Tips & Tricks

4 Essential Tips for Renting Out Your Spare Room

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Who couldn’t use a little extra income these days? One way to grab some extra cash: making use of extra space in your house.Maybe you have a spare room in your home and the additional payment could help you to whittle down your mortgage faster. Or perhaps you’re a single homeowner and a friend is looking for a place to live for a while. There are a variety of reasons why you may want to rent out a room in your house, but there are a few important things to consider first. Here’s how to rent out a room in your house while still protecting your assets and your sanity.

Get Your Spare Room Ready

One of the first steps towards renting a room in your home is to get that space ready by clearing out the closets, moving out the furniture (or give the bed and dresser a thorough cleaning if you’re advertising a “furnished room ”), and assessing anything that needs to be fixed or refreshed. Not only will this allow the new roommate to move their stuff in, but you may be able to charge more if your room looks fresh with a new coat of paint, updated bathroom, and stain-free carpet or floor. (Plus, you may want to consider adding locks to the doors if you don’t already have them. This will both protect your valuables and allow your tenant to feel that they have security and privacy.)

Moreover, check to see if there are any safety hazards that you may be legally liable for, and get them fixed. For example, you don’t want someone tripping over a buckle in the carpet and ending up with a broken ankle.

Understand the Law for Renting Out a Room

And speaking of protecting yourself legally, you should look into your city’s zoning laws and your state’s landlord-tenant laws. For instance, California landlords must meet the requirements that meet the “standards of habitability” such as having electrical wires, gas lines and plumbing in good working order. Call your city hall for local laws and check out your secretary of state’s website for state laws.  

Additionally, take the time to write up a lease agreement that outlines how much the rent is and when it’s due, what additional costs will be added (such as utilities), if you require a security deposit, and any other details that you have concerns about. HandyPDF has a great template to get you started, or you may want to check out Legaltemplates. Be sure to have legal council review it first, though. Even if you’re renting out a room in your house to a friend, a little bit of time and a small fee can save you from immeasurable grief down the road.

Advertise Your Room for Rent

Source: Canva

Maybe you don’t have a friend or acquaintance looking for a room and you need to advertise that you’re renting out a room. Here are some tips for attracting potential renters:

  • Check out Craigslist, or EasyRoommate for examples and to see what similar rentals are going for in your area. This will give you a ballpark figure on what you should be charging.
  • Take pictures of the room, bathroom, common spaces and any additional selling points (like if you have a pool or beautiful view).
  • Be specific in your ad. If you’re a male and want a male housemate, share that upfront. If you want a non-smoker housemate and you accept medium sized or smaller dogs or cats, state that. This will not only weed out those applicants who don’t fit your standards, but will help you to think about what you’re willing to accept.
  • Once you know what you’ll include in your listing, you can post your ad on the above websites, but also look into Spareroom or Roomster.

Master Your Roommate Questionnaire

Source: Wisebread

Your home is your oasis, your castle, your quiet in the storm. After a hard day at work or a long drive during rush hour, few things feel as good as putting on a pair of sweats, plopping on the couch and clicking on some mindless television. However, the wrong roommate can shatter this respite if they always has friends over who are loud, messy and have invaded your pantry like a swarm of locusts. This is why it’s critical to create a detailed roommate questionnaire when you’re renting a room in your house. You need to find someone compatible to live with and here are some valuable qualities to consider:

  1. How often will they have guests over?
  2. Do they tend to be a clean freak or do they belong on an episode of Hoarders?
  3. Is it okay for your potential roommate to bring a pet? What kind? (A fish is a lot different than a cat and a small chihuahua’s mess varies greatly from what an Alaskan husky leaves behind).
  4. What does your possible roomie like to do for fun? How will their hobbies affect your common living spaces? (Will there be bike gear parked constantly on your front porch or will their love for gardening benefit your backyard?)
  5. Are you a night owl? You may not want a loud early bird if you’re a light sleeper.
  6. Do they have a steady job? Run a credit check to be sure that they’re able to pay the monthly rent. Companies like Cozy can check the credit of your potential applicant and will share information like their credit score, payment history, and debt overview for around $25.
  7. Do you have a list of house rules that you want your tenant to follow? For example, dirty dishes can’t be left in the sink overnight, tenant guests must leave the property by midnight, or smoking, vaping or illegal drugs are not allowed on the premises.

Are you ready to rent out that room? Dolly can help you to remove old furniture and the other items that are cluttering up your potential rental space. Did you find a roommate? Dolly can help them to move their bed, furniture and other items to quickly make your empty room into their brand new home. The sooner you get your space ready, the sooner you can start bringing in that extra income.

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