House For Rent

How Do I Determine The Market Rent For My House?

While many different factors go into determining the market rent value of your house, the best starting point is “Zillow.” 

You can also check out Realtor.com.  This contains rentals that are posted on the Multiple Listing System.  After this I would suggest contacting local realtors who might be willing to help and, lastly, checking local newspapers that may contain “for rent” ads.

So, this may involve a little detective work but it’s important to get this right.  Setting the price too low could bring a mountain of inquiries which can complicate the process.  Setting the rent too high could discourage some otherwise high-quality tenants or it could attract some unqualified applicants who are hoping you don’t screen them too carefully.

I know my rent is low. How is the best way to raise it?

First, try to determine about how low the rent is.  The answer could affect how you approach raising the rent.

The good news is that at present there is not rent control for single family rentals so if a large increase is decided upon you can do this.  This law could change at any time.

I don’t believe owners of rental properties owe tenants a subsidized rent unless there is a reason for this.  Many owners will let the rent fall below market a few hundred dollars for tenants who pay on time, take good care of the house and cause few, if any, problems.  However, its not uncommon to find a rental house renting hundreds of dollars under market.  The reasons owners allow this to happen are too numerous to list here.

There are a couple of ways to get rents near market.  One way is to do one large rent increase to whatever amount you decide upon.  This could very well result in the tenant deciding to move but you probably know that and are willing to deal with the vacancy. 

The other more gentle way to do this is to inform the tenants of what you are doing and why.  Then propose a plan to raise the rent by a said amount every so may months until the rent reaches  a certain amount.  The tenant won’t be happy about this but they will probably look around for another rental and, in the process, find out they had a “smokin” deal.

Best ways to advertise my vacancies?

I mentioned Zillow above.  This website has become a favorite place for people looking to rent.  It used to be free but it now costs less than $10 per week.  It’s well worth it.  You can post full property descriptions and pictures.  You might also use a sign but there are risks of vandalism and fraud so be careful with this.  

A good Zillow ad should be all you need.  These ads are also post on some sister websites.  

What are the most important amenities for a rental house?

Curb appeal, laundry hookups, air conditioning and all the other things you would find important in choosing a rental house.  Fresh paint, nice shutters or mini blinds, vinyl or hardwood floors, manicured landscaping, etc.  Nicer the house the nicer the price the nicer the tenants.

How can I help?

I hope you found this blog post useful.  Feel free to send me an email (right column) with any questions or thoughts you have. 

Earl Mehl

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