Deciding to rent out your Fort Worth property opens up the potential for consistent rental income, which leads to cash flow and long term returns. Whether you’ve inherited or purchased a piece of real estate that you think is ideal for the rental market or you want to rent out the home you’ve been living in – there are a few first steps that are imperative if you want to set yourself up for success.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s easy to make a mistake. Surround yourself with professionals and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Here are the three things you should do first.
Get to Know the Local, State, and Federal Laws
The Texas Property Code will dictate what you must do before you rent a home to tenants in Fort Worth. Familiarize yourself with Chapter 92, where you’ll find the following requirements:
- Re-key the doors before a tenant moves in.
- Install peepholes on exterior doors.
- Install deadbolts or other security devices on all exterior doors and sliding glass doors.
- Make sure the locks on windows are working.
- Install smoke detectors.
Smoke alarms need to be installed in every bedroom. You also need to have an alarm outside the bedrooms, and if each room is off of one hallway, the smoke detector in that hallway will be enough. If there’s a bedroom on a different floor or in a separate part of the house, that hallway needs a smoke alarm as well. You’ll also need to make sure there’s at least one smoke detector on each floor of the property.
In addition to the Texas Property Code, you also need to bring yourself up to speed on all fair housing laws. For example, service and support animals must be treated differently than pets. You have to understand security deposit laws – Texas requires you to return the deposit to your tenants within 30 days of the move-out. Eviction laws are also complex.
Protecting yourself against disputes, claims, and lawsuits is essential to new landlords. Make sure you’re complaint and you understand your responsibilities.
Price Your Fort Worth Rental Property Correctly
Before you list your property on the rental market, you have to price it. You may have an idea about how much you want to earn in rent, but it’s important to understand that the market drives your rental value, not the amount you want to earn.
Pay close attention to similar properties in your area. Do some research to find out what they have recently rented for. You can check online rental sites like Zillow and Zumper, but remember that these are listing prices. The best data will be the actual rental price. A Fort Worth property management company will have this information, and you can usually get a free rental analysis.
If you overprice your home, you’ll have a hard time attracting good renters quickly. You don’t want to devalue your property and underprice it of course, but keep in mind that if you try to keep the price at a higher level and no one shows interest, you’re losing money every day that it’s vacant. If it’s not renting at $1,500 a month, lower the price to $1,400. Giving up $100 a month in rent will save you from a huge vacancy loss.
Find and Place an Excellent Tenant
Finding a great tenant starts with providing a great property. Make sure it’s clean, functional, and attractive. Next, you’ll want to market your home strategically. Take some great photos, write a compelling description, and list your home on all the websites that prospective tenants use.
The tenant you have in your property will really impact the type of rental experience you have. With a qualified tenant, you can expect on-time rental payments, open communication, and help maintaining your home. With a terrible tenant, you’ll be trying to collect late rent every month, arguing about lease violations, and finding property damage after the tenant finally moves out.
Tenant screening is important. Check all criminal and eviction histories, verify income and employment, and call references. Talking to current and former landlords is a good way to find out what it’s like to have this person living in your property.
These are a few starting points when you’re renting out your Fort Worth home. We can help you with the next steps, too. Contact our team at Trend Property & Management.