BEFORE You Market Your Rental Property…
After you’ve gotten your rental home ready for occupancy, you’ll think you’re ready to market it. However, the very next thing you need to do BEFORE you begin marketing your rental property is to lay out all of the terms, so that when you have an interested tenant, you’ll be able to act quickly and efficiently to get them in the house.
How Much is the Rent?
The actual rent should be at market value or a little lower. The goal is to get long-term tenantswho feel appreciated, and will pay their rent promptly and continuously. That also means that you need to consider a fixed-term lease, month-to-month tenancies, or even weekly rental terms.
Fixed-term or month-to-month lease options are really determined by the neighborhood. Older, more established neighborhoods appreciate the stability and security that long-term tenants offer. Meanwhile, technology hubs for instance, with high wage earners may need flexible housing options for medium and short term contractors. Even so, there are certain single family home communities near international resort destinations that are desirable to short term/weekly renters. Knowing the neighborhood will make marketing, and subsequently renting your property much easier.
Other things to consider when creating your terms of rental are:
- How many tenants will be allowed to occupy the unit? The rule of thumb is 2 per bedroom.
- How much is the security deposit? Many states limit the amount you can hold, setting limits based on the rent – twice the monthly rent is most common.
- Will you allow pets? Service or comfort animals needed by a disabled person are not pets. However, many landlords have found that allowing pets gives them an advantage in a tight market. Pet owners also know that options for them and their pets are often limited.
Making these decisions BEFORE you advertise will curb uncomfortable situations later when it’s time to sign the lease or rental agreement.
Rental Listing Check List
Write out the terms and details of your rental, including:
- Amount of Rent
- Size of Rental (bedrooms, bathrooms, square feet, etc.
- Location (specific AND general)
- Lease or Month-to-Month Rental Agreement
- Special Features/Amenities
- # of Tenants Allowed
- Open House Dates
NOW You’re Ready to Advertise
Craigslist should be the first place to advertise your rental. It’s quick, easy and FREE (in most places). Also you can upload pictures – and you should. Ads with pictures get INSTANT consideration from viewers, whereas ads without pictures rarely get views or result in calls.
The next thing to do is go to Walmart or Home Depot and purchase some cheap “FOR RENT” signs. Place one in front of the house, and put others on main roads leading to the neighborhood. Say good-bye to those signs. The city or county will very likely pick them up in a few days, but most phone inquiries are going to come in as soon as the signs are put out anyway.
Another commonsense approach to advertising your rental property is word-of-mouth. Basically, tell everyone you know that you have a house for rent. At this point, your character and reputation will determine how quickly you rent it out.
Honesty is the Best Policy
When you advertise your rental, be as honest and forthright as possible. This prevents unnecessary questions and allows many unqualified applicants to disqualify themselves before wasting any of your time. Many property owners advertise to make their “phone ring”, but after a couple of days of phone ringing, you’ll find yourself getting impatient with the callers, thereby doing more harm than good.
In the end, being your own property manager and landlord is a lot of work. If you ever decide that it’s not worth it, many Property Management companies will do ALL of the hard work for just 8 to 10% of the monthly rent.