Renting an apartment or a house is a complicated, overwhelming process. There’s so much to think about that it’s easy to forget something important when you’re seeking a new residence. You may think you know what you want, but you might not be asking all of the right questions. With that in mind, let’s go over nine things you should ask yourself before renting.
1. What are the terms of the lease?
When you receive a lease for a potential home, you need to sit down and read it, with a lawyer if you’re able to. Many landlords will try to insert restrictive or illegal clauses in the lease. You also want to be clear about all policies for your rental and what the penalties for violating those policies are.
2. What kind of neighborhood is it in?
Think about what kind of environment you want to live in. What businesses and essential services are nearby? Is it near public transit? You don’t want to be surprised by the noise level later. You can also search for crime statistics, reviews for restaurants nearby, and look into what schools are in the area if you have children.
3. Will your landlord be selling anytime soon?
Make sure you find out if the property you’re living in will be changing hands in the near future. Having to move again when you’ve just put all that effort into settling down somewhere is frustrating and usually avoidable with clear communication.
4. What changes are you allowed to make to the place?
Some landlords don’t want their tenants to make changes so tread carefully when asking about this before signing a lease. Still, if you’re intending to paint or make any upgrades, you will need permission to do so. It’s best to find our early if something you want wouldn’t be permitted.
5. How high is the turnover rate of the home you are considering?
You can look up information about home turnover rates online. It doesn’t always signify a problem, but if a property has had a significant number of tenants in a short period of time, that can be a red flag.
6. What do you know about the owner and the building?
Many people use websites like GoLookUp for services like a free background check on yourself, but you can also use their website to find out more information about someone you’re entering a potential rental agreement with. Checking public records like arrest records and lawsuits is a good way to make sure the person you’re engaging with is above board.
7. Should I purchase insurance?
Depending on where you live, it may be a good idea to consider home and contents insurance. Insurance isn’t something most renters think about but protecting your personal items against damage and loss as a renter is important. You can compare home insurance providers online easily to find the best rates.
8. Does this place fit my lifestyle?
Think about what your day-to-day activities are and what you do in your room. If you have pets, you want to make sure your home and the surrounding area are pet friendly. If you like peace and quiet, living on a street with a lot of nightlife might be a bad idea. Think about your preferences before you sign anything.
9. Is this in my budget?
Ultimately, all rental decisions are affected by budgets. First, you need to determine whether or not you can afford the rent. Then you’ll need to look into your landlord’s specific policies, many homes and apartments have an income requirement in order to move in. If you don’t meet the requirements, you may need a guarantor to co-sign your lease before you’re allowed to proceed.
When you’re looking to rent, the market can be hard to understand and working with landlords and owners can be difficult. You might have an idea of what your perfect home looks like in your head, but you need to look at more than just the place itself.
Thinking about your neighborhood, the businesses and services in it, and whether or not it will fit your lifestyle and budget are simple things that can keep you from being unhappy with your decision later on. There’s a lot to learn when you’re looking to rent, but these nine questions should get you started on the right track.