5 tips be­fore you rent out your home

The Capital - - SPORTS - By Ellen James Martin An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion

THE SUN­DAY CAP­I­TAL

A real es­tate agent cher­ishes the one-story ranch house she has owned and ba­bied for 14 years. To en­hance her place, she re­cently painted the en­tire in­te­rior. She also sanded and pol­ished her hard­wood floors and ex­panded the kitchen, mak­ing it light, bright and open to the din­ing area.

This agent can’t bear the thought of sell­ing her beloved sanc­tu­ary. But that sen­ti­ment is now com­pet­ing with her en­gage­ment to a man from an­other city where she plans to move, how­ever tem­po­rar­ily. So, to buy time be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion, she’s placed the prop­erty on the rental mar­ket.

“She’s hold­ing her breath that a rental will work out with­out any se­ri­ous prob­lems, and so am I,” says Eliz­a­beth Wein­traub, a col­league and friend of the prop­erty owner.

Wein­traub, a real es­tate bro­ker who has sold homes since 1979, says the odds are good her friend will do well as a land­lady be­cause of her back­ground in the hous­ing field. But she said many home­own­ers who con­vert a res­i­dence to a rental prop­erty are more naive about what that en­tails.

For in­stance, Wein­traub tells the true story of a cou­ple of clients who had a ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence rent­ing out their house to a pair of doc­tors. When it came time to sell the place, the doc­tors were so an­gry at be­ing up­rooted that they poured cas­tor oil all over the white wall-to-wall car­pet.

In re­cent years, many lo­cal gov­ern­ments have tight­ened reg­u­la­tions pro­tect­ing ten­ants. As Wein­traub says, long­time renters are typ­i­cally much more fa­mil­iar with these reg­u­la­tions than are first-time land­lords, which puts them at a dis­ad­van­tage if a dis­pute de­vel­ops.

Here are a few point­ers for home­own­ers con­sid­er­ing a tem­po­rary rental:

“Many peo­ple find it an­noy­ing to be a land­lord. It’s like be­ing a par­ent.”

JUSTIN SUL­LI­VAN/GETTY

Many home­own­ers who con­vert a res­i­dence to a rental prop­erty are naive about what rent­ing en­tails, says Eliz­a­beth Wein­traub, a real es­tate bro­ker.

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