How Much Will My Home Rent For? 6 Ways to Calculate a Fair Rent Price

You’ve debated whether to put your house up for sale or rent it out. You’ve analyzed the market, done your research, and, after lengthy consideration, you’ve finally decided to avoid the hassle of selling and get a tenant. You breathe a sigh of relief. Now onto the easy part, you assume: setting the rent price.

Not so fast. Landing on a fair-market value for your rental can be a big challenge, especially if you haven’t rented a house before. You don’t want to leave money on the table, but you also don’t want your rental sitting vacant because you’re charging too much.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to setting your rent price, but there are ways to make it easier. That’s where we come in. With the help of real estate professionals, we’ve gathered six ways to calculate how much your home will rent for.

Table of Contents

What to know before setting rent
Method 1: Set rent using the home’s value
Method 2: Set rent using comps
Method 3: Set rent using your own financial needs
Method 4: Set rent using an online calculator
Method 5: Use a real estate professional
Method 6: Leave it to the rental company
How to create a rental listing
Summary

A graph to figure out how much your home will rent for.
Source: (ThisisEngineering RAEng / Unsplash)

What to know before setting rent

Before you can even draft a number for your rent, there are some considerations to take into account. Texas real estate agent Ryan Kutter, who has 16 years of experience in the industry, says the first thing you need to think about is why you’re renting your home and what purpose it is serving.

Are you looking for monthly revenue and hoping to receive some extra income? Or are you interested in what Kutter calls “asset appreciation,” meaning owning real estate and reaping the benefits of its appreciation while a renter subsidizes your costs? Kutter considers the former a “short-term viewpoint,” which a homeowner that is unable to sell their home or someone not interested in selling at the moment might be interested in. The latter goal is more of a long-term view, where a homeowner is interested in real estate investments while a renter provides some income to keep up with the property.

Every homeowner is different, and the reason for renting varies across all properties. But understanding your long-term goals will help you figure out how your rental price fits into your future plans and what price meets all of your needs.

Method 1: Set rent using the home’s value

Some experts suggest that landlords set a rent price at 0.8% to 1.1% of the home’s value per month. In the second quarter of 2021, the U.S. median home price was $374,900, which would make for a rental price somewhere between $2,999 and $4,124. Here’s what to know:

Leveraging online tools

Start by finding your home’s value using HomeLight’s real-world home value estimator or a similar tool. These resources will give you a complete picture of your home’s worth and provide a solid number to work with.

How to set your rent

For homes worth significantly less than the median U.S. value, you probably want to set a rental price closer to 1.1%. For homes worth more, 0.8% is perhaps a more realistic rent price.

Basic law of supply and demand

If housing prices are up and the inventory is low, the demand for rentals also goes up. The same is true in the opposite direction. But, according to Cosmo Spellings, a real estate agent with over 15 years of experience in the Florida panhandle area, you can only expect about a 10% fluctuation up or down in rental prices as housing markets shift.

So, if a property rents for $1,000 a month in a normal market, he says you could expect to get $1,150 in a high market.

Method 2: Set rent using comps

Just like an appraiser values a home using comps, you can do the same thing with rentals.

Researching similar properties

First, find rental homes comparable to yours (size, age, features, location) that are renting and evaluate the current rental income they’re generating. If you are unsure of your home’s current value, you can use comps to determine this and then use the previously mentioned 0.8% to 1.1% guideline.

There are numerous ways to research comps but start by searching local listings in the paper or online for rentals. Additionally, sales prices might help you gauge how the market looks as well.

How to set your rent

The key features to examine in comps are the square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and its location, Kutter says. Spellings adds any recent renovations are good to look at as well. “Renters are more willing to pay a higher dollar in rent if the property is turnkey: new floors, new countertops, new appliances. It has that brand-new house feel,” he says.

Once you find a few rentals that are similar to yours, set your price. Make sure to keep in mind any unique features or upgrades your home has as well.

Hands holding a wallet and money.
Source: (Allef Vinicius / Unsplash)

Method 3: Set rent using your own financial needs

This can be very tricky, but it can also be a good way to establish a competitive rate that gets a high-quality renter in the door who wants to stick around. Let’s take a look.

