Are you living with family and planning to go out on your own finally? Renting a home or apartment offers many benefits, giving you more flexibility and less responsibility than homeownership. You will avoid paying property taxes and the costs of maintaining the home. But being a tenant isn’t entirely without its obligations, however.
We look at ten things that need to be considered when signing a rental lease. If you follow our suggestions, you are more likely to enjoy a trouble-free renting experience. Be sure once you have firmed up your rental contract that you notify everyone of your address change. Use the excellent resource at Maximum Real Estate Exposure that outlines all the organizations and entities that should know about your move.
You will have a terrible pit in your stomach if essential information is not reaching you as it should. Let’s get cracking with some trouble-free rental tips.
Moving From Mom and Dad’s
One of your first obligations before you actually rent your first home will be to pack up and move. You will quickly discover that moving can be expensive unless you are doing it alone or with help from your friends. Thankfully, there is tons of advice online on how to save on moving expenses. Use the advice to put a few dollars back in your pocket.
Do Your Research
Even though you aren’t likely to stay in the rental forever, you will still want to make sure that the area you are moving to is a beautiful neighborhood. Check things out before committing to a lease. Crime data, rent reports like this one, plus amenities can easily be researched online before you arrange an appointment to view a rental property.
Check the Terms of Your Rental Contract
It is never a bad idea to read the small print before signing on the dotted line, and lease agreements are no different. You might like to give an attorney or experienced real estate agent the chance to check the contract if you are unsure.
You don’t want to discover later something which will make things difficult for you. For example, signing a lease and then finding that there is a no-pet clause when you were expecting to move in with your dog.
Inspect for Damage
You should make sure that any damage to the property is documented so that you aren’t going to be liable for it. When you leave the rental, you don’t want to pay for the damage a previous tenant caused. Photograph any issues and let your landlord know about them so that the cost of repairs won’t come out of your security deposit.
There should be a form that both you and the landlord sign that outlines any of the blemishes and imperfections with the property. The last thing you will want is an argument that the problem didn’t exist before you took tenancy to the property.
One of your first jobs when moving in should be to clean the home thoroughly. You don’t know who was living there before you or what they got up to, so a deep clean is an excellent idea. Make sure you focus heavily on the kitchen and baths. It may be prudent to hire professionals if the landlord has not already done so.
The landlord should have insurance to cover the building, but it won’t cover you for losses if you are burglarized. Natural disasters, fire, flood, and other unfortunate events will also need to be insured against through renters insurance. While there are many expenses involved in moving to a home, this is one which could be very costly should you avoid it, and the worst happens. Having rental content insurance is a must!
Automatic Bill Payments
So that you avoid getting on the wrong side of your landlord and fail to meet your commitment as part of the rental agreement, set up automatic rent payments. This will make sure you don’t forget to pay and give you one less thing to remember each month. If the landlord doesn’t accept payments like this, you can always set a reminder on your phone.
If you want to change something in the property, like painting the walls, make sure that the landlord is happy for you to go ahead. They may be okay with the changes you want to make, but require that you pay to have things returned to their former appearance after you’ve left.
Perhaps they will even help with the cost of some of the improvements you want to make. It is a good idea to find out where the landlord stands on these issues before you sign the lease agreement and when asking to change something, get it in writing. If you are considering a rent to own arrangement with the landlord, this will be even more crucial.
Dealing With Maintenance
If any issues start to develop, like a leak or a heater beginning to malfunction, contact the landlord as soon as you can. It will typically be the landlord’s problem to fix or pay for these types of repairs. They may want you to organize the contractor’s visit and then they will pay for it, but you should make sure to keep them informed of the progress.
You don’t need to be best buddies with your landlord, but it is good to keep a friendly and respectful relationship with them. This will make things like maintenance and contractual issues less of a problem, leading to you having a better rental experience in the property. If some point does come up, make sure you address it right away.
Put yourself in the landlord’s shoes for a moment. What if the problem is made worse by the fact it wasn’t addressed right away? Maybe there is a small leak in the plumbing that has caused issues with mold. If the landlord was made aware of the issue right away, additional problems would not spring up.
Getting Your Deposit Back
You should request your escrow deposit back when moving out. Sometimes, landlords can drag their feet or simply forget to return the funds. To speed things along try asking if the landlord will be able to inspect the property before you move. That way, if any issues are found, you can come to some arrangement that is agreeable to both parties.
Hopefully, these ten tips on what to do when renting a home have been helpful. Use the guidance to make the best decisions possible when you enter a rental agreement.