You Can Rent Out Your Home for the Short Term

You Can Rent Out Your Home for the Short Term
  • Opening Intro -

    The travel bug has bitten you and you’re ready to head out for several months in a bid to see much of the world.

    Your plans have you traveling across five or six continents and you’re not about to rush your way from destination to destination.


With your home empty for months on end, you wonder if there may be a way to rent it out? After all, you live in a prime location, one that may be suitable for a short-term tenant.

Well, there is good news for many homeowners: you can find a short-term tenant and take the trip that you dream of. As long as your home insurance company does not have a stipulation against renting it out and local zoning laws or homeowner’s association compact requirements do not forbid the same, then you are good to go.

Keep or Store

If you plan to leave you home for several months, you have a choice to leave or store your furniture. You may find that providing a fully furnished home to a tenant is a logical choice, but if you are concerned about wear and tear on your antique furnishings, then finding a storage location is important.

You might also consider a halfway option: store some of your furnishings while leaving the rest in place. This can include removing some of your living room furniture and select antiques around the house, while leaving a fully stocked kitchen and at least one fully furnished bedroom in place.

What to Do About Valuables

Unless you know the person very well who will be renting your home, you may find that leaving certain valuables out is a risky move. Better to take down costly artwork, store a treasured coin collection and remove prized collectibles before the tenant shows up.

Take pictures of your home’s interior before you rent it out and when your important items have been removed. That way, you can “see” what has been left behind and review the photos when you return to your home. Let the tenant know that pictures have been taken in a bid to “protect both parties.”

Test All Appliances and Systems

You will want to leave everything in excellent working condition before you exit your home. This means going through your house and turning on the oven, testing the toaster, using the microwave, examining the refrigerator, checking plumbing and using the HVAC system.

It is a good idea to have a name of professionals that can be called on in an event of emergency. You could leave that information with the tenant or ask a friend or neighbor to liaise on your behalf. Having your important appliances under service contracts can provide the assurance and protection that you need while you are away.

Advertise Your Property

Finding the right tenant can be a challenge. Even more so if this individual is overseas. Working with a property management company can help you immensely and ensure that if problem happens such a plumbing leak, the company will contacted instead of a neighbor or friend.

You will pay a fee for having your property managed. It pays to shop around for a company, but do rely on referrals to find one that has a proven track record. Although making money while you are away is great, the assurance of having a professional oversee your home while you are gone is invaluable.

Have Your Home Cleaned

Just before you take leave of your home, have it throughly cleaned from top to bottom. You want to leave the home in top shape when the tenant moves in.

One way to handle this is to hire a cleaning company to get the work done. You can also have them come back upon your return.

Hire a Landscaper

If you aren’t already working with a landscaper, then hire one now. Your property manager may refer one for you. Or, you can ask friends and neighbors for help.

Expect to pay a flat monthly fee for services rendered. You need to make arrangement to send in payments, perhaps automatically sending same through a monthly bank draft.

Sign a Contract

With a tenant located and a property manager working on your behalf, you are ready to sign a contract. You may find yourself signing separate contracts to work with the property management company and another contract with the tenant.

If you are not sure about any points in the contract, have these matters cleared up before signing. For instance, if you have to return home early, the tenant may have the right to stay put until the end of the lease. In this case you will have to find other housing arrangements until then.

Tie Up Loose Ends

There are a few other matters to tend to as you prepare to leave your home. These include: your utility bills, credit card payments, mortgage payments and other recurring expenses. Set up bank drafts to have these funds automatically removed from your checking account and verify that you have enough money on hand to make these payments.

Enjoy your trip! Leave a copy of your itinerary with a trusted friend or a relative. Contact information should be included with a copy given to the property management company. Leave a list of your favorite places to eat and shop with your tenant, and include local emergency numbers and the names of your neighbors. You want this tenant to feel a part of your neighborhood during their short stay.

See AlsoNeed A Tenant? Consider These Points First!


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".