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So You Want To Rent Out Your House?

I love my job as a realtor because I’m able to help people buy the home of their dreams, or help sellers transition to a new phase in their life.  Though some homeowners opt to lease their home instead.  The rental market is especially strong right now, since many are worried about the current economic environment.  The words “recession” and “housing bubble” are starting to emerge again. 

Lately, I’ve had many clients with jobs being relocated outside of the Houston area, but they’re choosing to keep their first single family home.  Why?  If they want to come back to their old neighborhood, they know they will have to pay much more than what they originally paid for their home 5-10 years ago.  

The Houston Association of Realtors reports the median price of a single-family home sold was just under $249,000 in 2020 during the global pandemic. Fast forward to May 2022, and the median price topped $350,000.  In other instances, they built the home and customized it down to the bathroom tile and wall paint.  They may have children who grew up in the home; so, yes, there’s a sentimental aspect too.

Though, when it comes to renting out your home to hold onto it– just know, it’s no longer your home.  It turns into a property investment.

There are a few things you need to do to prepare for future tenants.  First, call your home insurance company.  Having tenants may increase your premium. Also, having a pool, or accepting certain breeds of pets will also factor in.  You may even want to consider Landlord Insurance. Next, call your POA (Property Owners Association) if you have one and make sure you’re not violating anything in your deed requirements.

Once you’ve decided to lease your home, and have it listed with a reputable realtor, it could take some time to find the right tenant.  Credit score, criminal record, eviction history, pay stubs… oh my!  There is a lot to consider.  

At this point you may have decided whether or not you want to use a Property Manager or do it yourself. Plus, not only do you have to find solid tenants, but you’re responsible for the property’s upkeep and while they’re living in it. 

As you get the keys ready to transition your home to its new owner, be courteous and consider the following:

  • Put a fresh layer of paint on the walls.
  • Check/replace heating and air conditioning filters.
  • Have it deep-cleaned by a home cleaning service.
  • Clean the windows.
  • Fix anything that is broken.
  • Check that all appliances are working.
  • Have the carpets professionally cleaned.
  • Spray for pests.
  • Write a maintenance list for the home.
  • Leave a utility list for the home

Pretend you are selling your home to this tenant.  What do they need to know?  Do they know where the mailbox is located?  Will they be able to access the amenities of your community?

Landlords should pass their home to tenants in the same condition, in which they expect to receive it back.  For example, if you leave the home with an unkempt lawn and garbage in the garage, they will likely do the same.  Set expectations and be courteous.  In the end, being a landlord can be financially rewarding but it can also come with headaches if you truly plan to keep your “forever home” forever!

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