Being your own boss is the ultimate life goal. The freedom to work on your terms and navigate the success of your career is something most people only dream of. While there are many ways to approach becoming your own boss, what profitable option is by renting out property.
If you own a townhome, renting out the half you aren’t using is a fantastic way to boost your income.
Rental prices tend to increase each year. Over 90 of the United State’s 100 largest cities have seen a rise in rental costs every year since 2017. Bringing a tenant into your townhome is a smart way to reap the benefits of these increases and boost your financial stability.
If you want to know how to rent your townhome and all the tricks to attract the best tenants, just keep reading.
What Makes a Good Landlord?
One of the most important aspects of being a successful landlord is building a great rapport with your tenants. You can take the time to learn all there is to know about how to rent your townhome, but if you are a bad landlord, you will have a hard time keeping renters.
Luckily, we have a few tips to help make you the landlord of the year.
- Stay on Top of Repairs: One thing that most tenants will agree on is that waiting days for basic home repairs is one of the worst parts of renting. Usually, your tenant isn’t legally permitted to make certain repairs to the home or isn’t required in the lease to do so. This puts them in a difficult position when something breaks and the landlord is nowhere to be found. Whether it is a request for a carpet cleaning or dealing with a burst pipe, try to make every repair a priority and your tenants will come to truly respect your ethics.
- Stick to The Law: Sometimes it can be difficult to have a stranger living on your property. You might find yourself in a situation with a bad or annoying tenant that makes you want to change the locks and throw their junk on the curb. However, you simply cannot do that. Tenants have strict rights that will be set depending on your location. Be sure to read up on the law in your area before making any choices that will come back to haunt you.
- Be Easy to Contact: There are dozens of reasons your renter may need to get ahold of you, and most of them are time-sensitive. Maybe they need your permission to make some plumbing repairs. They might need to pay the rent before they leave town for a week. Maybe they are locked out and desperately need an extra key. No matter the case, the best landlords do their best to be available to their tenants at all times. Consider assigning them a special alert tone on your mobile devices, giving them any alternate phone numbers, and providing an emergency only contact in case you are unavailable.
- Give Your Tenants’ Privacy: A lot of people think that being friendly means stopping by to say “hi,” and dropping off treats around the holidays. It is important to remember that your tenants are using your property as their home – a place where they should be allowed to unwind and feel safe. The looming feeling that the landlord might drop by at any moment can deeply damage the lessee/lessor relationship. Provide your tenants with notice before coming to the home and respect their right to not answer the door.
- Create Customized Leases: It is easy to find lease templates online, but it isn’t in your best interest to plug in the most basic of information and be done. Instead, consider adding details about additional guidelines, rules, and restrictions. What are your rules about pets, guests, subleasing, parking spots, or anything else? Including answers to any question the renter might have is a great way to alleviate controversy and unpleasant misunderstandings down the line.
- Maintain Empathy for Your Renters: Consistency and confidence are important to how to rent your townhome. Still, you and your tenants are all human and a little compassion can go a long way. If your tenants run into a genuine family crisis and need a little leniency, it is often in your best interest to help them out. If they’re late on rent for a day because they had to go to an urgent care center, give them a break. Not only are you helping a fellow family, but you are likely improving the odds of maintaining them as renters far into the future, which can save you money and keep your property in better condition. If you have multiple properties, your tenants may even be more likely to recommend you as a landlord to their friends and colleagues.
- Be Proactive About Tenant Complaints: At some point in your relationship with your renters, someone will reach out to you about issues that you consider mild nuisances. Maybe the neighbor is letting their dog go to the bathroom on their lawn. It could be that their parking spot is being used by someone else. While you may feel that these problems are a waste of your time, it is important that you try to make time for them. When you show that you have an interest in the general comfort of your tenants, it creates a strong, respectful bond between you. At the very least you can provide them guidance on how to handle issues on their own and at the most, you might need to keep a 24 hour towing service on speed dial.
Aside from being an amazing landlord, knowing how to rent your townhome encompasses other details as well. You should consider things like amenities, services, marketing, and more.
Which Amenities You Should Offer
Amenities can make all the difference when a potential renter is choosing a property. You want to provide the absolute best you can without breaking the bank. If you want to get applicants asking how to rent your townhome, you need to entice them with the amenities they truly want.
Here are the five most desirable amenities that tenants look for:
- Included Appliances: From the stove to the fridge, even the washing machine, tenants love appliances. Moving is expensive, and not having to worry about making huge appliance purchases is a big plus to renters.
- Guaranteed Parking: Whether it is a garage space, covered parking spot, or just guaranteed street parking, tenants want to know that they will have a place to put their vehicle near their home.
