Your condo has served you well for a number of years, but now it’s time for you to move on. For one reason or another, selling it is not currently an option so you’re going to rent the space. Regardless if you have decided to lease your condo by choice or are moving because of circumstances, follow the suggestions below before listing your rental unit.
1. Check with Your Condominium Association
First, speak with your homeowner’s association. Unfortunately, some condo boards have recently put restrictions on the number of units that can be listed as rentals in a particular building. According to the Wall Street Journal, these restrictions are often put in place by well-meaning board members who are trying to protect their building from becoming home to a large number of transient renters. If there is a waiting list for units to become rentals, make sure to place your condo on it as soon as you think you might want to become a landlord.
2. Price Your Unit Correctly
To determine what rent to charge, start by figuring out your condo’s current value at www.housevalues.com. According to SFGate, your rent should be approximately 0.8 to 1.1 percent of the total value of your home; however, that number is only realistic if it is competitive with the rental price of other condos in your area. Check out current rental listings before deciding what to charge.
3. Screen Your Tenants
One of the worst things that can happen to you as a landlord is to allow the wrong type of renters into your unit. Once in place, deadbeat tenants can be hard to evict. In addition, the wrong kind of renter could wreak havoc on your unit, which could cost you thousands of dollars to fix. So it’s important to screen your prospective tenants. If you aren’t comfortable doing background checks on candidates yourself, consider using tenant screening services such as those provided by the AAOA (American Apartment Owners Association).
4. Know Your Deductions
You may be aware that as a landlord you are entitled to write off such things as mortgage interest and property taxes. But there also are other lesser-known deductions that can help save you money. For example, if you rent your condo because you had to move to another city you may be entitled to deduct travel costs to return to the condo location if the trips are related to upkeep or your tenants, according to Reuters.
5. Consider Accepting Pets
As a first-time landlord, you may instinctively want to say no when it comes to allowing pets into your unit. Yet, the decision could substantially reduce your pool of prospective tenants. According to the American Pet Products Association, more than 56 million households own dogs, while more than 45 million have cats. So instead of turning away all pet owners, state in your listing ad that you will accept one or two small pets—and then set a weight limit and collect a non-refundable pet cleaning fee. And remember, in most cases, a small pet is probably going to cause less damage than a family with teenagers or small kids.