If you’ve recently decided to make your vacant house available for rent to earn extra income, you may be wondering how to prepare your house before renting it out. While you’re not required to furnish your house or spend a small fortune in cosmetic repairs, there are a few inexpensive things you can do to make your house more appealing and protect your investment.
Ensure that the electrical system, plumbing and heating system are in good working condition. As a landlord, you are required to provide your tenants with the basic essentials (such as electricity, fresh water, and heat) while they are living under your roof. Don’t try to cut corners by inspecting the property yourself. Hire a qualified professional to inspect your house before renting it out.
Keep your house insured even if you don't owe a mortgage. To protect your investment and the property of your tenants, you'll need to make sure your house carries adequate insurance to cover any losses that may occur due to the tenants' negligence, natural disasters, fire or water damage. Talk to your insurance agent about rental property insurance coverage.
Decide which appliances you will leave in the house before renting it out. While you’re not required to provide your tenants with a refrigerator or washer and dryer, you are required to maintain any appliances you leave on the property for tenant use. Renting your house complete with appliances may help you earn a better income from rent, but if you have to spend money to repair them, you may not see such a good return on your investment. If your appliances are old or worn out, consider removing them from the property and adjusting the rent to compensate your tenants for the trouble of having to provide their own appliances.
Make any repairs before you show the house to potential tenants. You’ll be able rent your house out for more money if you present it in its best light. Sagging gutters, overgrown landscaping, peeling paint and outdated flooring will not appeal to most tenants. You may have difficulty receiving a constant flow of income from your house if it doesn’t meet the standards of other rental properties in your neighborhood. Hire a contractor or make the necessary repairs yourself to prepare your house before renting it out. You’ll attract a better class of tenants and earn more money every month.
Apply a fresh coat of paint to make your house more appealing to tenants. Few things do more to improve the look of a house as inexpensively as a fresh coat of paint. Choose a neutral color scheme to make rooms look bigger, cleaner, brighter and more appealing.
Install working smoke alarms. Many states have made it mandatory that landlords install working smoke detectors in their units before renting them out. Even if your state doesn’t require them, install smoke detectors on every floor of your house and take the initiative to protect your investment and your tenants.