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How to Lease a House

I am seeking advice on the how to Lease a House. This will be our fist time Leasing our house and we have no idea what kind of questions to ask the tenants what forms do we need to fill out. What will be our legal rights as well as the tenants? What is the procedure to go about this? We are going to be living out of town so how would we collect the rent? Can we do a draft from there bank account? Anything anyone can tell me will be greatly appreciated. With the market beign so bad we could not sell our house we tryed its just impossible for us at the moment.

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I am a license Realtor (not practicing at this time). But I would like to give you some advice. You can google Texas leasing agreements. Sometimes they give you some simple free application that you can download. Or you can contact HAR.com and they may sale you a few. I would have a background and credit check done. You can contact a loan officer to do that. I would also check with his/her employer for job history and pay. You will need to know that they can afford the home. As far as payment you can set up a separate account and have them to deposit the money there or you can use a leasing company who will charge you a fee or percentage of the rent. You can also have them to simply mail the check or money order by a certain day of the month. That is just a few pointers. I am sure some other realtors may have some better ideas for you. Hope this helps.

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You can totally do it! Check out legalforms.com for more info on specific forms and stipulations. You just want to make sure you get a good application, references, employer history, rental history, why they are looking to lease, previous rental history, and always ask for deposits and money via money orders or cachier;s checks keep record and always give a receipt.

Don't forget to list the items that are not permanent in the home as part of the property such as washer dryer, microwave, fridge, blinds, windows screens etc. You never know??!?!?

Hope this helps.

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Have a note book handy and start making up names and put on the list. This makes it easier to choose the right tenant, because you do not want to make a quick descision. When you get a phone call or you interview them tell them you will add them to the waiting list, this will give you time to check them out and do call other places they have lived. If you can do a back ground check for everything. Alot of time you can just log on the your county web site and get that info for free.
Now lets assume you found someone, you can get lease papers at a office supply store, or go to an attorney the first time and get them to draw you up a lease agreement. OK, now they are in the house, a way to check up on them to see if they are taking care of the inside of the house is to go over once month or every 3 months and change out the A/C filters, this is you way of checking on things without them knowing that is what you are doing. Also, it is good to only give a 6 month lease to start off with, that way if it does not work out you will not have to wait to long to get rid of them, and if they are good tenants, give them a longer lease.
Please be sure to check both husband and wife for a back ground check, you will be surprised just how many women have a bad back ground check. Have them sign a paper giving you persimmon to do this back ground check, unless it is open records. But I would not tell them if it was bad, just they are on the waiting list. See that is your way out.

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I would contact a local realtor (one who specializes your neighborhood) and ask them about reliable property managers... property managers usually charge about 10% of the rent... they collect the rent, arrange for repairs, and deal with re-renting if the tenants move out. If you use a property manager who is also a realtor - they often don't charge the full fee when the house is empty.

You could also have a family member manage the property but there are pros and cons to that as well!

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

We started renting a house back in 1986. We always used a real estate agency to rent the house. They will take care of the listing, background checks and contract. Since the house is close to us, we handle the rent collection and repairs.

More recently, we started renting a home further away. And I am in the process of helping my mother rent her home. She will live out of town. For these homes, we are using a property management agency. This agency handles the house listing (through a real estate), contract, collection of rent and repairs. They retain 10% of the monthly rent for their fee. And they keep the tenant's deposit (usually equal to one month's rent) in an account to cover the repairs. The next month's rent will replenish what was used, and the owner gets what is left over.

Since you indicate you will not be living close to this rent house, I would recommend you use a property management agency. If you live in the Houston area, contact me privately and I will send you the name of the agency we are using.

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I have been on both sides of this (Landlord & Tenant) & you can do this yourself. I was also a realtor who handled lease houses & manged them. If you hire a realtor to handle the leasing for you, there will be a commission involved, which is usually one months rent. If you decide to use a management company, there will also be a monthly fee for that but that can be negotiable. Make sure you do a credit check and check the rental back ground. When we leased our home, we wanted to make sure the renters were non smokers or smoked outside. I'm a smoker but NOT in the house. Also, make sure to ask about pets. We didn't mind fish or turtles, but dogs/cats/Large Birds can be a problem so if you want to allow those types of pets make sure to get a pet deposit to cover any type of damage, expecially the carpet. We were also looking for a family that was not too large. We had some families that were the two parents and 4-5 kids. We were on a septic so that was a concern of ours.

