Renting your home for the first time comes with obstacles and challenges along the way
Whether it’s for additional income, a seasonal rental or the first of many homes, there are a few basic steps and one major caveat for renting your home. The basic steps we will detail below. The caveat is that a majority of manufactured home communities disallow residents from subletting homes. But if you have your own land, or live in a community that will permit it, renting your home can serve many purposes.
Clean it Up, Clear it Out
This might sound like an obvious step, but when renting your home, there is more to what meets the eye than just making sure the home and land is clean. It’s always best to bring in some professional cleaning services to get started. A deep clean for the interior can really help.
Everything from carpet to ceiling should be sterilized. Then there is the exterior, where a power-wash for the siding and windows and some simple gardening can really freshen up the home. Once you have everything cleaned, a fresh coat of paint for both the interior and exterior can truly go a long way. (Pro Tip: For interior paint colors check out this article on the emotional impact of the colors you choose)
So that’s the “clean it up”, but then there is the “clear it out”! Whether it’s your own home that you are now renting or a home you have just purchased to put on the market, you want to be sure the decor and layout of the home and land is accessible and approachable. (we have a great article on staging your home to sell that can go into the importance of letting your renter see themselves in the space).
If you are offering your rental fully furnished, be sure there isn’t *too much* furniture for the space. Additionally, be sure that rooms are laid out in a way that allows the home renter some wiggle room to rearrange the space to their liking. The same rule should be followed when it comes to art on the walls. A few simple pieces here and there is fine but you don’t want to have too much of your decor in their new space.
There are plenty of advertisement options available when renting your home, but when it comes to manufactured homes, MHVillage is still the top website in the business. We offer individuals a one-time fee to list their home for sale or rent and then the home can remain on the site until you remove it. The listings we offer come with photos, a space for a description and all of the listed features. You can update/edit the ad at any time from your account. In addition to offering listing options we also offer great search tools for home renters, making it easier for them to find your home. Home renters on MHVillage can create alerts for rentals that meet their needs, they can shop with filtered options and they are given the tools to contact you directly via your ad at any time.
For more information on our listing options click here!
There are of course other options for advertising that will help you secure the right tenant. You can always try a local newspaper, or free websites like Craiglist. However, be ready to field quite a few questions if advertising in these more general options, since renting a manufactured home is different than renting an apartment or a stickbuilt home.
Now that the home is ready, and your marketing plan is in place, the next step is the dreaded paper work. However, it doesn’t have to be that bad!
Price Your Rental
Doing some market research on homes similar to yours, including how they are priced, is the best place to start renting your home. Beyond those numbers, you also can get underway by keeping in mind the value of the home.
“The amount of rent you charge your tenants should be a percentage of your home’s market value. Typically, the rents that landlords charge fall between 0.8 percent and 1.1 percent of the home’s value. For example, for a home valued at $250,000, a landlord could charge between $2,000 and $2,750 each month.” – Amanda Dixon –Smart Asset
You also want to be sure and figure in any community lot rent that might be due monthly and explain that detail clearly in your rental agreement.
So, now that the home is priced and set to be seen, get ready for the vetting process. There are many options available online for you to perform your own background checks and credit checks. This is where a rental application for the home renter to fill out ahead of time comes in handy. Similar to a job application, this form should provide potential renters with space to share:
- Current contact information
- Place of employment
- Rent history ( have they rented a home before/when and how long?)
- Number of residents in the home
- References (Both previous landlords, personal references, job references)
There are also quite a few sample rental application templates available online. We found this application to be the most general and a solid option to get started.
The next step is following-up on the references listed. It’s incredibly important to do your research on the tenant before entering into a professional relationship.
Get it On Paper!
When creating your own rental agreement be sure ALL of your bases are covered. It’s so important to protect both you and the renter from any miscommunication right from the start. Here is a great list we found from Military.com, where they give some simple items you want to be sure and include:
- Lease term: A month-to-month lease offers more flexibility if you are selling. An annual lease provides more stability if you are holding on to the property.
- Security deposit, usually one month’s rent or more
- Rental due date and late penalties
- Repairs and who’s responsible for what
- Routine upkeep and maintenance responsibilities, such as lawn care
- List of tenants
- Rules of behavior, including noise levels, neighborly conduct and smoking
- Pet policies and related deposits
- Who pays homeowner association dues
- Association rules that the tenant must follow
- Arrangements for showings, if you plan to put your home on the market while it’s being rented
- Eviction terms, such as not paying the rent or damaging the property
You can always create your own lease. However, it doesn’t hurt to work with a local professional to be sure that everything is covered. Additionally, a professional will be able to help with any specific rules or regulations in your area for rental agreements that you might be unaware of.
Depending on how many properties you are renting and managing, the workload can be over-whelming. So you also have the option to work with a management company that offers different services.
“As a baseline, expect to pay a typical residential property management firm between 8 – 12 percent of the monthly rental value of the property, plus expenses.”
-Jason Van Steenwyke – All Property Management
This is another area where local research and reviews can really help. It’s important to determine if hiring a company is the right fit for your situation oo if managing/maintaining the home on your own is the best choice.
If you are renting your home for the first time, hopefully this article will give you a solid foundation to get started. If you have any additional questions about the services MHVillage provides please contact us!