You've bought a new house or taken a job out of town and you now need to get your current townhouse ready to rent. Operating as a landlord means stepping back and looking at the townhouse as a potential renter. You need to think back to the time you purchased the house and focus on what made you select the townhouse as your home. These are undoubtedly the same features that will attract potential renters.
Read your townhouse association regulations to determine if the group allows you to rent out your unit, and give your city hall a call to make sure your area doesn't have any restrictions on renting your townhouse.
Calculate the rent amount you'll need to ask to make the townhouse rental break even. This figuring must include any mortgage due each month, amounts paid to property tax and dues owed to the townhouse association. Insurance on the structure, if not paid by the association, also must factor into the prospective rent amount. Add an amount for repair and maintenance based on the age of your townhouse to the rental figure. The older the unit, the greater the chance you'll need to make some repairs during the rental period.
Research local and state rental codes to determine any changes required to turn your townhouse into a rental unit. Some possible changes might include installing screen guards on second floor windows to prevent little ones from pushing out a screen during summer months and falling out of the open window.
Make a list of the repairs and changes necessary to make your townhouse attractive to renters. Think in terms of putting your home on the market for sale. Renters look for the same things as new buyers. Fresh paint brightens up the walls and makes the townhouse look attractive to buyers for a nominal investment, but the quickest way to get rental signatures is to make your place sparkling clean. Prepare the entrance of the townhouse for maximum impact. Plan to add bedded plants or potted plants to stage the entrance area to give immediate appeal to potential renters.
Take photos of your townhouse to show the features. Snap images of the townhouse kitchen, baths and any patios. Don't forget the complex amenities, including any gyms, swimming pools and hot tubs.
Make notes for an advertisement for your townhouse and research potential places to post your rental information.
Make a list of any window coverings and your personal furnishings that will stay for the renters.
Research local real estate agents with special rental certifications and professional property management organizations to make the decision to do the marketing and leasing yourself or hire outside professionals to do the work to rent your townhouse.
- MSN Real Estate: How to Rent Out Your House
- MSN Real Estate: What to Know If You Rent Out Your House
- Realtor.com: The Business of Renting Your Home
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Getting Your House Ready to Sell
- New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards: Habitability Bulletin
- Military.com: Getting Your Home ready to Rent Out
- Realtor.com: Get the House Ready
- The Landlord Protection Agency: Preparing Your House for Tenants -- Getting Your House Rent Ready!
- Plan the changes with renters in mind. Avoid making costly changes incorporating features easily damaged by renters, including selecting light-colored replacement carpeting for the unit. Think in terms of a landlord and not a homeowner.
- Make sure to notify your insurance company of the shift to a rental property. Shop townhouse insurance rates to determine if your policy continues to be the best rate for comprehensive coverage for a rental unit.
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.