The sunny attitude that encourages entrepreneurs to look at a box of lemons and think ‘lemonade!’ is widely admired, and it does seem to be a viewpoint that successful people cultivate. For anyone who is determined to sell their Madison, WI property—but only at a price the market is not yet willing to pay—well, the turn-lemons-into-lemonade situation is entirely apt. After all, smart investors are buying up and renting properties like yours quite deliberately because they realize that a Madison, WI rental home is not just an asset that can appreciate over time, but one that can also produce income at the same time.
Whatever your own reason for renting, when you put a rental home in Madison, WI on the market, experienced landlords tend to prepare in the same general areas:
1. Repairs and Safety
Often using a rental safety checklist, a good first focus is on heating, plumbing, and other safety issues. Especially if you have been a longtime resident of the property, remember that some operational issues that you may have grown accustomed to ignoring need to be brought up to snuff. Repairs made now will save you time and money in the long run, and will safeguard against increased damage (and worse issues down the line). Be sure fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in place, and double-check that all windows, doors, and locks are in good working order.
2. Make it Pretty!
Of course, clean the house thoroughly, including closets, fixtures, and appliances. Replace dirty carpets, polish wood floors, and remove debris and trash from the entire property (if a one-time rubbish bin rental is called for, bite the bullet!). Where needed, give each room a fresh coat of paint in neutral colors; and outside, tidy up the grass and landscaping.
Plan to inspect and document your Madison, WI rental home before tenants move in; then once again immediately after they move out. It’s imperative; will serve as documentation of damage caused by the tenant if that warrants withholding the security deposit for repairs. Photos, a checklist—even a quick iPhone video—can do the job.
4. Landlord Insurance
AKA rental property insurance, landlord insurance is not the same as renters insurance, which covers the tenant’s property. A good landlord insurance policy protects you; it should cover everything from major damage inflicted by tenants to legal action they might bring.
5. Know Your Leasing Criteria
Before you prepare a rental application, it’s a good idea to pin down the leasing criteria to help determine who will be qualified to become your tenant. Some common ones:
No prior evictions…Good credit…No foreclosures or bankruptcies…
No criminal convictions…No pets…No smoking…References…
But whatever your choices, do remember to follow the Fair Housing Act guidelines.
6. Assemble the Docs
There are basic lease agreements and other documents available online, or you can have an experienced lawyer prepare (or just review) them. Other rental home forms you might need include credit check authorization forms, move-in checklists, and any other notices you wish to post to tenants. They’re all available online.
Sound like too much work? If so, a property management company can handle some or all of it for you—I’ll be happy to provide you with good references. And if you’ve set your sights on purchasing a Madison, WI rental home as an investment, summer is near: that means now is a great time to start!
Jen Stauter Kornstedt
HomeTeam4U-Stark Company Realtors
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