Choosing From Rental Houses for the First-Time Renter

If you’ve never lived in a rental, you may not know what to expect from the process or even where to start. Choosing your new home for at least the next year can be daunting, but here are a few tips that may help make your decision a little easier.

1) Consider the Basics

When you think of your next home, what comes to mind? Write down how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, and then follow it up with extra amenities such as garages, swimming pools, patios, and fenced yards. Take into consideration whether or not you’ll have roommates or pets and how that might change your requirements. Also, think about any storage or work space you may need. Even if you only need one bedroom for yourself, a two-bedroom home might provide extra space for an office, for example. Then, decide on a monthly rent budget. Once you’ve made a full list of the basics, search only for rental houses that meet these criteria.

2) Check out the Neighborhood

How important to you is location? Some people don’t mind renting a gem of a home in an area they might otherwise find unfavorable if it means saving a few bucks on monthly rent, while others require a home in a more upscale community. If you have children in school, look into the local district and ask opinions from neighbors if you’re unfamiliar with it. Commuting is not a big deal for some, but others would rather a shorter ride to and from work or school. If you regularly dine out or are interested in nightlife options, you’ll want to consider local entertainment before choosing from your list of potential rental houses.

3) Trust Your Landlord or Rental Company

After you’ve found a house and before you finally commit to your decision, make sure you feel comfortable with your potential landlord or rental company. Check online for reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. One of the perks of rental houses is that you’re not responsible for most maintenance issues, so you want to be sure you have a clear understanding of what’s covered and what’s not. This includes gas, water, electric, garbage, and other bills. Some of these bills may be included, but if not, you’ll need to consider additional expenses. Voice any concerns and read the entire contract before signing. Landlords and rental companies prefer responsible tenants who will take care of their properties. If the person you may rent from seems evasive or untrustworthy when you ask for details, that may be a sign that you need to keep looking.

The key is to start small. Think about your basic requirements for a house first. Then, weigh your neighborhood options. Finally, before you commit to a lease, make sure you’re comfortable with your landlord or rental company. Finding a house to rent is a big decision, but if you’re confident in the steps you need to take, it will be a much more enjoyable experience with a more satisfying result.

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