When you look at rental homes for sale, you might look at dozens of properties with your agent without knowing what you should look for or what home is best for your needs. While you may have an idea in mind about whether you prefer a home for one family or multiple families, you may have no clue what you need. You may also focus more on your own likes and preferences than what tenants would like. Before looking at another rental home, check out a simple list of what to look for in a rental property.
Size and Space
One thing you need to focus on is the overall size of that house and the space available. Depending on the city where you buy, you may find that homes are extremely close together and that homes have tiny yards. Other cities offer more space between neighboring houses and larger yards. Keep in mind that the amount of available space may determine the type of tenants interested in renting that home. A couple with two small children won't like a house that has no backyard and small bedrooms.
Taking a short drive through the neighborhood surrounding that house is the best way to get a feel for that area and to learn more about the neighborhood in general. When tenants come to look at that house, they'll ask you questions about the school district, whether there are any parks nearby and whether the neighborhood is safe. Though you can find cheap homes in some neighborhoods that cost as little as $10,000 or less, you might have a difficult time finding tenants or finding tenants willing to stick around and renew their leases.
One or more unique features can make a house more appealing to tenants and get you more money too. Look at comps for the neighborhood before looking at houses. You can then compare the features found on traditional homes nearby to the features found on the home you want to buy. Features on rental homes that tenants like include a large fenced-in backyard, ample parking on the street, a large garage with its own garage door opener and a large front or side porch. You can also highlight other features like a walk-in closet or en suite bathroom in the master bedroom or built-in shelving in the living room.
A turnkey property is one that you can turnover almost as soon as you buy it. If you buy a rental home that is in great condition, you can often advertise that property for rent and find tenants less than a month after becoming the new owner. If, however, you buy a house that needs a significant amount of work, it might take months before you even start looking for renters. Homes that are in poor or bad condition will require more money upfront, which cuts into your overall profits.
As you look at rental homes, give some thought to the current residents living there too. Talking with them or seeing how they act can tell you a lot about that property. You can easily see if they are the type of people who take care of regular maintenance and keep the home in good shape, or if they are the type of people who will spray paint the walls and leave behind mountains of trash that you need to remove later.
Buying a rental home requires more than just finding a house that is in good condition. You also need to look at the current residents, the surrounding neighborhood, the space available and any unique features it has.
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