Many people mull over the idea of renting out their homes. They may want the benefit of extra income to save money or pay down debt. In addition, they may see it as an option or a way to wait things out until the economy improves.

1. Understand the responsibility involved

First, you must determine whether being a landlord is an obligation you can even handle. The benefits of renting are numerous, such as the ability to deter vandalism that often plagues an empty home.

2. Prepare Your Home for Renters

Prepare for the new tenant by thoroughly cleaning your home and making sure all appliances are working and in working condition. If you’ve decided that you are renting out a room or area within your house, make sure that you can secure that area from the rest of your home.

3. Marketing Your Home

Once the house has been cleaned up, come up with a list of what makes it appealing so you can put it on the market. Take note of commonly desirable features such as a washer and dryer, air conditioning, and a garage. Use rental terms to help “sell” the property.

4. Hire Professionals to Help You Navigate the Financials

Set the cost of rent by learning what other rental properties are renting for in your neighborhood and community. Remember, potential tenants will be looking for deals. Consequently, set the rent at a competitive price and highlight all your home’s most valuable features.

5. Screen tenants carefully

Don’t forget to gather references for potential tenants and check their credit histories. It is also a smart idea to take safety precautions when this person is a stranger. Once you’ve found the right tenant, ask for a reasonable security deposit and arrange an appropriate payment schedule.