Moving On And Renting Your Starter Home Out? Here's Four Things You Need To Do

If you're in the process of upgrading to a larger home, you may be considering holding onto your current home to use as a rental. Investment properties are usually excellent ways to build wealth, particularly if you qualified for premium financing when you first purchased the place. However, some fledgling landlords have discovered that there are certain pitfalls involved in owning rentals. Fortunately, you can head some of these problems off at the pass by making sure the house in question is shipshape before the new tenants come on board. Here's what you need to do:

Have Your Roof Inspected

One of the last things you want to deal with as a landlord is a leaky roof that's in need of repair. Unfortunately, tenants sometimes don't alert landlords to problems in a timely fashion -- and if the roof is leaking in an area of the home that receives little traffic, it can be easy to simply place a pan on the floor to collect the water and forget about it, especially if the area where it's located doesn't get much rainfall. The problem with leaks is that they never go away on their own, and a small leak will always turn into a big leak if it's left alone. Always remember that even the best tenants sometimes let things slide that a homeowner would never dream of putting off until a later date. 

You should also have your roof thoroughly cleaned before renting out your home to ensure that it's free of moss, lichen, algae, and assorted debris. Any loose shingles should be nailed down, and shingles that are damaged should be replaced. Your gutters and downspouts should also be inspected to make certain that they are in good working order. Any tree branches that are hanging over your roof should be trimmed back to minimize fire hazards and other potential safety issues. 

Contact companies like Palmer Roofing to have your roof inspected before tenants move in to make sure there are no looming issues.

Address Energy Loss Issues

It's in your best interests as a landlord to do what you can to keep utility costs reasonable in your rentals. Not only may quality tenants tire of skyrocketing utility bills but in some states, landlords may be held financially responsible for unpaid utility costs. Making sure that windows and doors are properly sealed helps prevent high heating and cooling bills. You can also use reflective material on roofs in parts of the country that experience significant summer heat in order to keep home interiors cooler in a natural way. If winter cold is more of a factor, dark roofs that absorb heat will help keep homes warmer. 

Give Your Yard a Mini-Makeover

Tenants often don't want to be bothered with time-consuming yard maintenance, and they really can't be blamed for not wanting to go to the trouble and expense of keeping up someone else's high maintenance yard. If you've got specimen plants that you place a high personal value on, consider moving them to your new property. Consult with a local landscaping expert about giving your yard a mini-makeover designed to keep upkeep to a minimum. It's also a good idea to have any potentially hazardous trees or shrubs removed before you rent the place out. 

Have Your Plumbing Inspected 

Like roofing issues, plumbing problems often go unreported by tenants. Small leaks behind washing machines and dishwashers, for instance, can result in serious damage to floors and walls before they're even noticed. Having your plumbing thoroughly checked before renting out your starter home can save you significant sums in repair bills down the line. If you live in an area that experiences subfreezing temperatures, you should have your pipes winterized to minimize the possibility of them freezing and breaking during cold snaps.