Why to rent out your room?
If you have ever thought of renting your room out but are not sure that it’s going to work for you, think again. Even if the room you presumably want to let is too small, or dark, or crampy you still have a good chance to significantly improve your financial situation by renting it out.
How to get the best price for it?
Do some research on how much, in average, a room sized like the one you have, in an area similar to yours, would rent for and then try adding value on top of this price by offering some extra perks. Maybe your room has a private bathroom, or an extra high ceiling, or a walking closet? No? Not a problem. Try to create price raisers yourself.
Putting some effort into trying to make it a little cosier will definitely pay back and you will be surprised to know how little it is going to cost you (apart from fixing real problems, like covering up leak spots or filling wide cracks in your hardwood floor). Sometimes all it takes to make your room beautiful is a new duvet cover and matching shams. Try not to go overboard with your makover though, because A) The more time and money you invest in it, the higher the price is going to be and the higher the price, the slimmer are the chances that you will rent your room fast there any time soon. And B) The more personality your room has the higher is the probability that potential renters won’t like it.
Basically, things to concentrate on should be:
-The closet space.
-The amount of natural light in the room
-The overall cleanliness of place
-Temperature controll (heater and A/C)
-The comfort of the bed (if you are renting out a furnished room).
These things play very important role in determining your room’s value. Once you are done figuring those out, you could throw a pretty rug on the floor hang some nice pictures or a mirror on the wall and be considered ready to go.
Searching for a roommate
When writing an ad, you want to emphasize the best things about your room, and diminish all “not-so-perfect” things, while still disclosing them. Why do you want to do it? Because that will spare you a sales pitch. If your prospective tenant is aware of the downsides, he/she will be able to think it over and will, most likely, make up his mind before seeing the room.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words and in our case the pictures can make or break your ad, so make sure they are clear, bright and pretty. Be as honest as you can about what you see your life with a roommate like. Make sure you put out some basic rules (like no smoking in the house, or no overnight guests), tell a little bit about yourself, just to give potential renter a better idea of the whole atmosphere in the apartment. Remember one golden rule of advertising: the right ad will bring in the right person. So concentrate on bringing the right person in to your apartment.
Intervieving a potential roommate
Once your ad is published and people start calling the time has come for you to prepair for the in-person interview. However pompous that might sound, interviewing people in person will help you a lot to chose the best roommate. When you talk to a person face to face you unconsciously register a lot of things that give you an idea of what his or her personality is like and you definitely want to know who you let inside your home.
Now, while you are probably not sure of what you want to ask, your landmarks in this case should be the following things: Is this person reliable? Will he or she be able to pay rent on time? The logical extension of this question is asking for documented proof of income. Even your interviewee is a part time bike messenger he should be able to get a letter from his employer stating that he does work at such company and makes such amount of money per month/week/day.
It also helps a lot asking for references and actually following up on them. Just to make sure that he or she hasn’t caused any serious trouble to the previous landlord (yes, from now on you can call yourself the landlord).
The next crucial thing is to make sure that your roommate-to-be has a lifestyle compatible with your own, so that there is no tension building up in the future.
Some people prefer to run a credit check on their prospective tenants and you might want to do it too… Just to be on the safe side.
If you received satisfactory response to all above things checked and are still feeling pretty positive about the person in front of you, the final step would be to have an honest talk about the house rules. It is important to lay those upfront, before you get yourself in any kind of commitment, because you are not only going to be receiveng payments from somebody at the beginning of each month, but also you will be living with this person, having to put up with his or her personality, life time habits etc. You want to make sure that doing it is not going to become your stressful second job.
One last thing
Even you are still being doubtful about renting out your room and letting a new person in your apartment and, well, in your life, just try to focus on the goals you are trying to achieve by doing it and what kind of (financial) relief it is going to be to only pay half, or maybe less then a half, of what you are usually paying for your apartment.