Our long quest to sell our house is nearly at an end. We've reduced our price as low as we can go, and if we don't find a buyer soon, we are seriously considering renting out our house so we can get on with our lives. I just found biggerpockets and should probably get a "landlording for the ignoramus"-type book. But I do have a couple questions rattling around my brain that I'd like some input on.
The house is about 1400 sf, on 1/3 acre, is only 12 years and in almost-new condition.
I think we would probably go with a PM company, at least in the beginning. The one I am considering lets you customize your level of service to meet your needs. Since we will be out-of-town (30 miles away), and busy rehabbing our new house, I'm fine giving up some income for this. There are some things I would much rather do myself, like change the whole-house filter (kind of tricky, usually makes a big mess), prune the fruit trees and roses, weed the gardens, the easy stuff that I'm picky about. What I'm wondering about is what kinds of maintenance/upkeep should I expect from the tenant. Should they be expected to refill the softener tank, which needs to be done every month? Is it possible to negotiate who mows the lawn? (I don't mind doing that, but we don't have any way of transporting a lawn mower.)
The yard has two 4X12 foot raised garden beds, one with a big, unruly asparagus patch. We didn't build the things to be beautiful, and they're not. Would it be a good idea to tear them out, or leave them and hope a gardener comes along?
Regarding decorating: we have blinds on some windows, but only curtains on others. Every apartment I've ever lived in has just had basic blinds. Should we remove the curtains and just put blinds on all the windows? Similarly, we neutralized some of the paint in our effort to sell the house, but some rooms are still, well, colorful. I know a red kitchen/dining room is fashionable, but should we neutralize the paint prior to renting, regardless?
Like I said, I'm a total newbie. I've only rented cookie-cutter apartments in large complexes, so I don't know how renting out a house is the same or different. Any help, and book recommendations, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!