13 Replies

@Cory Shannon check out other listings, make calls to places that are similar to yours and act as a potential renter. Check out newspapers, craigslist, rentometer, etc. There are plenty of ways to go about getting an idea of what to charge. Good luck!

Zillow and Trulia are great sources.  It does sometimes feel like more of an art than a science.  Definitely connect with reputable properrty manageent companies too.  They can be very helpful in giving you realistic rents.

There is no one source by itself that will tell you what the rent should be.  You need to check multiple sources (i.e. Craigslist, Zillow, Rentometer, Trulia, Hotpads, local property mgmt company, etc). 

Rentometer, for instance, does not even factor in how many bathrooms a home has, the condition of the home, size of the home, or even type of home (apt vs SFR). It's mainly just comparing properties with a similar number of bedrooms in the general vicinity. Hardly an accurate way of determining "comps".

Another place to check for some more ideas on the topic is BP's own Ultimate Guide to Fair Market Rents.

This is where the dreaded realtor comes in handy. He/she can look up rental comps in the area to give you a pretty accurate estimate of the optimal rental price.

Personally I've found the rent guestimator websites to be pretty inaccurate. I've compared rentals in my neighborhood against those sites, and the sites are consistently $200-$300 lower than I know these properties are getting for rent.

Originally posted by @Cory Shannon :

How do I find out an areas average rent, so I dont over charge, or under charge on my rental?

 There are lots of ways.  Like most says there are, Zillow etc.  

If you don't want to overcharge or under charge your rental, just put a test listing on Craigslist.  Usually most responses happen in first day or two.  If it is overcharging, then you will have very few, if any, phone call. Undercharged? You will have a lot (too many?) phone calls!

Cory Shannon I agree with Fred Heller , I use my realtor to send me comps for rentals. These may be previous or current and you can eventually get an idea of what the rent amount should be. Be careful, just because something is listed for rent at a certain amount doesn't mean it's going to rent for that amount. It's better to have a history showing that a property rented for a certain amount so you can confidently demand that price.

If you live close by, drive through the neighborhood and give a call on any "for rent" signs you see in yards.

This also is a possible lead for driving for dollars!!

Just pretend like you are a renter wanted to rent your unit. How would you find what rents are in the area you want? For me, I use craigslist and compare bd/bath/ft^2 and anything else you would want in a rental unit.

I do the same thing as @Austin Youmans . People in my area are using craigslist to find places to stay, so I use craigslist to determine my market rent. 

I invest in mostly B-C areas, if you have nicer properties then realtors, property managers, and other rent estimators will give better feedback because that's the way renters will find units. Basically I think it's area dependent. 

You could ask a property manager what they would rent it for if they had the listing. Plus you might ask them to come out and take a look at it to see if there were any improvements you could make to make it more attractive to potential renters.