So you’ve decided to rent a new house, flat or apartment? While you might think you’ve got nothing to lose when renting, we think you should consider the following 10 factors before you go ahead and seal the deal.
#1. Duration of residence
Before you commit yourself to renting a home you ought to consider the relative merits of buying a house, particularly if you plan to live in an area for long. In the short term renting a house will be cheaper for sure, but in the long run it’s definitely better for you to buy your own house.
Moreover, if you have some capital, getting a mortgage for your first home may not be very difficult and you can get to work on repaying your mortgage as opposed to paying rent.
#2. Terms of the lease agreement
This goes without saying but we’ll state it here anyway. You should thoroughly read through any lease agreement before you sign it, because once signed, its conditions are binding.
However, if there are terms you don’t like, you can actually negotiate terms with your landlord and reach a compromise which suits both parties.
#3. Location of the property
Since you’re going to be living at this place for a considerable amount of time, it is only wise for you to factor in the distance and time it takes you to get to the other places you expect to be regular at, such as work or school.
#4. Nearby amenities
A good question to ask is “what kind of amenities are readily available in the neighborhood?” Particularly if you have kids or are raising a family. You might be interested in knowing what schools, libraries, parks, superstores, shopping centers and cinemas etc, are located in the area.
#5. State of the house
You should thoroughly inspect the entire property for any existing damage before you move in. Spotting faulty plumbing or rotting wood may be of no use after you’ve signed the agreement. Typically prospective tenants take a walk around the property with the landlord and take photos of everything so everyone has proof of what the property was originally like.
#6. Rent amount
You need to determine if the rent you are being asked to pay is fair and accurate. You can do this by visiting a real estate agent or appraiser or simply by conducting your own investigation. Some people don’t bother to question the prices quoted by landlords or are hesitant to negotiate but you should try to find out on your own.
You can also find other, comparable houses on rent in the area, and politely inquire as to what is being paid for them.
#7. Size of the property
Is the house big enough for your needs? If you have a family then you will need multiple rooms, especially for your kids. The number of bathrooms might also be a concern, so make sure you check everything ahead of time.
#8. Responsibility for repairs and maintenance
Most people just assume that their landlords will be responsible for any major repairs to the house while they rent it; however, this is not always true.
In practice, most landlords will take it upon themselves to repair any major damage if it was not directly caused by you, but they are under no obligation to do so unless it is stipulated in the contract.
Similarly, if the property has a garden or a lawn which needs proper maintenance, you should clarify who will be responsible for it and the expenses incurred for it.
#9. Security deposit
Almost all landlords will require a security deposit from you just in case you damage their property and don’t fix it before you leave. The security deposit is your money though, so provided you remain a good tenant and don’t damage property, you should collect it back in full when you’re moving out.
#10. Permission for home improvements
Renting a house for an extended period of time should mean that you should be able make some changes to a few things like the paint or the landscaping right? Wrong. Your landlord may stipulate that you are not allowed to make major changes to his/her property.
If you want to make some changes around the house you should discuss the possibility and the extent to which you can do so.