With the new school year just a couple of months away, a fresh round of college students will soon be looking for housingin the greater Chattanooga area. If you want to earn a bit of extra money and don’t mind sharing your personal space, renting out a room in your home can be a great way to supplement your income.
As with any moneymaking venture, there are pros and cons to leasing a space. Since some rental policies and laws are specific to cities, states and regions, the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors (GCAR) is a key resource for local homeowners looking to rent. With this in mind, GCAR has compiled the following tips to help prospective landlords effectively navigate the renting landscape.
Make Small, But Smart Changes: Rather than shelling out money on high-end renovations and modern appliances, focus on clearing out the clutter of the room you plan to rent and give the space a fresh coat of paint. Typically these minor upkeeps suit the needs and expectations of student renters who are often simply looking for a safe, comfortable and clean living space.
Consider Your Clientele: Setting boundaries up front can mean the difference between a welcome houseguest and a rowdy roommate. Create a rental agreement that outlines details of your living arrangement. Besides mentioning monthly utility fees and early termination costs, lay down rules detailing other issues such as whether the walls can be painted or decorated and how many visitors are allowed in the home at one time.
Remember Uncle Sam: The rent you receive is taxable income which must be reported to the IRS, but this income can usually be entirely offset by tax deductions in the form of home repairs, trash removal costs, association fees or homeowner’s insurance, just to name a few. Keep track of what qualifies for tax deductions so you can pocket the most money possible during tax season.
Trust Your Instincts: Meeting potential housemates in person will help you gauge whether they would be a good fit for you and your home. Credit and background checks are also encouraged as another means to ensure the safety of both yourself and your family.
Know Where To List: A good space will never get filled if it isn’t seen! Be strategic and smart about where you list your rental. Craigslist is a solid option if you are able to dedicate time to refreshing the listing every day. Sites like Airbnb.com and iStopOver.com bring the renters to you,help you vet them and provide free insurance. Otherwise, flyers on bulletin boards at colleges and coffee shops will do the trick.
Renting to college students can be financially rewarding, and following these recommendations will help protect both you and your property in the process. Whether you are a new landlord with high hopes or an experienced landlord who has been burned in the past, the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is a great resource for ensuring successful landlord-tenant relationships.