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By Rob Massey

RISMEDIA, March 10, 2008-Renting out a house isn’t rocket science, but there are some basic rules that should be followed to increase your chances of success:

1. Properly prepare the house for the rental market. Make sure that the house is freshly painted, and the home and carpets are cleaned. Keep in mind that the home’s outside appearance is what creates a first impression.

2. Know the market. Check comparable rents using online Internet listing services to see what others are charging.

3. Market wisely. Use Internet listing services to reach potential renters. Keep in mind that most renters today do not use newspapers in their search for rental property.

4. Properly screen applicants. Use tenant screening services to not only check credit but to also unearth any legal filings against the applicants in previous rentals; this will also uncover any undisclosed prior rentals.

5. Manage to care. Treat all renters fairly and with a smile in your voice. I have turned many renters into homeowners and clients over the years. Treat them well and watch what comes back to you. Utilize the services of a professionally designated and experienced property manager, if all of this is too overwhelming for you to handle on your own. Realtors may find that spending too much time on property management reduces their productivity in selling. Arrangements can be made with property managers to ensure that the listing will not be lost when the time comes to sell.

Following these simple steps will help create a more positive rental experience for your clients.

Rob Massey is the founder of RentalHouses.com and vice president of industry development for Rentals.com. Contact him at rob.massey@rentals.com.

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