Former rental properties can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the home could sell for cheaper than others in the area, which is excellent for first-time buyers. On the other hand, having renters instead of owners means the home could be hiding some deferred maintenance costs that could end up costing you a lot of money in the coming years. It’s up to you to decide if you want to buy a home, but here’s what to look for to figure out if the deal of a lifetime is, indeed, a rental.
1. Look at the Curb Appeal
Renters don’t usually take too much pride in the look of their home unless they’ve lived there for years. Most of the time, renters do only the bare minimum yard work required as per their lease, which means things could look unhealthy, overgrown, or simply done poorly. The outside is the first thing to look for when determining if it’s a rental, but it’s also the easiest to fix. Once you own the home, making the outside look great is a matter of some mowing, some planting, and some fertilizer.
2. Ask the Neighbours
Neighbours know. It’s just that simple. If you’ve ever lived next to renters, you knew they were renters, and you probably knew how well the place was cared for by the owner. It’s always a good idea to politely and courteously ask the neighbours about the previous owners. Doing so will give you some insight that’s impossible to get anywhere else.
3. Notice the Lockbox
If tenants are still living in the building, looking at the home can get very complicated very quickly. Agents won’t be allowed to have a lockbox on the door and all appointments will have to be set up at least 24 hours in advance.
4. Take a Look Inside
Moving into a rental requires a thorough going over, one that can prove difficult when tenants are still living in the space. This most often happens in one of two ways: the tenants make looking around difficult or they complain about the space in the hopes they won’t have to move out.
Buying a rental can be a great investment if done properly. If you discover the home you are going to buy was once a rental, it’s wise to have a full inspection of the home done before agreeing to anything. Only a full list of every maintenance issue in the home can help you decide if it’s really worth the price. Otherwise, you could be in for some expensive and time-consuming maintenance issues in the future.