Are you thinking of renting out your home in Doylestown? 

If you’re planning to relocate, you can consider converting your residential property into a rental unit for added income. Selling off your property when the house prices are low can be an opportunity loss. 

If your Doylestown rental home is near tourist landmarks, you can design it for short-term renters. There are many reasons to consider owning a rental home in Doylestown. Before opening your property to renters, it’s best to review the following:

Understand Your Duties as a Landlord

Check if you’re ready to take on the responsibilities of a landlord. In Pennsylvania, landlords are expected to provide habitable housing. This means ensuring your place is livable. Provide ample water supply, ensure that appliances are functional and that the plumbing and electrical system are in great working order.

If property damage is not addressed, tenants are allowed to withhold the rent or “repair and deduct.”

In other states, essential amenities are specifically stated as under the property owner’s responsibility, but considering that you’re encouraging renters to stay longer, it’s best to provide the most well-maintained Doylestown rental unit you can. Safety is also paramount under Pennsylvania law, make sure that your stairs and railings are secure.

Preparing Your Unit for Renters

When the economy is performing poorly, a lot of services and features are offered due to an increase in competition. Renters can afford to be selective, knowing that a lot of occupants are looking for the best deals that offer the best value for their rent money. 

two people looking at a rental unit

During property showings, make sure to display a pristine space with appliances and home systems that are functional. If only a portion of your Doylestown unit is open to the renters, then it’s best to keep it separate from the other parts of the house. 

Marketing Your Home

After making your Doylestown home rent-ready, it’s time to take stock of its outstanding features. Mention the amenities in your ads, such as having a parking space, in-house washer, and dryer, dishwasher, or outdoor space. These are high on the list of renters’ wish lists of amenities. 

Create a great property listing that attracts a lot of prospective renters through engaging copy and professionally taken photos. Post them on popular listing sites and platforms to gain more interest in your vacant unit. However, marketing shouldn’t be limited online. 

You can still submit to newspapers, especially if your target market is older people who prefer to look for property ads in newspapers

A sound strategy is to hire the services of professional property managers with long-term experience, a solid network, and depth of resources. It’s far easier for a property manager to market your Doylestown rental home, conduct tenant screening and property showings, and craft property ads. 

man sitting reading the newspaper

Most fees stand between 8% to 10% of the rental income per month, although additional charges can still apply. You can consider the management fee as an investment in exchange for top-notch property management services.

Being exposed to the industry daily, property managers can easily pick out the best features of your Doylestown rental home to promote and decide which target market to focus on. Tenants tend to prefer units that offer a parking area, extra outdoor spaces, quality flooring, spacious bathrooms, and coordinated kitchens. 

The property management company you hire can customize a marketing campaign to land the right renters.

Hiring Property Managers to Remain Compliant with Property Laws

Though thinking about turning your Doylestown property into a rental home sounds easy, it’s not. The reality is that you have to learn the local and state rules and regulations in order to comply. Hiring property management firms, especially for new landlords, can be an ideal solution.

A property manager can help point out tax deductions you’re qualified for. They also let you know which landlord-tenant laws are vital to be aware of. Further, they can help craft a rental agreement that’s in keeping with the regulations.

person working at a desk on a laptop and talking on the phone

Another beneficial way that property managers support landlords is by assigning the right rent rate for your Doylestown rental home. They are exposed to industry trends and know the current property values in your area. 

If you’re a self-managing landlord, you might have limited access to some data and it might take you a while to collect them. Thus, assigning the right rent to your unit can be tricky. Setting it too high can result in little interest, but setting it too low can cause you to lower your ROI.

Screening Tenants Properly

Before allowing new occupants into your Doylestown rental home, it’s essential to have an efficient system for tenant screening to land the kind of renters you’re looking for. Your system must be designed to meet your standards. Most landlords want to prioritize renters who can pay their rent on time and keep the unit in good shape. 

You can contact the prospect’s references, review the rent history, and evaluate the credit reports to make a good decision. Having an excellent screening process can lower the risks of facing problems later on. It is important to be up to date with the fair housing act when screening tenants. 

two people having a discussion one of them is writing on a clip board

Once an applicant has successfully passed the tenant screening stage, you can proceed to collect the security deposit. In Pennsylvania, the standard limit is 2 months of rent amount as a security deposit. If the tenants rent out for more than a year, then this can be reduced to a deposit of 1 month. If the tenancy is beyond 5 years, then no security deposit is necessary.

After the tenancy expires, the security deposit must be refunded within 30 days. If the tenant withholds the rent wrongfully, then this can result in forfeiture of the deposit, and they may also be required to pay up to double the amount. 

A landlord can use the security deposit to pay for repair charges from property damages that exceed normal wear and tear and unpaid rent.

Bottom Line

Deciding to be a landlord for your Doylestown rental home requires you to gain a more in-depth understanding and awareness of the property laws in Pennsylvania. 

If you don’t have the time in your day-to-day life, or prefer a less hands-on approach to your investment, look for a reputable property manager who’s an expert in property laws and offers superb property management services, like Keyrenter BuxMont!