As many Pennsylvania homeowners have learned in 2020, renting out property is not always a simple matter.
On the contrary, plenty could go wrong no matter what you do. This year, a global pandemic has hit landlords around the world, with usually reliable tenants unable to pay, and homes that would have had plenty of offers standing empty.
Even in a normal year, renting out property is not as passive an endeavor as we’d like to think. Maintenance and repairs are your responsibility, and you have to cede control to someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a stranger. So much could go wrong that new landlords can be put off entirely by their first experience.
This is why you should do some work preparing both your home and yourself for the process. With due diligence and some plans in place, you can be ready for unexpected costs and capable of handling the process on an emotional level.
Here are some tips for preparing yourself and your home for the rental process.
Maintenance and repairs due to Pennsylvania’s humid climate
Every home will need maintenance and repairs at some point. Before renting out your property, you should take a look at everything that will become a problem in future. If possible, do your maintenance and repairs now rather than later.
Focus on issues that are specific to Pennsylvania. Summer humidity can severely impact wooden doors. In the cold winter months, the wood will contract, possibly leaving gaps that ruin the insulation and leave the property perpetually cold. It is these kinds of maintenance issues that you need to constantly take care of.
It may feel very unnecessary when your property still seems perfectly fine, but anyone who has had to take care of these things with a tenant in the home knows how much stress it can be. You have to coordinate with multiple parties, all the while making a plan for the tenant so that they don’t have to be uncomfortable.
Pennsylvania-based renters insurance
If you have heard of renters insurance PA, you may be wondering what it is. Basically, it is cover that a tenant can take out so that their personal property is covered when they are renting someone else’s property. What does this have to do with you as a landlord?
Requiring your tenant to get renters insurance can save you both money and stress. No matter how good a tenant is, everyone is liable to make mistakes. They could end up damaging your property. If they do so, you have to take care of repairs in order to keep the space livable.
When you are in a pinch, the excess charges on your own insurance might be difficult to afford. The renters insurance they get may cover personal liability, which will help them pay for costs they incur. This will come in handy if you choose to claim against them.
Renters insurance also ensures that the tenant can continue paying rent when they suffer a loss of property or personal injury. Their insurance will pay, so that they don’t have to use the money they should be spending on rent.
Make sure you have time
Renting out your home is a form of passive income. However, that does not mean it is not work. Most of the time, your property is doing the work for you. But there are plenty of occasions on which you will need to spend time taking care of admin.
For someone who is working overtime, this may not be possible. So, if you want to work long hours for extra pay, or if your job or business requires long hours from you, being a landlord will be difficult.
Assess how much excess time you think you will have, and whether you are willing to take time out of your weekends to take care of your properties. This may mean living the wrong kind of Groundhog’s Day, consistently missing out on exciting local events in order to take care of your tenants.
Alternatively, you can hire someone to manage your properties for you. This is a great option if you have a number of properties that you are renting out. In this case, you can make a lot of money, and spending on an employee will not only be possible but ideal.
When choosing to rent out a property in Pennsylvania, it is not just your home that needs to be prepared. You need to be sure you can handle the associated stress, ceding control to a stranger while taking care of everything that goes wrong.
Property is one of the surest ways to make money. If done right, you will start building a steady income stream. If you are not prepared, however, you can find yourself struggling just to pay property mortgages and taxes.