Maybe you’re a college student looking to rent your first apartment, or a downsizing homeowner reentering the rental market for the first time in decades. Whatever your situation, there are many precautions you should take before renting any property. The last thing you want is to be saddled with a 12-month lease you can’t afford or to be stuck in a neighborhood you’ve come to detest.
As one who’s been there, let me share a few tips for renting a home:
Before you even start looking, know how much you can afford to spend. Housing is the biggest monthly expense for most people, so if you miscalculate what rent is affordable, your budget will suffer from the get-go.
Besides rent, don’t forget such additional expenses as a security deposit, utilities, cable/satellite, Internet access, renters insurance, parking and laundry facilities and one-time, move-in expenses like window treatments, appliances, or rugs.
Scope out the neighborhood and determine how safe you feel walking around, especially if you’ll be parking on the street.
Come back to see if the neighborhood’s character changes at night, or on the weekend.
Also, note the proximity to parks, schools, grocery stores, public transportation and busy commuter routes.
Thoroughly inspect each potential rental: