How to rent a room to international students

rent a room

You’ve got a spare room available — or, at least you will as soon as you move that decorative treadmill out of the way. By opening up that room for rent, you can open up an extra revenue stream. On top of that, renting to international students can foster cross-cultural exchanges. (Plus, here’s 8 great reasons to rent to international students!) Curious what steps you need to take to rent a room to international students?  

Here’s some easy-to-follow steps for renting to international students. (Spoiler alert: It’s easy!)

  1. Prepare your home. First things first, get the spare room cleared out. We get it: Spare rooms can be clutter collectors. Donate to charity (hello, tax deduction!) and see if you can even save yourself some time by having a local charity pick up donated goods at your doorstep. Next, give your space a little TLC, whether that’s patching a wall or giving the carpet a good deep clean.
  2. Photograph your rental space. Remember when the real estate mantra was “location, location, location?” That’s still true. Rentals in college towns perform remarkably. But, now, we’d add that high-quality photographs are a huge part of the equation, too. Typically, renters might be able to swing by for an open house or a showing before signing the lease. But, in many cases, international students will be doing their rental shopping entirely online, so it’s super valuable to have great photos to show off your space. If you’re not planning to hire a professional to photograph your space, here’s a few pro tips: Utilize natural light and snap photos during those golden hours near sunrise and sunset when the sunbeams are soft. Use a wide-angle lens or even the panorama setting on your smart phone’s camera to accurately capture the space. For the bonus round, you could lightly stage the room to help give a depiction of space.
  3. Add in some enhancers. A few extras can make your space more valuable. Because most international students are in the United States for the short-term, it’s not practical for them to invest in full bedroom sets, for example. If you’re able to furnish a room with a few basics — a bed, dresser, nightstand, television, for example — it could be a simple way to make your property more marketable. Other tips? A room with a private bath or a suite in the basement with a kitchenette could translate to higher rental rates.
  4. Study the market rate. When you’re buying or selling a house, comp reports help establish market rates. Renting is a little bit trickier. Curious how much you should charge for rent? Do some comparison shopping: Go ahead, check out other properties on Roomdock in your same zip code, for example.
  5. Sign up for Roomdock. It’s easy sailing from here. You can list your rental on Roomdock and we’ll help you find a perfect match. You’ll fill out a profile — go ahead, say a little something about yourself! Easy-to-fill-out fields will help you market your property and amenities. On our end, we verify identities to keep members safe. That means checking phone numbers, e-mail addresses, social media accounts and government paperwork to ensure there’s no scams! You can also decide what minimal rental requirements you’ll have in place, whether that’s a background check, proof of income verification, interview, and include that in your rental listing. From there, we’ll help match you to prospective renters.
  6. Get a lease in writing. Make sure the lease agreement states the rental rate and when rent is due. Articulate information about late charges, security deposits, and agree on utility charges and what’s included in the base rental fees. Then, it’s a good idea to come up with a roommate agreement for your shared living space. This will help you set expectations for quiet time, whether guests are allowed, or maybe even set up rules for common areas and a schedule for the laundry room.
  7. Track your rental income and expenses. Any income you generate through rent is taxable. Be sure to keep track of expenses, too, since that can deduct those. (For example, if you pay for background checks, you can count that as an expense).
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