Tracey - if you offer it as a lease purchase that may help you sell it. That means a lease agreement and sales agreement are drawn up at the same time and go together. They can rent for 6 months or a year or 2 years and then they have to put their money down and buy. A lot of people who have credit issues to work on or not enough downpayment money are attracted to lease purchases.
A lease option is different - that is not tied in with a sales contract - it just means that at the end of the leasing period they have the option to buy it and you have the option of selling it - no committments up front.
Lease purchase is a definite commitment up front.
Main advice I can give you on renting your house - get references and check them thoroughly. Ask the condition of the house when they left, did they pay on time, were they quiet or rowdy. Were there complaints about them.
Bill rented his house in Colorado to one renter for over 10 years. There was a lot to do when the house was vacated in the middle of the night and it took about a month to get it in shape again but no complaints. It brougth in a good extra income and is rented again - the current people have been there 2-3 years.
We have a house we are renting here in Ocala but it is in a bad neighborhood and we know we won't get top quality renters. But it is okay - they have been there for 3 years and the guy works for a flooring company. He completely hardwood floored the house. Yard is trashed by his dogs but so is eveyr other yard in that neighborhood. We know we will have repairs when he moves but that is okay.
Just closed on another house on Monday that is going to be a rental. Its a cute 3 bedroom with a pool and hot tub. We actually have a mortgage on it which makes me sick - I hate having a mortgage on anything but it was a short sale and we will pocket about $700 a month after payments are made so it was an investment and Bill said we will pay it off in less than a year so then we will have an extra $1,000-$1,100 a month income. And if we decided to pay it off tomorrow, we can. Just want to keep plenty of reserves.
Our personal home and other rentals are paid in full so if they sit empty for a few months it doesn't really matter. Just makes me nervous having a mortgage on this new rental because then you can't afford for it to sit empty or have a lot of repairs.
We have a friend in Florida who has about 27 rental houses and he does have to do a good bit of maintenance but the income for him is worth it. He even cuts all the lawns and does the yardwork himself to avoid paying someone.
With our new house we bought yesterday we talked to a lawn guy and it is going to be $160 a month for lawncare and management - hedges trimmed, etc so we will add that to the rent.
You may want to think about that if you are worried about the yard.
As Gelidy said, get a first and last month's rent up front and a security deposit. Renters often leave in the middle of the night.
Put in your lease agreement who is going to make what kind of repairs. They should get renter's insurance but you will be responsible for the policy covering the structure and replacement. In fact if you have a loan on it, your lender will require you continue to carry the insurance.
Good luck whatever you decide to do with your house.
Bill's father died about 7 or 8 years ago and left them a house in Vero Beach near the beach - its an older 2 bedroom cinder block - typical Florida home. It's been sitting empty and the weeds are waist high and inside it is trashed from the renter that stayed a couple months. And now all these years of being empty - it has really gone down and needs paint and carpet badly.
I think Bill and I are going to buy out his brother and sister's share and put the paint and carpet in and Bill will haul out loads and loads of garbage and junk. Then I think we will have another good rental property but I want to do cash on this one.