Renting a property can be an affordable way of living. However, you can’t simply rush into signing to what seems to be the rental of your dreams! Inexperienced renters may fall into traps that may end up being very costly. Here is some homework you’ll need to do before signing that lease.
1. Visit the property
This one seems straight forward, but it’s important to get a feel of the space and imagine your life there. Additionally, make note of any damage that you see on the property. Make sure that all the facilities work properly. Any damage recorded after you move out will be your responsibility; so don’t be afraid to go through the property with a fine-toothed comb. You don’t want any surprises on the move-in day!
2. Know what’s included
Some rental properties include utilities, cable, Internet and parking as part of the monthly rental cost. However, others do not. This will impact your monthly budget and makes what seems to be the dream rental, not so affordable. Ask your landlord exactly what is included in the monthly rental rate so that you will know how to budget for the future.
3. Establish a good relationship with your landlord
Before you enter into a legal agreement with someone, you’ll want to get to know the person. Do some research and make sure that the landlord has a good reputation. You want someone who is organized and reliable. Additionally, how you present yourself at meetings or over the phone reflects how you will be as a tenant. Just as you need to trust your landlord, he/she needs to trust you.
4. Read the lease carefully
Ask for a day or two to look over the lease. Looking over the details takes time. It will be boring and written in confusing “legalese” but you need to make sure that you’re aware of all of its terms. Read it over carefully and have a friend with experience in renting (better yet, a lawyer) to look over it too. Your lease may contain a provision that you may disagree with, such as restrictions on pets, or design alterations. You don’t want to sign on the dotted line without being aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
5. Get everything in writing
If there is anything that you want to clarify, write it down and ask for an updated version of the lease with these specific details. This avoids any misunderstandings and complications if something goes wrong.
6. Gather your paperwork and finances
You’re not simply signing the lease, you also need to pay the security deposit. This is usually one month’s rent. Typically, you will also need a copy of your driver’s license (or any other piece of identification), your rental history, references, a complete application and more. Ask your landlord what you will need to provide before signing that lease.
7. Take it one step at a time
There’s no need to rush. Renting a property can be very overwhelming. Give yourself time to make the decision with a clear mind and don’t let anyone pressure you into signing a lease. Choosing a place to live is a big decision.. Just take a step back and breathe. You’re about to embark on a new chapter of your life in a new home! Enjoy!