- HVAC System: Central-heat-and-air is one of the most common search terms on rental property websites. It is a luxury that makes harsh weather much easier to handle. HVAC repairs can be pricey, so be certain to schedule time for HVAC maintenance monthly.
- Ample Storage Space: Providing great storage options is an important tip on how to rent your townhome. Giving your tenants appropriate storage keeps the property from becoming cluttered. Cluttered homes attract pests and are fire hazards, so providing a small shed or cleverly placed shelving is a great idea.
- Outdoor Space: You don’t want a great tenant passing on your property due to a lack of outdoor space. You don’t need to provide a full yard for your tenant, but a patio space or walkout balcony can give them a relaxing space that amplifies the property’s luxury level.
The Best Services to Provide Tenants
Here’s a money-making tip: smart homes save you money on utilities and give you an opportunity to increase rent.
Tenants love smart features around the home. This can include smart lighting, security, thermostats, and repair sensors (they can even catch a leaking pipe before it gets serious!). Though the upfront cost of a fully automated home system can be a little steep, it is nothing compared to the savings and increased earnings over time.
In addition to the smart home, consider offering maintenance services that the tenant may typically hire out for. This is another justification for your rent cost and helps you ensure property maintenance is up to par. Consider including gutter cleaning, mowing, seasonal mulch service, or tree trimming in your lease.
Consider Some Upgrades
If you want to know how to rent your townhome for the highest prices, you need to focus on upgrades. All the amenities and services in the world can’t make up for a rundown property with severely outdated features.
If the foundation of the property is fine, focus on a few physical changes that make a big difference. Update the color pallet of the home and consider updating cabinet hardware to something sleek and modern.
Dingy backsplashes and tile can be painted with special enamel paint, which can save you thousands of dollars in having the tiles replaced.
Outside, consider looking into paving services to improve your curb appeal. This gives the area a clean appearance and also provides a safer entryway to the home.
Some other upgrade suggestions include: removing popcorn ceilings, utilizing kitchen and bathroom space with shelves, upgrade lighting, and replace discolored outlet plates.
Marketing Tips to Get Your Name Out There
Now that you have some tips on how to rent your townhome, let’s discuss marketing.
Though some renters still opt for the old school classified ads approach, the modern renting world is done almost exclusively online. Digital marketing has become a booming trend over the last couple of decades, which makes getting your name out there so much easier.
20 years ago, only 14% of adults over 65 used the internet. Modern numbers show that over 73% of people over the age of 65 are now online. This means that you have a far better chance of reaching your target audience online than anywhere else. Plus, it is so much cheaper.
Advertise your listing through social media, rental websites, and on your personal website. If you aren’t terribly web-savvy, consider reaching out to some real estate services to gauge service costs. These services will manage your listing for you and keep up with applicants on your behalf, which can cut out a lot of stress and responsibility.
Protect Yourself and Your Property
Protecting your property can look like a lot of things. It might mean installing outdoor cameras and having a lawyer examine all your paperwork and contracts. It also might mean installing double pane glass to avoid broken windows or industrial overhead doors to prevent access to your garage.
The best advice for how to rent your townhome safely is to pay close attention to all laws and rights of your tenants and protect the actual property like you would your own home.
Invest in Quality
It is natural to want to save money at every turn, but there is one area we highly recommend you invest in quality electricians.
Residential electrical work is a fairly flooded market. You may find dozens of options in your area to complete work on your property. Unfortunately, not all electricians are created equally and you absolutely want to avoid a hap-dash job.
poor electrical work is a major contributor to house fires. Electrical fires are devastating and often deadly, which is why you shouldn’t allow anyone untrustworthy to complete and work on your townhome.
A Few Extra Tips
If you want to know how to rent your townhome without spending too much money, keep these tips in mind:
- learn how to conduct basic plumbing online and save money on drain line cleaning, simple leak repair, and more.
- Look at listings for other rentals in your area/ price range to get a feel for the amenities renters are expecting.
- Keep receipts for any purchases and repairs to use as tax write-offs.
- Take the time to research rates before selecting a real estate agent, insurance agent, or any other service provider.
How to Find the Best Renter
The last, and arguable most important, step for how to rent your townhome is finding a great renter. If you are offering a plethora of amenities and services, chances are you are going to get a lot of offers. Remember, you don’t need to settle for the first person who comes knocking.
Put together an application that covers the tenant’s employment and rental history. Ask for personal and professional references. You want to delve as deep into their past as you can.
Run a criminal background check and credit check to get a full scope of the applicant’s financial stability and behavioral history.
At the end of the day, if you are going to put your hard work and heart into creating a wonderful place for someone to live, you want to be certain the right person signs your contract. Take your time and whittle your list down to the best of the best. If you do, you and your tenant are sure to have a great relationship.