Renting out a house, condo, or apartment is a great strategy to build wealth and diversify your income streams. Though easier said than done, once you get to the place where you’re financially able to afford multiple places, you’ll need to make sure these things are taken care of before people move in. Read on to see how to prepare your home or apartment for rent.
Evaluate Your Time
Before listing your apartment on the market, you need to make sure you’re mentally prepared for the time and energy of being a landlord. If you think you can have people move in and never have to interact with them, think again! Being a landlord means you’ll most likely be responsible for repairs, collecting rent, and facilitating a positive experience for your tenants.
Do yourself a favor now by writing up a contract of what you expect from people and see if it’s reasonable or not. There are many examples of tenant/landlord agreements online that are now standard. That can give you an idea of what liberties you need to give your tenets as well as what powers you can exercise. This will help you realize how much time and money you need to set aside for repairs, communication, etc.
Make Sure Your Property is Move-In Ready
The last thing you want to do is have to continue projects when tenants have already moved in. Things break down and will inevitably need repairs, but the more you can get done on the front end the better off you’ll be.
This means if you’re renting out a house to make sure the roof is in great condition with no leaks. Double-check the air conditioning units and make sure it cools down or heats up a place effectively. The water heater is another appliance that should be on your list. If a water heater isn’t evaluated properly, it could lead to flooding and ruined flooring. The last thing to be aware of is if your house is on a septic tank or sewer system. Have you had your septic tank pumped by a professional company recently?
If you’re renting out an apartment, there may technically be less work but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! Tenants want basic things like the lights, dishwasher, and toilets to work properly. Spot check the space for basic things that are in need of updating.
This list isn’t meant to intimidate you but to get you thinking in the right headspace so you can prepare your wallet. These can be expensive repairs, so put money aside for these in case they break down.
Get Insurance and Be Educated
Often overlooked, your home insurance will turn into a renter’s policy. Make sure you update your company and understand what your policy entails. You may even want to make sure all tenants have renter’s insurance.
Education is important. Do you know your state’s eviction laws? Do you know what your rights are versus the renters? These are big questions people don’t know and get into arrangements blindly before losing a lot of time, money, and energy. Save yourself and learn from people who did it wrong – do your homework and get anything legal-related out of the way.
List Your Apartment (Correctly!)
This seems like it doesn’t fit as a preliminary checklist, but the truth is it’s incredibly important! Even before you list your house or apartment, you need to know what kind of tenants you want and how much you’re going to charge. Then, make sure everything else on this list is complete.
From here, you can do everything correctly but still, have a vacant property if you don’t list it properly. Word of mouth can be great for finding people you know and trust, or using solid listing sites can help you get the dollar value you’re looking for out of a property.
Make sure when listing the property that you don’t come across as harsh, mean, or rude. You don’t want to scare people away! Even if you have some high standards for the tenants you’re trying to attract, be sure to communicate it pleasantly.
If you are specifically trying to rent apartments in Chicago, you may want to check out Brixbid. They’re an incredible platform that allows landlords to list their properties and have tenants ‘bid’ on properties. The transparency in an auction can help landlords potentially get more for their property if they’re smart about how they list it.