Karen Adelson - Barrett Sotheby's International Realty


Many property owners at some point consider renting out their house. Whether it’s a property they inherited, a summer home they rarely use, or they're just trying their hand at property management.

 It's a common misconception that renting out a house is passive income. You'll have to do a lot of work if you plan on keeping your tenants around and paying their rent.

 In this article, we’ll discuss some of the things you should consider if you're planning on renting out a house or property you own.

The rental process

Some landlords take shortcuts during the rental process to save time or money. However, doing so could cost you big time in the long run. If you don't utilize a real estate agent, draw up the proper contracts and agreements, or fail to do due diligence with walkthroughs, you could easily end up losing money on your investment.

The safest approach to finding reliable tenants and renting your property securely is to use a property manager who knows the practical and legal aspects of renting so you don't have to worry about making any beginner mistakes.

DIY property management

If you decide you want to save money and manage the property yourself, there are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for tenants.

First, use background checks and credit checks to ensure your future tenants are in good financial standing.

Next, ask for references on your application, preferably from former landlords. Most landlords will happily let you know if their tenants were good about making on-time payments or were difficult in other ways.

When it comes to your lease, don't try to write it from scratch. There are several templates available online. Try to find one that covers most applicable laws in your area, then hire a lawyer to read over your lease and make any pertinent changes. 

Finally, be sure to collect a security deposit or first and last month’s rent. This will give you some protection if your tenant stops paying or causes costly damages in the building.  

Know your legal limits

If you've ever rented before, odds are there were a few things you wish your landlord did differently. Before beginning this endeavor of becoming a landlord, make sure you're doing it by the book.

Find the laws for your state and city regarding landlord/tenant requirements. Know when you can enter the apartment and how long of an advanced notice is required to do any work in the apartment.

Before sending any complaints or notices to your tenant, make sure you are in the right, legally speaking and can back up your claims with evidence. To do so, you'll need to practice rigorous bookkeeping. Document and keep copies of each payment you receive and all of the money you spend on repairs and maintenance. These records can help you should you ever need to prove yourself in a court of law.

Finally, be respectful and courteous with your tenants. Going out of your way to be helpful will often save you headaches in the long run. However, know when your leniency is being taken advantage of by tenants who are avoiding paying rent or abusing your property.


Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the latest technology hitting shelves and being brought into homes. We now not only have the ability to control various devices in our home from an app on our phone but we can also create reports to gain insight into how we use them. Data enthusiasts unite!

The Nest learning thermostat is every Dad’s best friend. You now have the hard data to back up why everyone needs to keep the house temperature exactly where you set it. And if anyone does turn it up you can turn it back down right from your phone.

Nest can also go into away mode when it detects that no one is home. Think of it like sleep mode for your laptop… but for the whole house. This thermostat wants to help you be more efficient with heat, and your hard earned dollars, by alerting you when it makes sense to lower temps.

If you are a data enthusiast you can use reports to see how much energy you’ve used throughout the week and/or month. Let’s be honest that’s enough to make us all data enthusiast converts.

Nest Cam IQ allows you to keep watch over your domain. It has face recognition capabilities and high-quality footage to recognize family members, frequent visitors, and intruders. When you add the Nest Aware feature you can even get updates right on your phone of the comings and goings of your home.

With microphone capability, you’re able to speak to those in the room, even if your two towns over. Keep your home safe, dogs off of the couch and teens from breaking house rules. And night mode utilized LED lights to get clear pictures for 24/7 film coverage.

Nest Protect is the smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm you wish you always had. It recognizes the difference between smoke and steam which means no more obnoxious false alarms when cooking. You can use your towels solely for drying your hands again.

If that alarm happens to go off when you aren’t home it alerts your phone so you’re in the know at all times. It even warns you when the alarm is about to go off so it does scare the bejeezus out of you. As in it actually says “Heads up. There’s smoke in the kitchen” (or whichever room it’s installed in).

Nest Protect even has a motion detector and nightlight. So it knows to give you a little light as you walk by at night. You don’t have to choose between stumbling in the dark or fighting bleary-eyed through the brightness of normal lighting.

One last thing: if you upgrade to a Rheem water heater you can sync it up to your Nest Protect. Why would you want to do that? If one of your alarms does go off you can set up a trigger reaction where your water heater will shut off. It can also sync up to your Nest thermostat and turn the heat off as well.


After you accept a homebuyer's offer on your residence, he or she likely will complete a home inspection. Then, the homebuyer may choose to move forward with the home purchase, rescind or modify his or her offer or ask the home seller to complete home improvements.

Ultimately, a home seller is likely to have many questions following a home inspection, including:

1. What did the homebuyer discover during the home inspection?

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to enhance your residence before you add it to the real estate market. By doing so, you can boost your chances of generating substantial interest in your house. Plus, when a homebuyer performs a home inspection, he or she is unlikely to find any problems that may slow down the home selling process.

An informed home seller may conduct a home appraisal prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This appraisal enables a home seller to identify potential trouble areas within a residence and explore ways to address such problems.

If you failed to perform a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. For home sellers, it is important to see a home inspection as a learning opportunity. And if a homebuyer identifies problems with your residence during a home inspection, you should try to work with him or her to resolve these issues.

2. Should I stand my ground after a home inspection?

Be realistic after a home inspection, and you'll be able to make the best decision about how to proceed.

