Before taking over management of a property, of course, one should go out and visit it. This post covers what is going to make for a great rental house and what might pose as a challenge. With this guide, you will be able to compare these property attributes to your current rental house and perform a litmus test for future rentals that you’re going to buy. This post is also great for determining if your current home can be converted into a rental.

When tenants are looking at your house to rent, they’re typically looking at two or three other homes to rent as well. You want to be able to win these tiebreakers, especially, during a downturn in the economy. Tiebreakers are key and they come in many examples.

Number of Rooms

Potential tenants would love to find a four-bedroom house. Most of the homes in the East Bay are three-bedroom and only 5% to 10% are four-bedroom homes.

But, ideally, you want to find a three-bedroom house in which you could add a wall between a large bedroom and make a fourth bedroom out of it. This is because a fourth bedroom will rent faster and provide you with a couple hundred dollars a month more in rent.

Home Size

It’s prudent to have a home that is medium sized, which is around 1,400 to 1,600 square foot; the average size of a home in the East Bay. When you try to rent a larger home, you’re actually going to shrink your pool of interested tenants because they don’t want a large home with a lot of utility bills and maintenance. Tenants don’t want a home much smaller than 1,400 square feet either.

Home Features

You want a home that has a family room and a living room, as well as a dining area. This is because a lot of homes in the East Bay have either a family or living room, but you want both. You also want a home that doesn’t have a fireplace, as nobody uses one anymore, or a pool. You don’t want that liability, and somebody has to pay for its maintenance.

Having both living and dining room is ideal

Moreover, ideally, you want double pane windows in the home you’re renting because it eliminates the greater likelihood of mold in the house. You also will want a two-car garage, as well as a small front and backyard. Tenants don’t want a large yard.

Usually, the owner provides the gardener. Therefore, having a small yard is going to be a smaller gardening bill for you. You also want to be on a quiet street, such as the end of a cul-de-sac, which is ideal.

Distance from Schools and Means of Transportation

You want a good school district and ideally, have it located at walking distance, as most tenants have young kids. However, to be within walking distance of an elementary school is a real tiebreaker. You also want to have good freeway and BART access, no more than a couple miles away.


It’s important to have good neighbors on each side. If a home is in a poor state right beside a rental house, it makes it that much more difficult to rent.

You also want to live within three hours of whatever rental you own. This will allow you to visit the rental that same morning or same afternoon in the case of an emergency call.

In case of emergency, live near your tenants

Finally, you want to have the ability to get a 680-credit score, wherever your home is. You don’t want to purchase a home in a rough neighborhood, where you can’t get a credit score that is at least slightly above the average 680 score.

If you have any questions on the ideal rental home or anything else regarding property management, contact East Bay Property Management and Consulting.