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Jen Madison's Helpful Blog

By Jen Madison | Agent in Anthem, AZ

Need to Rent Out Your Home? Here's How To Do It Right...

1. Work With the Right Expert. A knowledgeable Realtor is essential in this market to help make sure you rent out your home as quickly as possible to the the highest quality tenants. They will know correct market pricing, how to get the best market exposure for your advertising, and how to properly screen tenants so your renting experience is easy and streamlined instead of a hassle or disaster.

2. Get Informed and Know Your Costs. Understand the complete financial picture of renting your home. Casey Edwards, co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Smart Landlord and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Money with Rental Properties details how to configure both liberal and conservative profit-and-loss statements so you don't get caught with unexpected budget surprises.

3. Make Sure Your Prospective Tenants Are Thoroughly Screened. This is another crucial area where a good Realtor can help protect you by knowing how to correctly investigate the applicant's full identity, rental backround, and credit history. It is all too easy for hopeful applicants to present a false picture of who they are, and sometimes they'll even use friends posing as past landlord references. If one is not careful in doing their due diligence on investigating the applicants, one can end up with less than desirable tenants and it can be costly and time consuming to try to evict them after the fact.

4. Know the Law: Landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state. Some states tilt toward landlords, while others, such as California, lean more toward tenants rights. Some municipalities have requirements, too, and federal law governs things like fair treatment for tenants and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Some of the legal issues to consider are:
-The law requires you treat everyone equally, so it is imperative that you set your criteria for accepting or rejecting applicants and apply them uniformly. Write down your policy and make sure it conforms to the law. What problems will count against a prospective tenant? What things can you overlook? How will you consider tenants with a history of debt? Stick to your rules without exceptions.
-If you do reject someone on the basis of information you get from a screening service or data broker, be transparent -- disclose to the applicant exactly what the problem was and how you discovered it.
-Keep applications for several years so you can demonstrate, if necessary, that you have a policy for screening applicants and that you apply it fairly. When you discard old applications, shred them -- especially those with Social Security numbers and other personal information.
-Your state may require you to pay interest on renters' security deposits so this is important to check out as well.

You can learn more about a landlord's legal obligations from Nolo Press' Every Landlord's Legal Guide.

5. Get It In Writing. Make sure ALL the terms that you have agreed upon or the tenant has agreed to are in writing in the lease. It is a common mistake to rely on what someone has promised in the negotiations, but if it isn’t stipulated in the lease you have very little recourse to enforce oral promises. It is essential that everything be in writing in the final, signed lease and a good agent will make sure of this for you as well.

6. Lastly, Consider a Property Manager.
Some good questions to ask prospective management companies are:
-Exactly what services do you provide?
-What references can you give me?
-Do you offer 24-hour maintenance?
-Are you bonded (in case of theft or improper handling of money)?
-Do you have errors-and-omissions insurance (to cover negligence or mistakes)?
-Do you keep each client's funds in a separate bank trust account in that client's name rather than a single master trust account containing all property owners' funds?

Good Luck and Have Fun Renting Your Home!!

If you have any questions about the above information or need expert rental assistance in North Phoenix, Anthem, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, or New River please call me at (623) 340-7360. I am always happy to help :)

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