For example, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty may address major home problems prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This home seller will dedicate the necessary time and resources to correct home problems and ensure a homebuyer is able to purchase a top-notch residence.

But what happens if a homebuyer identifies problems during a home inspection, despite the fact that a home seller already tried to correct various home issues?

A home seller should consider the homebuyer's inspection report findings closely. If minor home repairs are needed, he or she may be able to fix these problems to move forward with a home sale. Or, if a homebuyer is making exorbitant demands, a home seller may feel comfortable allowing the homebuyer to walk away from a home sale.

3. How should I proceed after a home inspection?

A home inspection can be stressful for both a home seller and a homebuyer. After the home inspection is completed, both parties will be better equipped than ever before to make informed decisions.

If a homebuyer encounters many problems with a residence, he or she will let the home seller know about these issues. Then, a home seller can complete assorted home repairs, offer a discounted price on a home or refuse to perform the requested home maintenance.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal for a home seller, particularly when it comes to home inspections. A real estate agent will negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf and ensure you streamline the home selling process.


In many ways, the quality of your life is determined by the condition of your home. If it feels like your home is in disrepair, messy, or cluttered, you're not going to feel comfortable or satisfied with your living situation. While perfection is an unattainable standard, there are a lot of simple things you can do to keep your home in good condition and prevent problems.

Train Your dog. Although many people own dogs and consider them to be a cherished part of the family, not everyone takes the time to properly housebreak, exercise, and train their pets. Dogs are very eager to please, but they need clear guidelines to understand what you expect of them. Some dogs also tend to express frustration or restlessness in destructive ways if they're not given enough attention, exercise, or toys/treats to chew on. It's not uncommon for dogs to chew on furniture, shoes, or other valued possessions if their needs are not met. Ideally, people should research dog breeds before actually purchasing a household pet. That way you can know more about temperament, exercise requirements, and training potential before you bring a puppy into the family. In addition to helpful online videos on raising obedient dogs, pet supply stores periodically offer low-cost training classes for dogs and their owners. Effectively housebreaking your pet in the first few days and weeks of adopting them is a key aspect of a harmonious pet/owner relationship. Otherwise, your furniture, hardwood floors, and carpeting could be subject to irreparable damage!

Use Furniture Sliders: Hardwood floors can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, they're a high-quality, nice-looking material that enhances the look and feel of your home. On the other hand, it can be difficult to prevent scratching, scuffing, and even gouging of those beautiful surfaces. One solution, which is easy on both your floors and your pocketbook, is to put felt or plastic furniture sliders under the legs of your tables, chairs, and ottomans. Not only can you prevent or reduce hardwood floor scratching that inevitably happens when furniture is dragged across a floor, but it also makes it easier to rearrange furniture.

Maintain Your Rain Gutters: Properly working rain gutters serve the useful purpose of channeling water away from your roof, eaves, and foundation. By making sure your gutters are not clogged up with leaves, branches, and other debris, you can help protect your home from water damage. If the downspout of your rain gutter empties water too close to your house, you can often correct that by purchasing and attaching an inexpensive extension. Routing water away from your foundation can help prevent basement leaks, cracking, and crumbling. It can also be part of a multi-faceted approach to preventing basement mold.

Control Clutter: Household clutter not only degrades the appearance of your home (for both you and your guests), but it's a known source of psychological stress. Taking the first step to reduce clutter is usually the most difficult part of the process, but once it's a habit, maintaining a clutter-free home becomes infinitely easier!


How a home seller approaches the real estate market may dictate his or her success. For example, if a seller allocates time and resources to learn about the property selling journey, he or she may be able to plan ahead and sell a house in a single day. On the other hand, a seller who fails to showcase his or her residence to the right groups of potential buyers may struggle to achieve the optimal results.

As a home seller, it is essential to do whatever it takes to streamline the property selling journey. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you speed up the home selling journey so you can accomplish your desired property selling goals faster than ever before.

1. Improve Your House's Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is a key tenet of the home selling journey. If your home has amazing curb appeal, it likely will generate lots of interest from prospective buyers. As a result, your house may stand out from similar properties in your city or town, and you could accelerate the property selling journey.

To enhance your home's curb appeal, you should repair any damaged siding, mow the lawn and conduct assorted home exterior upgrades. If you need help with home exterior improvements, you can always hire professional contractors as well.

2. Eliminate Clutter

Let's face it – clutter is a problem that can be tough for home sellers to eliminate. Yet a seller who spends time removing antiques, paintings and other clutter can make it easy for buyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase a residence. As such, sellers should devote time to eliminate clutter so they can show off the true size and beauty of their houses.

Sometimes, it helps to rent a storage unit prior to listing a residence. A storage unit allows a home seller to safely store various personal belongings until his or her house sells. Then, this individual can move his or her personal belongings from a storage unit to a new residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is willing to do whatever it takes to help you seamlessly navigate the house selling journey. He or she will promote your residence to prospective buyers, offer tips and guidance during the home selling journey and much more. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you get the best-possible results during the home selling journey.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides as you determine whether to accept or reject an offer to purchase your home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will provide an honest, unbiased recommendation about how to proceed with a homebuying proposal. He or she also is happy to negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf to help you maximize the value of your home sale.

Want to streamline the home selling process? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.