Love Left Virginia Landlord with a Vacant Townhome Ripe for Rent.
In 2004, Danny Fularon purchased a new townhome in Fairfax, Virginia. He was single and excited about being a homeowner. Life was good.
Fast forward three years. Danny meets a woman. He falls in love. The couple decides to move in together in her home.
"I didn't want to sell my townhome because the market was bad. Plus, I was undecided where my relationship with my girlfriend was going and I wanted a place to fall back on," he says. "The best option was to procrastinate selling and rent it out instead."
Danny did some research online and found CorporateHousingbyOwner.com (CHBO), a website that enables homeowners to market their furnished properties to prospective renters around the world.
"A couple of months after I start advertising with CHBO, I got one call, then two, then three - all inquiring about the townhouse. I was surprised how many folks there are looking for a temporary place to stay," he says.
Ask Lots of Questions
Danny says the hardest part about being a new landlord was getting used to the idea of someone living in your home. He says you need to be picky and do your homework about who you rent to.
"Ask lots of questions and find out who is going to be living in your home. Someone contacted me about having six contractors stay in my small townhouse. I don't have enough beds to host that kind of chaos so it wasn't the right fit for me. I've had to learn to say 'no' if it doesn't feel right," he adds.
Danny estimates, however, that 99% of the inquiries he gets from CHBO are "high-quality tenants."
Inventory Your Stuff
Danny advises that it's also important to take good inventory of your stuff. When he first rented out his home, he left everything in his home without taking proper note of what was there.
"When there are too many mugs in the cupboard, it's hard to track what might be missing or broken. Just leave a set of eight dishes so you know exactly what is in there when you come back," he advises. "Be meticulous about your inventory!"
Think Long Term
Today, Danny says he's in no rush to sell, especially with the housing market the way it is. He's engaged to his girlfriend (the same woman that he moved in with in 2007), so he admits that he doesn't need a "fall back" place any more. However, he says he still sees no reason to sell.
"If it's going to sit there, I might as well make money on it!" he adds.