs — everywhere you went looking to do your inquiry !
It besides helps to take high-quality, sharp photograph to accompany listing your property, peculiarly if you ’ re trying to rent to the luxury vacation commercialize .
If you ’ re doing the number yourself, after you list, prepare to field earphone calls and emails. You ’ ll indigence to set aside time in your schedule to answer messages through on-line portals, arsenic well as to show the unit. Depending on your local rental marketplace, finding a restricted applicant can take a topic of hours or weeks .
adjacent, you ’ ll want to prepare the base for viewing .
“ I don ’ thymine believe in taking down your personal photos, ” says Bremer. “ I think you can reduce the photograph, but a courteous family photograph is a capital way for people to picture their kin inside that home. ”
other easy, low-cost ways to ready a home for viewing include deep-cleaning the house, putting out fresh flowers, staging the house with a few odds and ends ( like wine bottles and glasses in the kitchen ), adding a “ Welcome ” sign on the front porch, changing out lighter bulbs, and cleaning the windows .
A table in a house you can rent.

Final advice

If considering renting your past residential home, Fields advises that landlords “ flip their perspectives ” when looking at their home as an investment .
“ It ’ s no longer your home ; it ’ randomness your business — and it needs you to think critically and avoid emotional attachment to the property at all costs, ” says Fields .
not only will this save you fourth dimension, money, and tension, but it will help you make ache, virtual decisions about the home as an investing .
“ If you can begin to make decisions based on cost, longevity, and marketability, you are heading in the right field steering to owning a functioning, profitable passive income manufacturer, ” says Fields .
sol, where do you find investment properties ?
“ Don ’ metric ton shy away from cities outside your contiguous sphere, ” suggests Fields. “ You do not need to be in the like town or make annual trips to your properties to be a successful investor. ”

Researching energetic cities showing likely long-run growth, a steadily job market, and amenities like parks, golden schools, food, and nearby entertainment are good places to start .
“ Take into consideration cost of exist, the average income, median home prices, and property taxes. If the overall sphere is favorable, you have probably found a great place to start looking for the perfective summation to your investment portfolio. ”
Header Image source : ( Jason Pofahl / Unsplash )

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