How to Turn Your Home Into a Rental Property

Written by Chloe Harwood

If you’re all set to pack up and fly the nest for pastures new, you’ll eventually have to decide what to do with your old home. It can be a pretty emotional time leaving a property you’ve occupied for several years. Even if you’re leaving it behind for something far brighter, cleaner and bigger, your old place will undoubtedly hold a lot of precious memories.

It can be tricky to bid farewell to your home, which prompts the question – why sell it at all when you can just rent it out instead?

If rental rates in your local area are soaring, renting out your home can be a shrewd move when it comes to bringing in some extra cash. You won’t be forced to hold back sobs when you pack up your things and leave, either, as the house will remain yours. The only issues are the particulars of prepping your property for renting out – and there are plenty of them.

Here, we take a look at the pros and cons of turning your home into a rental property, along with all the factors you’ll need to consider before you hand over the keys to a new tenant.  

Bring in the pros

Understanding what to charge for rent and bills can be a little tricky if the property market isn’t really your forte. That’s where real estate agents and/or property managers can help. These guys have the experience and expertise required for leasing property, and they can assist you with all the necessary paperwork, explain the small print, and help you to draw up a detailed lease so you don’t get yourself into financial or legal difficulties in the long run. They’ll also screen potential renters for you – although it’s always in your best interests to vet these people yourself as well. That way, you can get truthful answers about their lifestyle and make sure you’re not inadvertently inviting someone into your property who’s hell bent on throwing parties until the early hours, on a regular basis.

Bringing in a finance professional will also ensure you don’t get into a muddle with tax and insurance. When you put up your property for rent, circumstances surrounding tax/insurance will change, so having an expert on hand to handle these issues allows for a much smoother transition into the landlord world.

Revamp the décor

Before you even think about renting out your property, you’ll need to redecorate it from top to bottom. That means a fresh coat of paint, new furniture, lots of vacuuming, and fixing anything inside that might be broken or outdated. Try to be a bit creative when you revamp your décor, as this will help you to get a bigger price for your property and entice a higher number of tenants. Installing stylish window shutters rather than curtains is a smart move, as they won’t carry odors from years gone by, and genuinely look far more attractive. If you can, spend a little extra on some good quality flooring (this is the area of the property most subject to wear and tear). Fill up any gaps you can find in the walls and ensure there are no lingering signs of mold or damp anywhere in the property before you put it on the market. Having good-quality fittings across the home will minimize the chance of damage occurring and subsequently prevent you from having to frequently recruit laborers to make repairs.

Scratch your tenants’ back, and they’ll scratch yours…

We’ve already mentioned the screening process you ought to conduct when seeking a new tenant for your rental property, and while it’s important for your tenants to treat you with respect, you need to remember this swings both ways. By taking care of your tenants and answering their questions openly and honestly, you’ll give your renters a bigger incentive to keep the property in good condition. They’re your customers at the end of the day, and they need to be considered as such in order for a positive landlord-tenant relationship to blossom. The better the relationship you have with your tenants, the fewer problems you will have with the property. They’re also likely to remain in the property on a long-term basis if they like you – which is always a positive. After all, you’ll only make money on your property as long as someone is living inside it, and landlords with low tenant turnovers are the ones who make the most money.

That said, it’s important not to let yourself become a pushover. Even the nicest people in the world will take the opportunity to pay late if they know their landlord won’t kick up a stink about it. Employ a zero-tolerance policy on rental fees right from the off and that will help to ensure the money you’re owed continues to roll in.

About the author

Chloe Harwood