I want to introduce several resources where a real estate investor or property owner can determine what rent you can charge for your investment property. The three most popular websites available for this purpose are Zillow.com, Rentometer.com, and Craig’s List.
Zillow is the most popular and respected so we will start there. Go to Zillow.com and put in the address of your property and then click “search”. Click on the word “rent” or “Zestimate”, both will give you rent estimates. The word Zestimate (rent estimate by Zillow) should pop up with the rental amount and the range Zillow thinks the property may rent for.
We know Zillow is not perfect. Zillow uses computer models and they are basing their rent Zestimate upon averages in the area that have similar characteristics of your property, i.e. square footage, similar number of beds, bathrooms, etc. Again, no computer model will be perfect but generally Zillow is accurate. You will need to be realistic about the property and observe its characteristics. If your house is a multi-unit building or if your house is somehow different than every other property in the neighborhood, the Zestimate may not be accurate.
The second site is rentometer.com. Once on the site you enter the property address. In this site they ask for how many bedrooms are in the property. You can also provide other information that could make the rent estimate more accurate. Once you have entered all information click “submit”. The site will give you a similar analysis to Zillow and a range they think the rent may fall in.
Another good way to get rent comparable is Craig’s List. Craig’s List has had issues in the past involving scammers and fraud. But as far as determining rental amounts it is fairly accurate. On this site, you would perform a slightly different search. You would go on Craig’s List for your area and go to “Apt/Houses” section and type in your town. Or, if it’s a development, you might type in the development name. You then enter the number of bedrooms and/or bathrooms. At that point many house or apartments will appear in your search for rent. You then need to review them and see if any of them are similar and look like your property so that you are comparing apples to apples.
Keep in mind these are estimates and you will have to test the market to really know what your property can rent for per month. We do not recommend that you try to “go high” and figure you can negotiate down. This rarely works to in today environment. Generally, if you over price your property hoping to get more rent it will just get ignored and you will not get any traffic or potential renters.
I better strategy is to use the above resources to get a close estimate of your property will rent for and then price your property slightly lower. This should attract a lot more tariff and may be result in a quick move in versus over pricing and the property sitting vacant for weeks or months.