How to rent your former home

Written on March 27, 2018 by , updated on June 18, 2018

communicationRenting your former home will be easy, right? You know all there is to know about the house, so showing it to renters should be a snap. But something could get in the way of your success …

Your emotions.

That’s right. If you spent any amount of time living in your home, you probably have an emotional connection with it.

But if you plan to rent your former residence, even though you’ll still own the home, you’ll need to emotionally detach from it. It may still be your house, but it’s not your home anymore. And there’s a big difference between the two.

What used to be your residence—your home—is now your investment (rental) property. Here’s how to transition from a home you loved to a house that’s strictly for business.

1. Hold onto memories

You probably have some fond memories of your home—family gatherings, growing a backyard garden, hosting dinner parties, etc. You will always have your remembrances, and you should cherish them.

Appreciate that you have feelings for the home. That’s huge, so just sit with that for a bit. Understanding and getting in touch with your feelings should help you achieve your goal, which is renting the property.

To successfully rent your home, however, you need to get into the right mindset, and let go of your home. Otherwise, you might subconsciously sabotage your efforts of renting the place.

How? Here’s one way: Since it’s your home, you likely think it’s worth more than it really is. So you might ask too much for rent. By doing so, you might have a difficult time finding a renter.

Tip: Use a Cozy Rent Estimate report to help you determine the right amount to charge for rent.

Related: How to set the rent price for your rental properties

2. Set a numeric goal

Run the numbers to see the potential for making money from your former home. Being able to count on clearing an extra $500 or $1,000 a month, for example, should make it easier to help you view your former home as a business.

3. Picture what it will be like

Visualize renters living in what used to be your home to get used to the idea. Don’t be territorial. As soon as you get a signed lease or a month-to-month commitment—and first month’s rent and security deposit, of course—get comfortable with the idea that you no longer have access to the home as you once did. Let your tenants live in peace. This is the law, by the way. It’s called giving your tenants “quiet enjoyment” of the premises.

Note: You should always be able to enter your house. You, therefore, need a key to get in. It’s wise to change the locks before a tenant moves in and to keep a key for yourself.

Related: Lock lock, who’s there? The rules for changing locks

You can show up at the property for the following reasons:

  • Emergency situations (no notice needed)
  • To make regular maintenance and safety checks (with notice)
  • To show the property for sale or rent (with notice)
  • To make repairs (with notice)
  • To check on the property if the tenant will be away for an extended time

Make sure you have a section in your lease that lists the times you can enter.

4. Neutralize the home

You probably have personal touches around the home, what people on HGTV refer to as “putting on their stamp.” That red dining room or bright blue child’s room might have made you happy, but you must move on if you want to rent the place. Neutralize your home, and remove your “stamp.”

Why? Two reasons:

  1. Neutralizing the home helps you detach from it. It will seem less like your home and more like a home.
  2. You make the house show ready by neutralizing it.

Here’s how:

  • Remove all your personal belongings and furnishings
  • Clean it
  • Paint neutral colors
  • Repair all the quirky stuff you became used to (leaky faucets, doors that don’t close all the way, stuck drawers, dated light fixtures)

5. Advertise the house for rent

Once you’re emotionally ready and the house is physically ready to show, advertise it. I use Cozy, Zillow Rental Manager, and Craigslist to get this done. Once you start receiving interest, set up some showings. Be sure to screen tenants by requiring a credit and background check. (I use Cozy to get that done.) Then interview people who meet your criteria.

6. Stay away after you have a renter

No matter how tempted you may be to stop by the house and let yourself in, don’t do it. Once you’ve accepted money from someone, you no longer have the right to come into your house whenever you please. There are times when you will need to come over, but make sure you do this the right way.

This article explains how: Can a landlord enter the property whenever they want?

The bottom line

It can be difficult to turn what was once your home into an investment property. But after the initial difficulties, you will appreciate that extra money your house brings in and learn to let go of your former home.

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