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You might live in a big house all by yourself or with your family. There is this one room allocated for guests, but they rarely visit in a span of years. You have spent considerable time cleaning and dusting it, the way you to the rest of the house. But a room that simply lies there, unused and unutilized, begs for a better strategy. Why not rent it out?

Renting out a room is not unheard of. In fact according to the 2012 United States census, some 22 million families in the country live in shared households. Aside from giving you an extra income, it also gives you one less space to clean on weekends. There are basic things to remember before putting your room up for lease.


Renovate the Room

A room for rent must at least be presentable. The value of the rent largely depends on this. You might need to repaint the walls, polish the floors, and retrofit eco-friendly fixtures like energy-saving light bulbs and appliances.

If you do not want to go through all the trouble of renovation, you can give your potential renter the freedom to decorate the room according to his or her own taste. That way, they will have control over their own space at their own expense.


Provide Necessary Amenities

Your renter will most probably spend a lot of time in this room. Providing the necessary amenities will ensure comfort. A bathroom is a priority. It is difficult to share your family’s bathroom with a stranger. This will guarantee both parties privacy. A room with its own bathroom can also mean a higher asking price.

You don’t really need to do a complete overhaul of the plumbing system. There are self-contained systems, like the SaniCompact toilet, that are easy to install. The toilet and the macerator pump are built into one compact unit, ideal if you have limited space. It can also help you save on monthly bills since the toilet requires minimal amount of water.


Ensure the Room’s Safety

Checking the room’s safety is a must. This includes inspecting electrical wirings and plumbing fixtures. Doors and windows should have locks. It is also ideal to guarantee a safe exit in case of emergencies.

While making sure that the room for rent is secure, be mindful of the rest of your own house as well. Secure your valuables and other belongings because times are unpredictable and putting your utmost trust to a stranger can jeopardize your own welfare.


Draw up a Contract

Once you have prepared the room you are renting out, it is time to draw up a contract. Although you have to talk to your potential renter in person, it is still best to put all your arrangements on paper. This is to ensure that in future disagreements, you have a solid proof of everything you have agreed upon after signing the contract.

Include the amount of the monthly rent, additional payment for other utilities, and the date they are due. You can also set agreements on common areas like the laundry, kitchen, and fridge.


Screen Potential Renters

Conduct personal interviews with your potential tenants. It is different when you can look them in the eyes when you talk about the arrangements. During this meeting, you can lay out your non-negotiables. You might have an aversion with party-goers or smokers. Or you might want someone who will stay longer than a month.

Do not be afraid to listen to your gut, but do not discriminate based on appearance and other prejudiced beliefs. Ask for proof to check if they are telling the truth. Make sure to call the previous landlords provided on their references.

Renting out an idle room in your house offers numerous advantages, but also ushers many responsibilities like maintenance, collecting the rent, and ensuring that the renter can be trusted with your property. That is why it is mandatory for you to be certain that you can handle the pros and cons entailed by being a landlord. 

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