Where Do You Want to Live?
First, understand where you want to live, then use Internet listing websites, such Homes.com, to help make your search process easier. Looking online can be very beneficial because it is quick and easy, plus it shows more property listings and details including some with online video tours to help you tour the apartment ahead of time, an estimate of commute time to work, and walking distances to restaurants and entertainment.
Read location-specific articles to find out more about each location, fitness options, coffee shop selections and restaurant choices. Tap into your network of family and friends for apartment community or rental home recommendations. Ask about positive and negative experiences so you can be fully informed. Asking for advice from knowledgeable friends and other renters will only help you make better choices on your hunt for the perfect home.
Rental properties vary considerably, and costs of renting apartments, condos and houses can also span 1,000s of dollars. Doing your research upfront, with an eye to affordability is key to not only narrowing down your choices but also enjoying your new home.
How to be Realistic About Affordability
Be informed – issues may happen while renting an apartment or home, such as maintenance problems, noisy neighbors, etc.
Problems are to be expected and easily adjusted; you just need to be prepared. create a checklist of what you do and don’t want in a rental, and take that checklist with you on your tours. The more research you’ve done, the more prepared you will be for this process.
- Moving is expensive; therefore, start off right by finding an apartment or rental home that you can see yourself living in for years to come.
- Pay attention to details when taking a tour of the apartment or rental home. Keep in mind that moving involves moving furniture, and not all furniture will fit through every doorway.
- Consider factors such as distance to work, friends, and family. The Homes.com Rental App allows you to do this right from your mobile phone. Download the app!
- Plan ahead and keep in mind whether or not you might need space down the road for a roommate, or could monetize your home through crowdsources services.
- Most importantly… known your budget and costs involved. Finding the home you love then finding you can’t afford it is the worst scenario in the home rental process.
Visit Areas & Neighborhoods
If you’re moving near to where you currently live, or you’re moving for work or other opportunities, you may want to invest time, money and energy into visiting the general area where you’re relocating and scout out different neighborhoods for alignment with work, play and local services.
Your online research may give you some great insights into affordable areas, but walking around those locations may bring either a reality check or a relief that the online information is incorrect or a perfect description.
Walking in likely areas may also surface ‘for rent’ signs and offer opportunities to view
What to Do, Look For, And Some Questions to Ask
Take Lots of Photos
If the entire family isn’t able to tour all of the potential homes, make sure to take lots of pictures. It’s important to let everyone get a feel for his or her next space. Additionally, it will give you a way to accurately review all of the homes you have toured – keeping your mind organized!
Can You Sublet Spare Rooms?
These days, lots of homeowners and renters are cutting costs by renting spare rooms out to users of AirBNB and other sharing economy lodging sites. You might also be considering taking on a full-time roommate to help make ends meet. But before you bank on rental income as a source of revenue, you’d better be certain that subletting won’t violate your lease, or you and your lodgers could end up looking for a new place to stay.
What Does Rent Cover?
Some landlords include things like garbage and utilities in the monthly rent payment. Others expect you to pay for those things yourself. And some apartment complexes include access to shared spaces such as gyms, swimming pools, and common social areas, while others consider those to be paid extras. Make sure you know what your rent includes, so you can budget accordingly for extra expenses.
Is Parking Included With Your Rental?
If you’re renting a single-family home, then you probably won’t have to worry about parking. However, many apartment complexes charge extra for parking, and some (especially in denser urban areas) don’t offer parking at all. That might not be a worry if you bike everywhere or prefer to take light rail, but if your lifestyle is dependent on convenient access to a car, it can be a major inconvenience.
How Much Will It Cost to Move In? Or Move Out?
Unless this is the first time you’ve searched for a home to rent, you probably know that moving in tends to be a bit more expensive than one month’s rent. Some landlords and property management companies charge two month’s rent up front, plus a security and cleaning deposit. And if you have less-than-ideal credit, you could be in for a bigger security deposit, as well. The bottom line: before you commit to renting a new home, know how much money you’ll need to close the deal.
Water Pressure, Clarity, and Temperature
Does the water run clean or is it rust colored when you first turn it on? Does the shower have enough water pressure to rinse shampoo out of a person’s hair? Does the unit have a dedicated hot water heater or will you be racing to beat your neighbors for a hot shower in the morning?
Doors And Windows
As with the cabinets and drawers, are all doors and windows in good working order? There’s nothing worse than renting a place in the winter only to find out that all the windows are painted shut once the temperature gets above seventy-five.
Exterior Decorating and Yard Maintenance
Are you allowed to paint the interior? Can you decorate exterior spaces such as balconies or patios in the manner of your choosing? Will you be responsible for any or all of the yard maintenance as a tenant?
Pets And Guests
What are the pet and guest policies for the building or unit? Are you allowed to have guests for longer than one or two nights? What if your out of town guests bring their pets along? What if you decide you want to get a pet in the future?
Read: How to Rent With Pets
Check Your Landlord’s Reviews & Reputation!
If you’ve never had the misfortune of renting from an unscrupulous landlord, take a moment to appreciate your good fortune. Now, here’s a tip from the rest of us: check up on your landlord before you sign anything. If a property management company manages your new home, check their rating with the BBB and read their online reviews. If you’re renting from a private individual, run a criminal background check, talk to other tenants, and make sure the property isn’t due for foreclosure.