Collecting rent each month should not just offset the financing costs for the property but also tangible costs such as property taxes, insurance and maintenance. When an investor evaluates a potential deal one of the key ingredients is how much rent to charge. It’s easier to gauge potential rent checking out market rentswhen looking at existing homes but what if you’re considering building a brand new rental from the ground up?

How can you predict what you can charge for rent without having to hire an appraiser or have an agent search for you? Especially if your new rental will be one of the few, if any rental properties in a neighborhood?

An appraiser will charge you anywhere from $200 to $300 for a market rent analysis and will prepare a report based upon interviews and research of surrounding properties. While this might be a consideration when you decide it‘s time to lock down a rental rate you may only want to get a general feel of what you can expect.

The first thing you can expect is that whatever the local rents are your rent can be slightly above everyone else’s, as long as the properties are similar. If your rental will be a three bedroom two bath home then you can explore current rents of other three bedroom two bath properties. You can charge more because your property is brand new. Everything in it from stove top to roof top is new and never used by anyone else. You can expect a premium for that.

Log onto any real estate agency’s website and begin a property search for rentals. Real estate websites have their own listings but also get a feed from the local multiple listing service which will provide homes based upon your specifications. If you select a specific zip code or neighborhood then ask for rental properties, you’ll be provided with a list and location of homes for you to review. That will get you started and should provide you with enough information to take the next step. Or not.