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By Jamin Bollen

RISMEDIA, Sept. 11, 2008-The downturn in the residential real estate market has created a burgeoning market for rental properties. People who have lost their homes to foreclosure have once again become renters, while those who can afford to buy a home are choosing to rent instead. More and more Realtors are becoming rental leasing agents and property managers, and many people who cannot sell their second homes or investment properties are becoming landlords. Here are 5 tips to help make your rental property business a success:

1. Focus your advertising online. Print advertising can be very costly and the majority of renters look online to find their rental housing. There are many websites that offer free or cheap advertising for rental listings and you can create a customized online ad for your rental property in no time.

2. Throw out your printer, fax machine and filing cabinet, and forget driving across town just to get an application or lease filled out and signed. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 made the electronic signing of documents as legally binding as hand written signatures. It is now possible for you to create, sign, exchange, and store all of your rental documentation online. It has never been easier to screen tenants and get a lease filled out and signed, all while going paperless and helping the environment.

3. Stop waiting for checks in the mail and stop driving to the bank just to deposit application fees, security deposits and rent payments. Use one of many online services that allow you to affordably accept rental payments through e-check, and say goodbye to your Post Office Box and the age-old excuse of “The check must have gotten lost in the mail.”

4. Convert your second home into a vacation rental unit. Vacation rentals often times rent for much more than conventional rental properties. Many people love the value that staying in private vacation rentals provides and are choosing to stay in them over hotels in growing numbers.

5. Convert your investment property into a furnished corporate housing unit. Companies are constantly looking for short term furnished housing for their employees. This growing industry was once dominated by a few corporate housing providers, but is now seeing a large increase in private corporate housing units. If your property is in the right area, the initial upfront investment of furnishing your rental could pay off in consistent higher rental rates.

Jamin Bollen is the COO and co-founder of www.rentalspacenetwork.com, an online service that allows people to create customized rental ads for their homes, condos/townhomes, apartments, vacation rentals or corporate housing units. The service allows people to fill out, sign and store rental paperwork such as applications and leases online. Members can accept e-check payments for application fees, late fees and reservation deposits. Currently all new members of the website get to use the service for free, including the creation of one free property listing.

For more information, visit www.rentalspacenetwork.com.

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