February 11, 2014 – Working for certain government sectors, such as the Secret Service, the military or the State Department has its perks, but it also can have a few drawbacks, including frequent moves for certain employees. If you are someone who has made the noble decision to work in the service of the United States, you have probably taken most of the required moves in stride. But then comes that unexpected one. Maybe you’ve purchased a home in expectation of finally staying put, only to learn of a promotion in another part of the country that could really advance your career.
To make the move, you must now decide between selling or renting out your home. If the move is one that you see as only being temporary or if your home is so underwater that you would lose too much money to sell it, then renting it could be your best option. Becoming a landlord does, however, require that you take a few steps beyond just slapping a “For Rent” sign on your front lawn.
Inform Your Insurance Company
According to United Services Automobile Association, approximately one of every four of its members moves each year. Like you, some of these homeowners will choose to rent their properties. If so, you will need to inform your insurance company that you will no longer be living in your home and are planning to rent it out so that it can change your coverage from a homeowner’s policy to rental property insurance. If you fail to do so and your home is somehow damaged by your tenants, your insurance company will probably refuse to pay on your claim. It also is important that you advise your tenants to obtain renter’s insurance, which, according to MSN Money, is something they should not do without.
Do Background Checks
Getting stuck with a bad tenant can become a long, drawn-out legal mess. According to MSN Real Estate, your best defense against future problems is to choose your renter with care. Do your due diligence, including background checks on prospective tenants and don’t fall for anyone who tries to talk you into letting them rent your place before you can properly screen them. And always check your tenant’s references, especially past landlords, before renting your home.
While you can attempt to do background and credit checks on prospective renters on your own, you will probably be stressed out about the move, packing and finding another place. Often, it makes more sense for you to join an apartment association, which offers services such as tenant screening reports so you don’t have to deal with this.
Get Everything in Writing
Your home is very valuable to you so don’t leave its well-being to chance. To protect your home and your investment, Nolo recommends you put all of your expectations in a lease or rental agreement. For example, if you don’t want pets in your home, be sure to specify that. You also should be very specific about how many people can live in your home. If you don’t list these types of things in a rental agreement, you could discover on your return that multiple families have suddenly taken up residence in your house or the carpeting has been ruined by dogs.