By Jennifer Riner of Zillow
Renters requiring more privacy and space should consider renting out single-family properties instead of high-rise apartments or townhomes. Aside from enhanced seclusion and square footage, private owners often allow their tenants to paint, modernize and customize their living spaces, as long as modifications don’t compromise home values.
Considering renting a single-family property? First follow these five steps.
1. Set a Budget
Typically, single-family homes cost more than apartments or townhomes due to size differences and the inclusion of private outdoor spaces. Lessees must factor these enhanced accommodations into their budgets. Renters who can afford high-end amenities in small apartments might end up paying more for large, dated homes. While single-family properties are costly, it’s easier to negotiate with landlords who both own and manage tenancies. Single-family homeowners make final decisions. Communicating directly with homeowners is easier than going through multiple layers of supervision at large property management (PM) firms. Rent negotiations at multi-unit apartment complexes are not only lengthy, but PMs often enforce stricter pricing policies because of comparable rentals on the market. Due to the limited number of similar properties, single-family homeowners don’t have the same pricing strategies as apartment owners.
2. Research Availability
Similarly to apartments for rent, tenants looking for private properties must adequately research prospective neighborhoods, school districts, commute times and property details before submitting lease applications. Private homes for rent are scarcer because renters opt for long-term leases, especially when they have close relationships with owners. Also, apartment complexes are designated rental units, usually relisted each year. Homeowners might occupy their single-family homes for decades before they decide to rent them out. Availability varies, so don’t become frustrated with sluggish search processes.
3. Submit an Application
Landlords require pay stubs, bank statements, credit reports and references to supplement rental applications. Gather these documents prior to applying for leases to appear prepared and experienced with the rental process. Single-family homeowners seek trustworthy candidates to take care of their homes, and being one step ahead in the process helps prove willingness to cooperate. Further, act promptly to expedite the authorization process for both parties’ advantage.
4. Conduct a Walk Through
Document damages prior to moving into single-family residences. With more space than typical apartments, minor holes and scuffs in full-size homes may go unnoticed, so it’s best to be thorough. Check water temperature controls to make sure hot water is working throughout the home. Make sure to note any water damage in the property, especially stains on walls or moldy odors. Tenants can request immediate repairs prior to move-in and evade responsibility for damages that occurred prior to their contracts.
5. Purchase Renter’s Insurance
To best protect personal belongings, lessees should invest in adequate insurance coverage. Aside from private possessions, renter’s insurance sometimes covers liability. Tenant liability is an essential element of sufficient insurance coverage; otherwise leaseholders are financially responsible for guests’ medical bills. Homeowners (or their insurance) are obligated to cover injuries caused by property faults, such as foundation failure or roof collapse.
Private rental properties are especially good alternatives for large families or couples looking to settle down. Renters who allocate a portion of their monthly savings toward future down payments can one day purchase their own homes and potentially rent them out for profit.