The summer is barely half over yet so there’s still time to rent your house. But, before you announce to the world of people who haven’t planned their vacations a year in advance that your house is available, get all your ducks in a row with this to-do list from MSN.

  1. Check out ALL of the local and state regulations concerning short-term leasing that may apply to you. For example, in Los Angeles, short-term rentals can be leased for a maximum of 120 days for a fee of $89.
  2. You may have to pay more taxes despite vacation rentals not being zoned as commercial properties. When you rent for more than 14 days, the IRS says that you are legally considered to be a landlord and must report the income from your rental.
  3. If the house you’re renting is in a hot location, you’ll likely rent it by simply posting it on Craigslist for free. However, if you choose to post your rental on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway or any other rental marketplace site, make sure to compare their variable service fees prior to listing with any of them. Also, check out Airbnb’s checklist for host needs and remember to have a welcome basket for your guests. Put a list of home rules for renters in that welcome basket…this will save you time and, perhaps, money.
  4. Update your home insurance policy to cover renters.
  5. Do some market research to determine what comparative listings are charging for rent. Otherwise, you’re just guessing.
  6. Learn as much as you can about your prospective tenants before they become your tenants. Talk with them on the phone…texting is not enough. By the way, VRBO prohibits your talking with tenants until after an agreement is signed. Some who rent out their houses choose to use a different marketplace site due to that prohibition.
  7. Make sure you have clear cancellation and security deposit policies whether or not you are renting via an online rental marketplace or on your own.
  8. Declutter, repair and clean your house and then do it all again. Make sure you secure your important records, mail, monetary information and all your sentimental valuables. Empty your closets and vacuum their insides. Eliminate all mold. Seal any gaps in your bathtub. Your renters want and expect anything in your rental property to be in good, working condition and to be immaculate.
  9. List any demands you may have of your renters to be written into the contract. Miscommunication/lack of communication can cause friction, confrontations, bad reviews and even law suits.

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