Five Important Safety Tips when Renting Your Home

Five Important Safety Tips when Renting Your Home

Renting your home out, take precautionsHave a vacation or second home you’re ready to rent out?  Maybe you’re going on an extended trip overseas and would like to make some extra cash instead of letting your home sit empty.  Renting out your home is a great idea, you just need to take some precautions before doing it.

Renting your home provides an excellent opportunity to generate revenue, provided you have taken steps to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. Whether you rent out your vacation home to tourists or draw an agreement with a longtime tenant, follow these top five safety tips to protect your property and any potential profits.

 

Advertise in Reputable Places

 

Play it safe by posting your property on reputable websites that provide you with direct access to potential clients of your choosing. Some house rental sites screen tenant applicants or provide tools for property owners to screen potential renters. Advertising on certain web classified lists may be free, but these sites do not offer you a system of checks and balances designed to protect both parties, as often found on other sites. Reputable sites like www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com allow listings on a subscription or pay-per-lead basis, helping you to control costs and enjoy the benefits of a dependable site. Also be wary about posting specific information on public listings, such as exact addresses.

If you’re weary about doing the entire transaction online, you can also play it safe and hire a traditional real estate agent who can list, screen and act as an advisor when it comes to screening potential tenant.

 

Screen Tenants

 

This should go without saying, but property owners need to be assured that tenant screening is a wise course of action. Start with a simple conversation; you can get a better feel for the person through a physical interaction, rather than through online communication. For long term leases and rent agreements, check credit and personal references beforehand. Websites like www.tenantverification.com allow property owners in the US and Canada to check criminal and eviction records of potential clients, as well as credit history. Take the time to screen your tenants and you’re much more likely to avoid undesirable arrangements.

 

Develop an Application Form

 

This type of form helps with the screening process, but also gathers all relevant tenant information in one place. Applications forms differ depending on the type of home for rent and the typical length of the arrangement. An application for vacation home rentals may include contact information, length of stay and license plate numbers, while an application for long-term leases should contain employment information and current or past landlords.

 

Display Policies Immediately and in a Clear Way

 

Determine what your rental policies are, including payment terms, parking arrangements, quiet times, and limitations in regards to pets. Once you have decided on a set of policies, spell them out in a clear way and present the policies to potential tenants before signing any agreements. Better still, put these policies directly in the agreement and ensure that the tenant understands all policies. You want your renters to follow the rules, but they can only do so when those roles are clear and available.

I have a friend who took her family for a Summer in Europe.  They decided to rent out their house for 2 months since they live in a popular tourist destination in the countryside.  When they returned, they discovered the family that rented the home from them didn’t follow the instructions for caring for the swimming pool and wasted hundreds of dollars in pool supplies that my friend ended up having to cover the cost of since they were technically allowed to use the pool.  This is a case of being very clear when giving instructions and also defining who will cover what costs.

 

Trust Your Instincts

 

Property owners have certain rights of refusal. Unless you refuse to rent the property based on religious, racial, or similar prejudicial basis, it is within your rights to turn someone away. Always check references and spell out your rental policies, but trust your instincts when something does not feel right. The screening process is designed to uncover red flags and protect you from making a harmful business arrangement; trust your analysis of that process and say no when you need to.

 

Think before you rent

Renting your home can be a profitable experience, as long as you take the time to run your rental business safely. Protect your investment and provide more reliable services to prospective tenants by becoming a proactive landlord.