Author Topic: Total Newbie Questions  (Read 1424 times)

MusicMom

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Total Newbie Questions
« on: November 25, 2012, 08:44:50 AM »
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!

matt_g

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2012, 09:19:56 AM »
I'd make the house as low maintenance as possible.  Regarding lawn mowing, it's perfectly reasonable to ask the tenant to mow the lawn.  I'd just prepare yourself for a tenant that doesn't do it as often as you'd like.  Same with the softener tank, what happens if it doesn't get done in a timely manor?  I'd just rip out the asparagus patch if it was mine, one less thing to maintain.

MusicMom

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 10:59:23 AM »
Same with the softener tank, what happens if it doesn't get done in a timely manor?

What happens is the water goes to shit and leaves rust stains on the fixtures and ruins clothing.  It would be a problem the tenants and I share.  It costs probably $15/month to keep it full, it's just the problem of getting on the premises to do it that I'm not sure about.  I don't want to be disturbing the tenants that frequently.

I suppose I should just be upfront about the water situation and make sure they know what will happen if they don't fill the tank.  Right?

One other question I thought of: we would be replacing the bedroom carpeting prior to renting (if we go through with this).  What should we consider when choosing carpet?  Should we spring for stain-resistant options or premium padding?  The way I see it, the carpet is likely to be trashed after a few years in any case, so why spend extra?  (But maybe this is my experience in college apartments talking.)  Thoughts?

matt_g

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 03:59:20 PM »
I recently carpeted my rental.  I put down something that was cheap.  I'd rather put down cheap and replace.  If I thought the more expensive carpet would last longer, I'd put that down. 

salmp01

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 08:59:04 AM »
Everything you expect from the tenant should be documented on your lease.  Is your bedroom carpet really bad?  If you can get away with not putting new carpet down that would be best.   If you do need new carpet why would you need a pad?  I typically go to menards (or other big home improvement store)  when buying carpet and will usually pay around $1/square foot which is usually a step up from the cheapest.  Do not put in really expensive carpet/pad. 

MusicMom

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 02:27:27 PM »
Thanks for the input - we'll probably go the cheap route with carpet.  Yeah - it's nasty.  It was stained when we moved in and our cats have since torn it to shreds. 

Any thoughts on the decorating questions?  Paint color?  Window treatments?  Do we go totally neutral even though this is a house, not an apartment?

Another Reader

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 04:18:32 PM »
Tenants generally have the same tastes as buyers, and neutral and modern work best.  Paint is cheap, if you do it yourself.  Don't do it yourself if you can't do a good job.   Get an inexpensive neutral carpet and paint the rooms that are not neutral.

salmp01

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Re: Total Newbie Questions
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 05:38:02 PM »
Quote
Any thoughts on the decorating questions?  Paint color?  Window treatments?  Do we go totally neutral even though this is a house, not an apartment?

Keep the paint as is (if it's in good shape) while you're showing to prospective tenants as they may like it. It's okay to use a neutral color in the entire house.   It's also okay to have blinds and curtains and it's even okay if you just install a curtain rod in a few places and have the tenants purchase their own drapes.