When you need to move and cannot, or prefer not to, sell your home, renting out your house provides a way for you and your spouse to stay current on your mortgage payments. Leasing out your home also might provide a small income, depending on whether you own your home outright and on rental prices in your area. As new landlords, making your house as clean and trouble-free as possible before leasing it out presents a surefire way of minimizing headaches down the road.
Move your personal belongings out of the house if plan to advertise it as vacant property. Relocate the items you plan to leave in the home, such as large furniture or a piano, to a storage area in your home. Confirm that the storage area does not have leaks or climate control issues that might damage the items. Make repairs to the spaces as needed.
Fix as many outstanding problems as possible, including leaks, drips and creeks. Make a list and contract the services of a handyman, if necessary. Replace old or broken appliances to avoid tenant complaints down the road. Run new appliances to confirm that they work correctly before vacating the property.
Clean up visible dust and dirt. Hire a cleaning company to do a deep cleaning if you don't have the time or physical capability to do so. Focus your energy on kitchen appliances, bathrooms, ceiling fans and vents as dirt and grime in those areas could turn off a potential tenant.
Rent carpet cleaning equipment from a nearby supermarket to shampoo the carpets or hire a company that specializes in shampooing carpets. Clean and polish tile and wood floors with appropriate equipment and cleaning solutions, a task that also can be completed a cleaning crew.
Cut the grass and trim the hedges if your house comes with grounds. While you should not dig up plants, don't add new ones as your new tenant may not have the green thumbs necessary to maintain them. While working on the home's exterior, throw out old junk stored in your garage, and sweep or wash the garage's floors, as needed.
Retrieve your trash and recycling receptacles from the curb and place them in the garage. Replace missing and damaged receptacles with new ones to ensure that your tenant handles trash disposal in accordance with community guidelines.
- First-Time Landlord: Your Guide to Renting Out a Single-Family Home; Janet Portman et. al.
- The Landlord's Troubleshooter: A Survival Guide for New Landlords; Robert Irwin
- The Landlord's Handbook; Richard Campbell
- As soon as you sign a lease, give your tenant a list of the utility companies you use that includes phone numbers and website addresses to speed up the transfer of services into the tenant's name.
- Be honest with your tenant. Tell her right away if an item in the home needs repair and let her know when she can expect a visit from you or a handyman. For example, if you fail to disclose a problem that results in damage to the tenant's belongings, she might seek damages, which could sour the landlord-tenant relationship.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.