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Security Deposit/Rent

Good morning. I am a new landlord and I own a home here in Texas and I am looking to rent it out, I do not want to pay a property managment service because I live in the area. I stumpled on this website and was interested in possibly saving the money and doing everything on my own. However, I am unsure where to start. For one, I would like to know how I go about coming up with a figure for the cost of renting my home. I know to look at the area but my house is not like the others, its pretty small. Its a three bedroom and 1 1/2 bath. So I dont know what to charge. Secondly, what is a fair security deposit, along with a pet deposit? My home was built in 2007 and I have been the only owner.

I personally think a fair security deposit is one months rent.  If you tenant moves out early, at least you have that one months rent while you find another tenant. As far as pet deposit.  I charged the same amount as rent.  It's turning out that I will need to use that security deposit as the pet did damage.  I'd rather have more money in my pocket to make repairs than to have to get it from the tenant when they are gone.  If the pet is behaved, you can assure the tenant the deposit is returned as long as there is no damage.  If they don't have confidence in their pet, why should you?  Some may not be able to pay another months rent up front...I did allow them to play in 2 installments.  But I did have one installment before they moved in.  Hope that helps.  This was the first ever rental for me too.
Hello, I'm from Ontario (4hrs from Toronto)  I also beleived a one month rent as for security deposit is also fair as for in Ontario we have the last month rent which equal to the same amount of money as first month rent.   However I found that it is important to do a credit check on your tenant in order to know if the information they give you on the application match and also you get a credit score  which will let you know if it's a good potential tenant.  The fact the tenant sign to allow you to do a credit check on them,  so they have less chance to be hidding something.  Secondly to insure that the tenant is not distroying your rental unit.  It is important to performe a maintenance inspection at least twice a year.   Check the smoke alarm and get them to sign paper that it is in working condition (get forms from your local fire departmet , if they are not present at the time simply have them sign on another day,  check plumbing, heating, electricall because some tenant do not know their is something wrong such as a small leak.  Doing so you get to know if the tenant may keep the place in good condition.  You have to serve your tenant with a 24 hrs writting notice for inspection.  I ran accross this site of ezlandlordforms and I think it is the best that I found.  It's simple to understand and in detail .    THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO TAKE SEVERAL PICTURES OF YOUR UNIT INCLUDING A VIDEO IN CASE THEY DAMAGED THE UNIT.  YOU DON'T NEED TO GIVE THEM ANY COPIES SIMPLY IF YOU NEED TO PROVE THAT THEY DAMAGED YOUR UNIT.  ALWAYS BEST TO HAVE A WITNESS.  BE VERY SELECTED.  EVEN IS YOU NEED TO LOOSE A FEW MONTHS RENT IT WILL PAY OFF TO HAVE QUIET AND WILL RESPECTED TENANTS.  
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