In the modern age of AirBnBs and temporary rentals, it’s easier than ever to earn money with your property when you’re not even using it! However, there are several things you’ll need to know before diving headfirst into renting out your home. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind if you’re renting out your home while you’re away.
10 tips if you’re renting out your home.
1. Get references.
Home sharing and temporary rental apps will have star ratings for each guest that plans to rent out your home. However, if someone will be living in your home for more than a few days, you’ll want to have a couple of references from your guest’s former lessors. Ask your renters for a few contacts who can vouch for their sense of responsibility and trustworthiness.
2. Have a rental agreement.
As with anything, it’s best to have important arrangements taken down in writing. That way, you and your renters are clear on what your expectations are for the length of the lease. Your rental agreement should at least include:
- The terms of renting the space
- Any restrictions
- Who is liable for which incidents
- How many people can visit or live in the house at once
Your rental agreement can be as long or as short as you need it to be, but remember, it’s your house! Set guidelines that you know will protect your property the way you want.
You may also want to recommend that your tenants get renter’s insurance (since any insurance that you have as the landlord will more than likely not cover their belongings, just the structure of the house itself. )
3. Have a safe, secure place in your living space for the items you’re leaving behind.
If the lease or agreement is super temporary, you’re probably not going to take everything with you when you leave. So, make sure that you have a safe place to lock up any valuables or precious belongings. Define which spaces are okay to use and which ones are off limits to your tenants.
4. Take pictures of everything.
Before the rental period begins, take pictures of everything as you left it. Turn into a smartphone photographer and snap pictures of everything from full rooms to small scratches and scuffs. You never know what small detail can matter later on! Save your photos with an external hard drive or through a cloud service like Google Drive. It could make a great companion to your home inventory too.
5. Provide your contact information.
Make sure your tenants have a way to contact you if anything does go wrong. Hopefully, they won’t have to use your contact info. Still, even if your renters are the type to call you for small issues, you’ll at least know what’s going on in your house. You may also want to leave your current contact info with your neighbors in case they notice anything suspicious.
6. Take care of your mail.
Stopping by every once in a while to pick up mail from your tenants may seem easier for you. However, for your renters, having a mailbox stuffed with their mail as well as yours and then sorting through it can get old quickly. Check with your post office to see if you can have your mail forwarded or held until you get back home.
7. Consider having a property manager
If you’re going to be away for a while or you plan to use the house solely as a rental property, consider hiring a property manager to keep an eye on things. Again, hopefully, they won’t have anything negative to report. Nonetheless, it can give you a greater peace of mind to know that someone is consistently keeping an eye on things.
8. Request a security deposit.
People who put money initially into property are more likely to take care of the space. Plus, if you do find any damages caused by tenants, you have a fund to draw from to get everything repaired. If there are no damages to report, then you can give their deposit back. It’s a win-win!
9. Talk to your insurance agent.
There are tons of different rental situations. You may be living in the home while tenants are renting a separate space, or you could be renting out the entire home. Either way, it’s important to talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage.
A normal home insurance policy usually only covers you, as the homeowner, if you’re the one living in the house. If you ever need to file a claim with your insurance company, and they find out the damage was done by a tenant they didn’t know about, they could outright reject your claim and leave you with a hefty repair bill.
Different carriers cover different rental situations in different ways. So, make sure you give as much information on your specific situation as possible. Then, your agent can determine if you just need to add an endorsement to your policy, or if you need to get a whole new policy.
10. Get rental property insurance.
If you do need to find a separate policy as a landlord, our experts can walk you through the types of coverage you’ll need to include. Plus, we’ll even help you find great rates! Call us today to start getting free quotes for affordable rental property insurance or just fill out our online form.