Are you about to review prices to rent a house or apartment? This is a process millions of people have done before, and this may not even be your first time. However, most people still know very little about the ins-and-outs of renting a home. Without the appropriate due diligence, a renter ends up spending more than necessary, while agreeing to terms and conditions they should avoid. So, before you sign that rental agreement, keep the following ten things in mind.
When you’ve fallen in love with a place, the last thing you want to do is risk losing it to someone else. For this reason, many people accept the first price offered to them. While understandable, you don’t have to approach a potential negotiation this way. As long as you don’t lowball them, and make it clear that you are flexible, there is no harm in asking, especially in troubled times like these.
2. Settle the terms of your lease
Many renters assume that all leases are essentially the same. However, not only is this not the case, but many items people assume are part of the average lease are inaccurate. Decide on the length of your lease together with the landlord. Discuss what will happen if you need to terminate it early. Get into the nitty-gritty of your security deposit. Don’t simply sign the first contract handed to you.
3. Get renters insurance
The landlord will certainly have insurance on their property. But you should get renters insurance to cover your own possessions, as well as any personal liability that you might incur.
Make sure to get some quotes on renters insurance to find the best option for your specific circumstances. It can really save you when things go downhill.
4. View the place at least twice
It is very difficult to get a good idea of what a place is like to live in from just one visit. Ask to visit at least a second time, and go at a different time of the day. This way, you can assess lighting, traffic, and noisiness more accurately.
5. Consider the season
It is easy to see a place and fall in love with it. However, you may find out a few months later, that a different season makes it almost unbearable. So, if it is summer, consider whether the place has good insulation and heating for winter. If it is winter, consider where a breeze could come in from.
6. Ask about the HOA or body corporate
When you are moving into an apartment, you are going to have to deal with a body corporate telling you what you can or cannot do. When moving into a house, you will have to deal with a homeowners association. In some cases, this becomes a nightmare, with unreasonable expectations and constant complaints. Ask the owner of the place about their experience, and try to get an idea from any neighbors who might be around when you are present.
7. Think about work
2020 has shown us that most of us can work from home. This is probably going to be a reality going forward. Think about whether you will be able to get work done in the new place. If there is a school next door, or no space for you to work, consider looking elsewhere.
8. Find out about pets
Even if you don’t currently have a pet, ask if pets are allowed. At some point, you might decide you need a furry friend in your life. Also, take a look at potential hazards that might get in the way of future pets. How much space would a pet have to live comfortably?
9. Check the maintenance schedule
The home you want to rent might look like it is in good order, but there could be problems lurking underneath every floorboard or ceiling beam. Ask the owner if they have a maintenance schedule, and when the place was last serviced. It will not be your responsibility when maintenance issues do come about, but some owners will do half-jobs or not take these things seriously.
10. Rent increase
An increase in rent is inevitable with each year that passes. However, try and come to an agreement on a cap for how significant that increase can be. Once you are in a rental, it will be hard to say no to an increase if you are threatened with eviction. Get ahead of this issue in advance.
Renting a place is a great idea going into 2021. Do your due diligence, so that you are in the best possible position.