Whether you’ve acquired your rental property by purchasing the investment, inheriting the home, or deciding to rent out the property that you once lived in yourself, it’s time to start thinking about it like a business. Take the emotion out of it, and think about this property in terms of what you can earn in short-term rental income and long-term returns.
Once you’re the proud owner of income-producing property, you need to take a few important steps to ensure a successful rental experience.
Prepare the Home for the Rental Market
The first item on your to-do list is to get the property ready for the Bonita, Chula Vista or South Bay rental market. Start by cleaning it out and fixing anything that needs to be repaired. You don’t want any personal possessions that once belonged to you or a family member inside the home. Remove everything, and make sure you’re working with a blank slate. Then, you’ll want to make all the necessary repairs. It’s not a good idea to rent out a home that still needs work. Make sure everything is working and appealing. If the appliances are 20 years old, consider replacing them. Spruce up your curb appeal with a little landscaping. The home should look attractive to potential tenants.
Learn the Laws and Legal Requirements
There are a number of complicated federal, state, and local laws you need to be aware of before you rent out your home. These laws are changing all the time, so you not only have to learn them – you have to stay up to date with them. Start with the Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disability Act, and all of the laws pertaining to landlords and tenants in California. You’ll need to understand security deposit requirements, important disclosures to include with your lease, and what you’ll need to do during an eviction.
Price and Market your Home
Before you begin advertising your home, make sure it’s priced correctly. New landlords often make mistakes when attaching a rental value to their property. Either they over-price it because they think it’s worth more than what the market demands, or they underprice it because they’re so eager to get a tenant quickly. Pricing your property takes time and research. Compare your property to competing properties in your neighborhood and access some reliable data that can help you make a smart decision. If you price your home too high, it will likely be vacant for too long, and that will cost you money. If you price it too low, you’re leaving a lot of money behind, and you’ll have a hard time bringing it up to market rent levels.
Once you’ve settled on a price, you need to begin marketing your home. This requires you to take high-quality photos, write a good description, and post your ad online on all of the relevant rental sites. You’ll also want to post a sign at the property so you can attract the attention of people who may be walking or driving through the neighborhood.
After you have prepared the property for the market, learned some key rental laws, priced and marketed the home correctly, you need to find a tenant and go through proper screening process. During the tenancy, you’ll have to collect rent, maintain the home, and respond to tenant issues.