Posted about 7 years ago

5 steps to rent out your house.

Normal 1433961366 For Rent Sign


Here are the 5 steps to renting out your house.

1. Figure out how much your house should rent for.

You have decided that you want to rent out your house to tenants. That is great, but how do you figure out how much you should charge? You will need to find out what your competition is charging for similar properties. You can find out what the competition is doing by searching the web for sites like Craigslist and Zillow. You can also see what other landlords are charging by calling all the FOR RENT signs in your neighborhood.

2. Take photos.

Take several photos of the property. The more the merrier. There is no need to hire a professional photographer, the camera on your smart phone will suffice. Make sure you get a photo of the Front of the house, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms, the living room, the dining room and anything else you feel is important.

Take wide shots were you get the entire room in the shot. A close-up of an electrical outlet or the floor simply will not do.

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3. Advertise the property.

Now that you have all these great photos put them on the web. Here are my favorite sites to advertise properties FOR RENT. The best thing about these sites...THEY ARE FREE.

  • Postlets- This site is great. It will send your ad to multiple site such as Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads.
  • Craigslist
  • Facebook

Don't forget to place a FOR RENT sign in the front yard. Old fashioned, but effective.

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4. Hold an open house.

You want to be available for as many tenants as possible to come see your house. However, you will quickly find that many tenants simply do not show up to the showing appointment. Schedule a couple open houses for the week and have everyone who calls you come to one of those showings. You will save yourself many hours of wasted time.

5. Screen the tenants and sign the lease.

Now that you have found a set of tenants who want to call your house home make sure they really are qualified to live in your house. One important thing you will learn about this business is that PEOPLE WILL LIE TO YOU. A credit and criminal check is an absolute must. No exceptions.

There are several websites that you can go to have the tenant screening performed. The cost for screening is going to be around $20-$40 depending on how thorough of a search you want performed.

Here are some sites to try.


After they have passed your screening have them sign the lease and move in. You never want to use a verbal lease agreement. Always get this in writing. It is your protection in the event things go south and you wind up in court. There are several websites that will have general lease agreements for you to download. 

Here are a few, 


I personally recommend having an attorney draw one up for you that is specific to the area you are renting your home in. At the very least use a general template then have your attorney review and make applicable changes. It is great to do things yourself to save money, however this is not the part of your business you want to try to cut corners on.

RELATED: 5 ways to find real estate deals

About the author:

James Wise is the Broker and Owner of The Holton Wise Property Group, a real estate brokerage and property management company operating one of the largest scattered site rental property portfolios in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area. He has been a guest speaker on several real estate internet radio shows and podcasts. He regularly writes blogs and articles for multiple real estate related websites. He is an active member of the National Association of Realtors® and the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors®.

Comments (10)

  1. If in doubt, contact a trusted realtor to help you sell or rent our your home. I know that there are conglomerates for property managers these days and finding an accredited one might help to increase the frequency and duration of your tenants! Of course you're going to have to work in the commissions that you have to pay these guys for doing all the legwork, but considering how little you'll have to be involved in the hassle of searching for replacements and the paperwork, it may be a trade-off that's worth exploring...

  2. This is good stuff. My question is..what can be done if the property was bought high. Also the surrounding rental properties are renting for much less than the amount this property should rent for. If the 1% rule is applied this property would need to go for 1400/month while the over properties go for 950 to 1025/month?

    1. Very important to remember that what the other properties rent for is what determines what yours should rent for. The 1% rule or anything along those lines does not determine market rents. The market demand sets the rental rate. Improving your property could increase the rent but if you bought wrong it may be a bad idea to sink more money into the property.

  3. great article. thank you.

  4. Good suggestion about holding the open house to avoid wasting time!  Many people do not even call back after telling me they want to view the house and what time they will be there.  Quite frustrating!!

    1. Thanks for the feedback Laila. Hope the article was helpful to you.

  5. I love the article.

    1. Thanks Ricardo Charles. Appreciate the positive feedback.

  6. Nathan,

    Thank you for reading my blog. I have added some more information about the tenant screening process that should answer your screening questions.

  7. Hello James, thank you for the article and advice on how to rent out your home. The first step is to find market rent and you say how to do that utilizing various websites. Steps two through for also list websites and I feel like I can confidently do those things. Number five on the list says to do a background and credit check but you never list or recommend a website or other resource to do so. Also all the steps one through four are free and you do not list an average price to do a credit and background check.