As far as the collecting of the rent, we gave them a choice to pay on the 1st or 15th, with a 3 day grace period. We didn't have any problems and the check was sent to us promptly every month on time except for one & they called us to make arrangements. We really liked the couple and they didn't have all of the deposit so we allowed them to pay down half and the other half was paid with the first month's rent. Their credit was not great but their rental history was excellent.

Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

My advise is to find a good Real Estate office that has a Property Management department and let them do all the work. You will pay them a fee (monthly) and trust me it is worth it and more so if your are not going to be living in the same town. Whoever leases it will be bound by their legal agreement and they will be on site to check on the property and check the renters before renting. In most states even when you own the house and lease it the law protects the person you lease to and "YOU will have to go file if you ever have to try and collect rent or have them evicted" and then THEY have 30 days-- when You own the property-been there--and the fees came out of my pocket. they trashed the house and were gone in the night. Property Managers have the legal right the lock them out and work for you.


1 mom found this helpful

Hire a real estate agent or management company. It may cost you 1st and last months rent, but piece of mind is worth it. They find the renters, they do the background checks, they collect rent, they fix issues (after talking to you first) it is all in the contract.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Speak with the Realtor you had your house listed with. They will be able to assist you in the leasing or refer you to a partner that handles rental property. As a licensed Realtor that is still in business (Bastrop, TX), we see this a lot. You have options, you can lease the property and continue to market it for sale with the hopes that an investor might be interested in a property that already has a tenant in it. The further out of town you go the more interested in a property manger you may become. They will handle the lease for you and for a smaller monthly fee they will also handle the repairs and maintainance.

From my past expereinces teachers and cops always seem to make good tennants. A Realtor will be able to help you witn a full background check. Mine cost $40, include criminal, rental history and credit checks. I also charge this to the tenant. It weeds out the wishy-washy because they won't be willing to pay for it upfront before they get the lease.

If you were trying to sell your home on your own, and have a little time before you are forced to move, then find a Realtor that you like and list it with them be up front and tell them that if you can't sell you will need to lease. Let them know where you are going and what your plans are and let them work for you.

1 mom found this helpful

I would suggest that you have a real estate management company screen your applicants for you. They'll pick the best ones, pick up the security deposit, and have the lease forms filled out. That will be worth it, because getting a good tenant in is half the battle. You may want to manage it yourself after that, because there are better tax benefits that way. Call the tenants, establish when you're going to be paid, and give them an incentive for paying on time (like a discount for paying on time rather than a late fee).

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there!
You can lease the property out yourself or hire a realtor. I am a realtor and the one thing you should ask is for them to fill out an application to run a credit check on all tentants that will be applying. There are companies that charge a 35.00 or more fee to run a credit check and also you can request a background check from a company. Let them (the potential tenants) know that the fees are not refundable. Also make sure to collect at least one full months rent in advance for the deposit and the first months payment before they move in. usually you as the homeowner are still going to be responsible for the mechanical systems in your home ex: a/c, electrical, water heater... You can download forms by yourself online or you can hire a realtor to do the paperwork for you. Generally you can ask your tenants to mail you their payment. Do you have a home warranty plan on your home? There are many to choose from, so I would recommend that you do your research to find one that is most suitable for you. The reason I ask is because if you have tenants in your home and something breaks down, it may be less costly to repair with a home warranty plan, but again, you need to ask a lot of questions...like what exactly is covered? How much you will pay out of pocket per visit? How many visits can you get per year? Do you have to pay extra for parts? What mechanical systems are covered? It's not hard but you will need to find out the answers before you make a decision. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Leasing your home can be a tricky thing. If you are going to be an absentee land lord I would suggest you use a property management company to handle your lease. It will cost you a little upfront (their fees) and they do charge a monthly fee but in the long run it is worth it. They handle everything- from credit checks and background checks etc. They also see that the property is maintained - ie, yard kept, ourside kept presentable etc. They also have the right to inspect the inside periodically to see there is no damage etc.
In your agreement with the leasing agents- you have the right to specificy what type of tennants you want- family size, smokers or not, pets or not etc. They will handle collecting the monthly rent and forward you your money. In most cases there is a positive cash flow even after their fees are taken. so, in most cases, they do all the work and you have the money to continue making your monthly mortgage.
Most real estate offices offer some sort of property management service- I would check out Remax or Coldwell Banker to start- then checkthe internet if you are not satisfied with their responses.
From years of experience I can tell you it is not easy to be a landlord, especially an absentee landlord where you cannot check on your property anytime you choose. it is well worth what they charge just to be sure your property is taken care of and not mistreated by tennants.
Good luck and blessings

