There are a number of questions that you need to ask yourself when you are deciding whether or not you should rent out your property. Short term? Long term? How do you feel about being a landlord, maybe for the first time? A little bit of pre-planning and preparation will get you and your rental property in the shape you need to enter the rental landscape.
It's All In The Setup!
Long term or short term, there are some definite tasks at hand that need to be taken care of in order to ensure the safety and happiness of your renters:
- Entry: is your system for entering the home, either by traditional key or remotely via the many available apps all set up and operating smoothly?
- Are your washer and dryer, dishwasher, fridge and all appliances down to the toaster in optimum working condition? Think like your tenant. When you rent a vrbo or Airbnb on vacation, you want everything to work.
- Cleanliness is key, and a major factor in short term rentals, in determining repeat business and recommendations.
If you plan to set up your rental as short term, take these steps to ensure maximum satisfaction for your tenants:
- Pictures - they say a thousand words and will go a long way in affecting your vacancy rate.
- An inventory of what is on hand in your home. Provide an entire list on your site so that renters don't have to wonder.
- Nearby recreational amenities and your favourite spots to eat and shop!
Determining Your Rate:
You will first need to understand how much rent to charge to make sure you are covering your costs — mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities. You will also want to ensure you have a fund set aside for maintenance and general upkeep to keep your rental in top condition. Will you be hiring someone to take care of cleaning services or tackling this on your own? You will need to determine that rate and ensure it is also covered. Be real with your time. It might seem like an area to save money but do you have time to clean your rental every time someone goes in and out?
A simple way to ensure your rates are competitive are to check online on other rental sites. For a longterm rental situation, Craigslist and Kijiji will work, or Airbnb for short term rentals. You may also consider a property management company, but keep in mind that there is a cost involved for this convenience.
Caution: ensure that you have all of the necessary insurance in line for both short and long term rental situations. You may also want to consult with a lawyer to understand your legal liability.
Being a Landlord:
There are key personality traits of a really great and successful landlord, be it one who is managing short or long term rentals. Good communication skills, efficiency with time, reliability, being resposible, acting with honesty and integrity, being well-organized with keen attention to detail. Keep in mind that a good landlord will have good tenants. The care and attention that you put into your renters will be reflected in the quality of tenants you will have, as well as the care that will be shown for your home by your tenants. Acting with the above qualities will go along way to ensuring a successful landlord-tenant relationship for you both.
Short Term vs. Long Term Renting:
Which is best for you?
Short-Term Rental: GO FOR IT!
- Live in a tourist hot spot? Your nightly income will be much more lucrative!
- Feel like taking your own getaway? Block off time to use your property for your own vacation!
- Potentially less wear and tear on your rental property
Short-Term Rental: BE AWARE:
- You will need to re-furnish and clean on a frequent, regular schedule
- Competition from short term rentals in your area
- More to manage, more often
Long-Term Rental: ABSOLUTELY!
- Regular pay and monthly income - reliable tenants with less turnover
- More monthly bills are paid by your tenant
- Furnished long term rentals are much less typical
Long-Term Rental: HMM MAYBE NOT:
- Less control over the property - long term tenants can potentially be harder on the wear and tear of a home and access to the home to view any damage may be difficult to obtain.
- Lag time in between tenants - finding the right tenant is difficult and when a great one moves on, it will take time to replace them - are you financially ready for the downtime?
- The eviction process can be difficult and it is important to understand both your own and your tenants' rights.
You may have to experiment with both scenarios to understand which one is best for you. However, keep your eye on the prize - maximizing your return on investment is the name of the game!