Making the Most of House Rentals

Improve your rental house business by expanding your knowledge

As a landlord, or an aspiring landlord, you may already know that renting houses isn't always the easiest business to be in. It needs to be run like the business it is, and, of course, your goal is to make a profit. This is easier said than done.

However, there are quite a few resources out there that can help you. You should not feel that you have to figure everything out on your own or that you must struggle to make things work. Here are a few items for making the most of house rentals:

1. Set your rental rates before putting up a house for rent. Think about what other homes are renting for when deciding what you want to charge.

2. Take advantage of networking opportunities. You can learn quite a lot about renting houses by attending local events and participating in online forums.

3. Consider letting a property management agency do some of the work for you. You'll want to find one that specializes in home rentals as opposed to commercial rentals.

Price your house rentals competitively

To make a profit, your income must exceed your costs. Assuming you've made a good investment, the next step is to determine the going rental rates in your city or town. If you want to rent out a two-bedroom, one-bath home, you'll need to set your rates to compete with other 2/1 homes. If you set your price too high, nobody will be willing to rent with you, but if you set your rates too low, folks will wonder if there's something wrong with the property or neighborhood. This is a very fine line, and you'll need to carefully consider these things before finalizing your rates.

Network with other investors in the house-renting industry

Underestimating the resources you can gain from joining a real estate investors group would be a mistake. You can gain invaluable knowledge from veterans in the business as well as learn the ins and outs of the legal aspect of the business. You may make connections with attorneys, accountants, lenders and other folks in the industry.

Take some of the burden off of yourself and work with house rental management companies

There are varying levels of services offered by property management companies, ranging from simple rent collection to full-on marketing, tenant screening, contract negotiation and expense tracking services. If you're not comfortable handling a certain aspect of your business -- or just don't have the time -- consider contracting a property manager to make it easier on you.
  • Many landlords do not want to rent to tenants who have pets. If you notice that pet-friendly housing is lacking in your area, consider allowing tenants with pets to rent from you. Make sure you set firm pet policies and ask for a nonrefundable pet fee at the lease signing; this will help offset the cost of fixing any damage the pet might make to your rental homes.