1 mom found this helpful

We did this through a realtor and had a property manager. The most important consideration is credit check and references for the tenants- the realtor can do that. It will cost either a percentage of the rent or a month's rent, you can check that out up front.
We rented out the house for abut $2100 a month. The property manager charged about $190 a month to collect the rent and oversee any needed repairs/problems. You will have to pay for those, although the ones caused by the tenant (kids stoppng up toilets) are usually paid by the tenants. Take photos of everything before hand. Note all damage before renting out. Have tenants note same. any new damage which is not considered normal wear and tear comes out of their deposit. Plan to replace carpeting when you replace tenants.
No snoking in house and no pets are usual caveats.
Insist that your property manager use your trusted repair people. We were new in Austin and our manager used his brother in law. If you have good friends in the area, they might be able to verify what you are hearing long distance.
You must maintain insurance and add liability insurance to the policy.
It worked out well for us and we were blind and dumb.

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and I use a leasing company. They get like 10%, but it is worth it to me. We don't have to know the people etc. The agent takes care of collecting, repairing etc. then sends us our money. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

I would suggest getting someone to be your property manager. I used to be a property manager for apartments and then for a couple of rent houses when my friends had to move to Egypt for their job. I also rented my own house out. There are official Lease forms for Texas that you can get online or I can scan one in for you and email it if you like. You MUST use the official ones in order to have legal recourse if necessary later. For the application, you can either get one online or make one up. The basic questions would be names, social security numbers of ALL tenants over the age of 18, job info/contact, proof of all income, at least 3 personal references (these are basically used to track the person down if they skip out on you), automobile info (make, model, year, license plate #). Then run AT LEAST criminal on them. There are websites where you can do that for as little as $10. For the lease you'd include a list of any rules you want (no smokers, no pets, no waterbeds, no satellite dishes, etc), if you allow pets then get at LEAST a $300 deposit, preferably $600 with half of the deposit not being refundable and you might want to restrict large breed or "vicious" dogs. You would also make a list included in the lease of what items will remain at the house, such as appliances, expensive blinds, hot tub, etc. If you have a pool, they MUST provide proof of insurance coverage for that and most landlords require proof of renter's insurance now to protect your investment. There are alot of issues that must be covered in order to protect yourself and the tenant. You can ask your bank if they accept automatic drafts for rent and how to set that up. I have a form for that also. Otherwise, they would have to mail it to you or your property manager. Trying to manage a rental from another city can really be a pain, but it CAN be done. If you'd be interested in talking to me about it, just let me know and I can give you my phone number. K.

1 mom found this helpful

I'd look more into what type of people the perspective tennets are rather than a 'credit score'. I'd look more into their criminal background check, not so much credit score. My hubby & I both have had horrible credit but we're very honest, dependable people who've just had bad luck w/jobs & got behind on some payments & therefore, have had horrible credit so credit scores have very little to do w/what TYPE of a person someone really is. I'd also get references from their previous landlords, employers, or business references, at least 3. I'd avoid allowing friends or family references, just like a job application. They're basically applying for the job of keeping your home in good condition while they live there so you want to make sure you get someone reliable. Our landlady required us to pay for criminal background checks & of course the references. I know of a new landlord who just started renting. He leaves deposit slips w/his tennents to deposit their rent. He knows who has paid & who has not. Although he states that no one cannot w/d money from his acct. I'd still probably use a property management company instead if I can't be there near the property. You can always use your gut feelings too. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I would look in to a reputable property management company.

Below is a link for the State Bar of Texas Tenant's rights handbook. It would be a good read for someone in your shoes.


Good luck!

