Is it worth it to try and rent a house on your own , or get a property manager?
I want to rent out my current home, just wondering if i should do it through a property management service or try and manage it on my own? anyone have tips or a site that they reccomend that show what disclosures/agreements i should have the tennants sign.
Do a statement of condition for each room signed and dated by you and the renter. A video of the condition can't hurt either. Just make up a page for each room with everything listed -- walls, windows, flooring, tub toilet, etc. whatever is appropriate for each room and hand write the condition -- including any major flaws -- as you do a walk through. Each of you sign and date it.
Be sure to include any appliances or whatever that you will provide (or not provide) or be responsible for. We left a fridge and stove in the house but our rental agreement stated that we did not provide either. So, when they died we didn't have to replace them.
Don't forget to include that they are responsible for providing renters insurance.
We have been super fortunate -- we have had the same renter for 13 years.
I am my own property manager for my personal rental business. It's not difficult, but I have a few hints.
1. Get an account set up with www.youcheckcredit.com. It will allow you to run credit reports and background checks as well as a few other checks.
2. Ask prospective tenants to pay for their own credit checks. Disclose what you are doing. I charge exactly what it costs me to run the reports. One reason I do this is that it serves to filter the wishy-washy prospects from the real prospects. I tell my applicants that this is exactly why I charge them for the credit reports. I insist that every adult over the age of 18 who will live in the house must go through a credit/background/eviction check. No exceptions.
3. Call every reference and every previous landlord on the application. Insist on a minimum of five year rental history. Obviously, some prospective tenants won't have that long, but get as much history as you can get.
4. I advertise exclusively on Craigslist. I find the quality and intelligence of applicants from Craigslist to be far and away better than those brought in by a sign on the street or newspaper advertisements. Bonus: Craigslist is free!
5. Keep records of everything. Let me repeat this to drive the point home. Keep records of everything. Keep. Records. Of. Everything.
6. Expect some bad credit, or your tenants would be buying. Don't worry about collections and credit card debt. Pay attention to utilities, foreclosures, and rental histories. If any of the basic necessities show a bad history, deny the application.
7. Require rental insrance. Put it in your lease, and drive the point home. It only costs about $200-300 per year, and it does protect you as well as your tenants. I had tenants set a house I own on fire in 2006. The fire was extinguished quickly. They had renter's insurance (on my insistence), and the fire was proven to be from their negligence. What happened was that their insurance was subrogated to mine, so my rates did not increase. It was as if the fire never happened.
8. Keep your rental business finances separate from your personal finances.
9. Get a copy of a lease from a local property manager. The way I did this was express interest in one of their properties and ask for the lease. I did this for two reasons. One, I was evaluating whether or not I wanted to hire them instead of starting off myself and I wanted to see how they treated prospective tenants, whether they were on time, how much they knew about the property, how much information they were willing to divulge about the owners, etc. Two, if I didn't decide to hire them, I wanted a model for my own lease. I figured it it was good enough for a large property management company, then it would pass muster with me. I didn't end up using their lease, but I got a lot of ideas from it that I wouldn't have otherwise though of.
10. Keep records of everything. Absolutely everything, no matter how trivial. Mileage records, receipts, copies of applications, everything.
Last edited by The Raddish; 07-27-2010 at 07:39 PM..
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