Living in a lakefront home is pure bliss for most people. Many waterfront property owners choose to live at their residence full time, but some choose to live there seasonally. That time away can prove expensive if there is a mortgage on the lake house, but there is a way to keep expenses way down: renting out your lakefront home while away.
Of course, renting a home means being a landlord, and that’s isn’t a role some people are comfortable with doing. It can also be an emotional challenge to rent if you are personally attached to the home, and people who have a large emotional investment in their waterfront property aren’t typically good candidates for being a landlord because they tend to overreact.
The Key Roles of Being a Landlord
It’s important to know what a landlord does and does not do. First and foremost, practically everything will be your responsibility, excepting minor things like changing burnt-out lightbulbs and the air conditioning filter. If the garbage disposal seizes-up, you’ll be the one to pay to have it fixed. If the water heater quits, working, that too, will be all on you.
“The biggest criterion for whether you should even attempt this may be whether your temperament is suited to being a landlord. ‘You first have to look yourself in the mirror and ask if you have the time and the skill set to do this properly,’ says Robert S. Griswold, who owns Griswold Real Estate Management in San Diego.” —MSN Real Estate
One thing that probably won’t concern you which is very common in regular rentals is having to evict a tenant. Lakefront properties typically only rent for a few days, a week, two or three weeks, or up to a month at a time. However, that’s certainly enough time for one of the people in your home to set it on fire by accidentally overloading the fireplace.
Lakefront Home Renting – What Homeowners Need to Know
Once you decide to rent your lake home, you’ll have to do a few things to ensure that it’s properly marketed and is ready to host guests quickly after other guests leave:
- Calculate your rate. This includes your mortgage, the utilities, expenses for a property management service, legal counsel, and insurance, along with regular maintenance costs. You’ll want to try to accurately project what your costs will be in order to arrive at a figure. One way to do this is to look at the rates of similar properties renting around the lake.
- Decide on whether or not to hire a property manager. This venture will probably be a whole lot more than you bargain for, so it’s wise to look into hiring a property management team. Truth be told, it will likely cost more time and more money to try and manage the property on your own.
- Make sure the home is inviting and safe. Furnishings will be key, so don’t cheap out on the furniture and the decor. Remove any possible dangers, such as glass coffee and end tables. Ensure the banister on the stairs is well secured, and there are no safety dangers in the home. This includes putting down shower safety treads and install handles as well to minimize the risk of slippage. You’ll also want to set the water heater to a safe temperature.
- Get your legal and insurance protections in order. Do yourself a huge favor and consult a landlord and tenant or real estate attorney to learn what legal documents you need to have in place to protect you. Also, speak with your insurance agent about the appropriate coverages you’ll need. You don’t want to have a situation arise and not be legally protected or without proper coverage.