Make sure to do the credit check and be wary of those with bad credit. My husband leased a house last year to a woman with terrible credit but she was the only one interested and had a good job...It was a big mistake. She was always late except 2 times and then she just completely stopped paying. Not only that, she painted the living room blue, another room green and painted tiles in the bathroom. Last but not least, she stopped paying all the other utilities and the companies demanded payment from us as the owners of the house before they could be turned on again. Just be careful.

My husband & I used Sterling Real Estate Group to lease our house for 2 years when we were not in it.
Contact details:
Linda Grover
16151 Cairnway Drive, Suite 103
Houston, TX 77084
email: ____@____.com

We are living in a leased house here in Corpus Christi, and our landlord has a Real Estate Company handling everything. We go directly to the Real Estate Agent handling his lease agreement, for everything that needs to be done on the house. Then they go to the owner and if he decides that something needs to be done about the problem he hires someone to do it unless he can handle the problem himself. Make sure the agency you use if you decide to do so is listed with the Better Business Bureau. Usually the real estate people make up the lease, but you have to tell them what you do and do not want done. Here in this house, I am not allowed to burn candles in the house or on the patio without prior permission from the owner. If something needs to be repaired we are liable for the first 25.00 if it is deemed our fault. We are currently fighting an electrical repair bill for the A/C that hasn't worked right since the day we moved in. The gas co. refused to light the heater in the hallway because of how dirty the whole unit was..so they finally came out to fix it and said it was our fault because the filter was dirty. So we are fighting with the real estate company over that one. Good thing is we have the electric company they use on our side.

My husband and I have to fertilize the yard and the upkeep of the garden is on us. My family is not allowed to stay here with us unless I have permission from the owner. I mean, some of the stuff is crazy, but that is what he can leagally put in his contract. Hope this helped you some..

You might also want to do research online too as to what laws cover you as a landlord and what laws cover the tenant. You would be surprised. As a landlord you have good laws to help you out, but so does the tenant.

I had to do some checking online because of what was stated in our lease, and some of what they don't want is dumb in our eyes, but once it is in the lease and you sign that lease it is legal. So just do a lot of checking...

Also yes you are allowed to have the property checked on while you have someone living there, but you do have to tell the tenant at least 24-48 hours before you expect to go inside. This is to cover you, because if you enter the property without the tenants permission, you can be in trouble. I know this for a fact as a tenant. Also you need to make sure the tenant or someone they trust is home at the time of your visit. I do believe that under no circumstances are you allowed to just walk into the house, even though it is yours. If something comes up missing from this property, you can be blamed for it. As for locking a tenant out, you must be available to the tenant 24 hrs. a day 7 days a week, and there must be a phone number where they can reach you. You have to allow them into the house for their items such as medications, personal hygene, clothes..etc. So, please do a whole lot of checking and asking questions...I have and that is how I have come across this information. I also know that the real estate company handling our lease has been around since 1984 and just got listed with the Better Business Bureau 10 yrs. ago and has had 3 complaints against them from tenants and only managed to resolve 1 satisfactorily. They are still trying to settle the other problems..and I have had my problems with them myself. They are finding out I do not play games. We are following the rules and I expect them to abide by them also.

You must state in your lease agreement what you expect the renter to do to maintain the home...usually the renter is responsible for some maintenance such as cutting the grass, replacing light bulbs that have blown, replacing A/C filters, or making sure to keep them clean. Anything that you are willing to leave in the house make sure it is listed in the contract ie lease agreement. You and the renter should take pictures before the renter moves in..you should do an inventory of all rooms, list all scratches, holes in the walls that have been repaired. I did a 5 page inventory here and the real estate agent looked like I had taken her best friend. But I was covering myself...and I was not going to be blamed for something the previous tenant had done.

A lot of what I have told you is information I received from my previous landlord. I rented from them for 12 yrs. and the only reason I left is because my hubby got another job for the same company, just in a different city. He is the one I got my info on about fighting the payment battle. Long story there.

If you lease the home and want to advertise I may be interested I,m an nurse and I work for the city of Houston and take care of handicap children in their home ,Where is the home located?Size and how much will the lease amount I have an adjustable rate i,m trying to get from under My email is ____@____.com C. Hunter 281 50 2181 I MAYBE INTERESTED IN LEASE TO OWN i LIVE ALONE

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