First time renting out my home in Northern VA. What to expect

9 Replies

Good afternoon BP! This is my first time I will be renting out my home. My property is in Northern VA and i would like to ask the community what I should expect. I know i know i need to search more on the forums to get more info. Its been crazy with working 80-90hr work weeks. No excuses... but there has been alot going on. I wanted to see if there are specific things i should be looking out for or a list of what i should do. Basically the do's and dont's. Should i do property management, real estate agent (Don't want to really do this option), post myself, rent to military, etc) I appreciate all the positive feedback.

Best Regards,

Lou

@Luis Reyes

A lot of your questions depends on how much time and resources you want to commit to. e.g. if you plan to self-manage, how far do you live? can you show the houses? how handy are you? etc. Even if you find a PM company, you still need to manage your PM company. NEVER assume everything is ok.

Here're a few blogs that can point you in the right direction. Biggest thing is to screen for tenants

Tenant Screening: The Ultimate Guide

Make your house "tenant proof"

The New Landlord Checklist

Read and learn from other landlord mistakes

The Top 5 Landlord Mistakes

Tenant Applicants say the dumbest things

good luck! you can find a ton of resources here. 

I found at this time of year renting out room by room has been much easier than trying to rent a 2 bedroom unit to a couple or 2 friends.  People just seem to be looking for individual accommodations for themselves in November and December.

I have heard some pros and cons about renting to military which you will obviously have in Woodbridge. The pro is that if they don't pay their rent, from my understanding, you can talk to their superior officer and then their officer will yell at them and they will likely pay up since they are getting in trouble at work.  The con is that military personnel can break their lease early if they get orders to move elsewhere. If you are renting room by room this becomes less of an issue because you just replace the tenant in that room which from my experience is pretty easy in the DC Metro area.

Good luck! 

Ron, the best word of advice I was ever given was to ignore negative and discouraging comments from people who don't have experience in investing. Everyone and their brother wants to tell you it's a horrible idea and it's too risky. You already seem like you have the sense to make things happen so just keep hustling. 

First you should consider there to be considerable ware a tear on the property with tenants. You must give up any personal attachment you may have for the property. Few tenants have respect for a property they do not own.

Second you need to determine if you are gong to need to put cash out of pocket to maintain the property. Is it negative cash flow. To determine this you consider if the monthly rent is above or below 1% of the value of the property. If below you will likely be negative cash flow.

Learn how to screen properly. This is not simple and requires not only collection of facts to determine if they meet your predetermined standards but also a ability to "read" people. Every applicant will lie, you need to ferret out the lies.

@Chris T. Thank so much for all the great info. I have looked over all the links you sent. I have been interested in looking into a Property Management company as I am swamped with work. I'm leaning this route until i can free up some time in the future. Thoughts on PM? Kills me too since my property is so close to home.


Originally posted by @Chris T.:

@Luis Reyes

A lot of your questions depends on how much time and resources you want to commit to. e.g. if you plan to self-manage, how far do you live? can you show the houses? how handy are you? etc. Even if you find a PM company, you still need to manage your PM company. NEVER assume everything is ok.

Here're a few blogs that can point you in the right direction. Biggest thing is to screen for tenants

Tenant Screening: The Ultimate Guide

Make your house "tenant proof"

The New Landlord Checklist

Read and learn from other landlord mistakes

The Top 5 Landlord Mistakes

Tenant Applicants say the dumbest things

good luck! you can find a ton of resources here. 

@Thomas S. Yes i will need to adjust to this. It is not "Home" anymore. Its for cash flow. This is why i need to look more into keeping it under my name or moving it under some other business name. Thoughts on this?

@Luis Reyes ,

As far as a PM or not, you need to ask yourself-- do you want to be involved, or just get a check?  Either are fine, but just be honest with yourself about time commitment, emails and cost.    I suggest you renting to the most qualified tenant, whether they work in them military or not, I mean you can try and focus on it, but if no military apply-- then what?  Go for the highest qualified tenant. 

@Ron Gallagher @Robert Burciul Thanks for your responses. I really don't want my property to be chopped up into rooms as this is a nice house that would accommodate a family nicely.

@Linda D. I would love to not have the cost involved but i truly do not have the time to manage the property as of right now. So going PM may just help and keep stress down with managing. As for the tenant, i agree with placing the most qualified, the thought of Military was because of the guaranteed pay with a qualified tenant would be a bit easier since there really isn't the risk of god forbid job loss or other reasons to not pay.

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