I think I’ve mentioned this in the past, but every year we rent out our home during the week of the Coeur d’Alene Ironman to earn some extra cash for home projects. Last year we built a pergola, did a raised garden bed and repainted the living room. This year we plan on painting the outside of our house and garage (eek! That’s going to be a ton of work) and looking into replacing a window in our bathroom.
It’s amazing how much we benefit from doing this each year. Great for young couples, new home owners or families that want to get out of town but may not be able to afford it otherwise. Ironman is a great thing for our community.
On that note, here are a few things I’ve learned over the past three years of renting:
- Do some word-smithing: If you look on craigslist everyone is saying the same thing, “Downtown home close to race,” “Great renal opportunity!” Make your post stand out. We have a small home within a half-mile of the finish line so we say, “Cozy 2-bedroom bungalow in the heart of Cd’A” and “within walking distance” because that’s what people are looking for. They want a home away from home and they don’t want to worry about how they’ll get around on race day. Also include written references from other renters when possible. That’s something we still need to do.
- Include great photos: People want to see what they’re getting into. It’s important to showcase your home’s best assets to get renters excited about staying there. This year I’m not including photos of outside because A) I don’t have any current ones, and B) It’s not pretty enough outside in March to take any. Our yard looks vastly different from March to June. As long as Juneau doesn’t dig anything up…
- Play host: You may not be staying with these people, but you are their local expert. I always leave a map of our favorite places around town, do a special blog post (like this one from last year) and leave them some special treats and business cards from Terra and Fleet Feet. Make them feel special and glad they chose you. They are most likely new to town and looking for things to do and resources; plus they’re paying you a bunch of money to crash at your place. Help them out a bit.
- Stash your stuff: If there’s something you don’t want them to see/use then store it somewhere. Also, be sure to leave room in your cabinets and fridge and clear out your closets/dressers. Allow them to move in. Anything in your house is fair game, so if you don’t want them to eat your food, drink your alcohol or use your computer – then move it. We use this as a good excuse to do some major spring cleaning. Also include a rental agreement – that way they are liable for any damage or lost/stolen goods. If they agree to it and sign it, you’re protected that much more.
- Trust them: Yes, I just told you to clear out your house, but you also have a lot of time to build report with these people. So far (knock on wood) we’ve had no problem allowing people to use our computer, Wii and they actually do us a favor by eating any food we leave behind. Build a relationship with your renters and gauge how much you trust them. They have to pay a ton of money to compete in these races – I highly doubt they’re going to start a career in petty theft. Just in case – make sure you have all valuables that you leave behind documented and all computer files backed up somewhere. Just because it’s not likely, doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.
So how many of you are planning to rent your house out? You can check out our rental ad on IronmanCDARentals.com for an example.