Determining your needs

Figure out your monthly mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and other expenses. Consider that maintenance for your rental property can consume upward of 15% to 20% of your potential rental income, according to some experts.

How to set your rent

Base your rent around what you’ll need to meet your monthly financial obligations.

Note that even if you come in low or break even each month between what you pay for your house and what you make in rent, you still come out ahead because your home is being paid off and is likely to appreciate in value.

Method 4: Set rent using an online calculator

While they might not be totally accurate, online rental calculators can give you a sound basis for setting rent. Here’s what you need to know.

Finding the right calculator

It’s best to use several different calculators so you can get a sense of the price range. Look for ones that take into account any factors that you’d like to consider, such as your monthly expenses.

Make sure you’re looking at median error rates or other data information so you have an idea of how far off the rent could be.

How to set your rent

Once you’ve gone through your calculations, set your rent somewhere in the range you found. Consider your short- and long-term goals in renting your home and what financial needs you have as well.

Also, keep in mind a calculator can only provide an estimate, which may or may not be accurate. It can’t consider other variables, such as features unique to your rental, or even your personal feelings about what price you’d like to see.

Two people comparing how much their home will rent for.
Source: (Sajjad Hussain M / Burst)

Method 5: Use a real estate professional

If you don’t want to mess around with any technology yourself, use the tried-and-true old-fashioned method: a real estate agent.

Tapping into your agent’s expertise

Kutter says a real estate agent or broker can be a great guide as you put your rental on the market. They have numerous resources, such as the MLS database, that can provide extensive data and information about the market in your area.

Find a reputable and trusted agent who has extensive experience in your ideal location, especially with rentals. Ensure they have the proper credentials you’re looking for and don’t be afraid to interview a few potential candidates.

How to set your rent

Simply ask your agent, “what can we get for the home?” They will dive into the details, looking at how long the home has been vacant, what similar homes rent for, and what your needs are.

An agent will most likely use a combination of many methods listed here, including comps and your financial needs, to set your rental price. In fact, that’s one of their biggest perks: they’ll do almost all the work for you.

Method 6: Leave it to the rental company

Both investors and regular homeowners alike often see great benefits from using a rental company to rent their property. Let’s dig deeper.

Understanding a rental company’s role

According to Spellings, a rental company can “become a wall between you and the occupants. It takes that emotion out of it.” They deal with problems, late rent, and can even help with eviction processes if you have to go that route.

However, remember that rental companies will charge a fee for their service (about 10% to 12% of the rental price, according to Spellings).

When searching for the right company, ask around for referrals and check out online reviews.

How to set your rent

Your rental company will most likely set your rent price for you, but not all will, Kutter says. However, they should provide information, such as comps and market value, that can assist you.

Before signing any documents, ensure you know exactly how the management company sets the rent price and choose tenants.

A house that you can rent.
Source: (Poseidon X / Unsplash)

How to create a rental listing

You’ve done your calculating and set your rental price. Now it’s time to get your home occupied. As with most things, the best place to start is with the basics. Make sure your listing includes the square footage, number of rooms and bathrooms, and any upgrades you’ve recently done.

On top of that, emphasize the features that make it stand out among the competition. Is it within walking distance of shops and restaurants? Does it have a private yard? Is it near the neighborhood schools? You bought the house at one point, so think about all the things that attracted you to it.

Kutter says everyone knows about the three L’s of real estate: location, location, location. But he also says to consider the other top threes: Does it look good, feel good, and smell good? People will want to know all of that in your listing.

Lastly, Kutter also says properties that are vacant (and clean) tend to rent faster. A potential renter will most likely be interested in a property where no one is living (as long as the property is in good shape) over a home where they have to wait for the current tenant to leave. So, make sure to include when your property is available as well.

Summary

There you have it. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to setting your rent, these methods should help find a rental price that’s both fair to renters and profitable for you. Plus, whichever way (or combination thereof) you choose for setting rent, remember that it can always be adjusted up or down as needed. It might take some trial and error before you find the perfect price. But once you do, you’ll be on your way to renting your house out in no time.

Header Image Source: (Poseidon X / Unsplash)