How to Rent Out Your Home When You Have to Move for Work
Whether you work for Microsoft, Amazon or one of the other tech giants in the Seattle/Bellevue area, being asked to move overseas or work in another location for an extended period of time is extremely common. While you might be moving elsewhere, it can be difficult to let go of your home, and the truth is, you don’t have to. Renting out your home is an easy way to keep your property, and turn it into an investment while you’re gone. For example, Kirkland (WA) property values are high and as a result, rent rates are soaring, which means that you can likely earn more than your mortgage every month. Plus, when you come back, you won’t have to find and purchase a new home in an area where housing is in short supply.
How to Rent Out Your Home
Insurance – You will need insurance to rent out your home. Typically, homeowner’s insurance does not cover your tenants, which means you will need a landlord or rental dwelling policy. Rental dwelling insurance usually costs about 25% more than standard homeowners insurance, so you’ll want to calculate what you’ll pay based on your current rates. Many rental dwelling policies cover your personal belongings and appliances, and may cover a loss of rental income if the property is being repaired or rebuilt due to damage. Keep in mind you should always try to upgrade your existing policy as it will be easier than cancelling it and moving to another company. The details of a policy can also change between insurance companies so be sure to research what policy will work best for your investment.
Prepare Your Home – It’s important to pack and store any belongings you don’t want to leave in the house or take with you. Renting a furnished home is usually easier than renting an unfurnished home, but you could run the risk of tenants damaging or causing wear and tear to your furniture, which is not ideal if the pieces are expensive, family heirlooms, or otherwise difficult to replace. A storage unit is relatively affordable to lease on a monthly or yearly basis, and allows you to safely store items until you return. You’ll also have to do the following:
- If your property is near 520, you may be inside of Seattle, which means you’ll need a rental inspection and will have to register your home. Check this map of Seattle’s border here to be sure.
- Get a pre-rental inspection to note existing damage or issues, as well as the condition of the home.
- If you have a mortgage, you may have to ask your bank for consent to lease out your property, or you could breach the terms of contract.
- Have your mail forwarded to a new address.
- Set up electronic auto-pay to take care of important bills like your mortgage or car payments while you are gone.
- Set up a payment method, such as electronic bill pay, for tenants to pay you if you do not have a local property manager.
Finding a Property Management Company
While it might be tempting to cut out the middle man and just handle everything yourself, you may not have the time or opportunity to properly manage your home or handle issues for your tenants. For example, if you’re on the other side of the country or the globe, managing a 3 AM with a water leak would be near to impossible without having someone else check on the situation and get a plumber to the home immediately. A professional property management company is readily affordable with costs usually ranging from 10-15% of the rent, and ensures that you don’t have to worry about anything, including marketing, maintenance, checkups, or tenant screening. The most important part of choosing a property management company is to research a company with a good reputation, and find someone who is local to your home. For example, if you live in Kirkland near Microsoft, then you want a local property management company that can easily come out to your property, knows the area, and knows how to rent in your area.
This is crucial, unless you have trustworthy and handy friends or family who are willing to be the tenants emergency contact, can take care of regular maintenance and repairs, and can work with local repair companies when the need arises. Visiting the property periodically is also crucial to ensuring the exterior and landscaping stay in good shape, and a property management company will not only make this possible, but will know what to look for when visiting to ensure that the tenants are taking care of the property per the lease agreement.
Decide on the Rent
Once you have all of the details out of the way, you can decide on a rental fee. This is usually determined by existing factors, such as what similar homes are renting for in your location, local amenities, and features such as whether or not you are renting the home furnished.
If you need more help with renting your home, finding tenants, or long term property management, contact SJA Property Management for a free quote on managing your property.