5 Things You Need To Know Before Renting a House
Finding a home to rent can be a difficult experience. Most people are tight on time to make their move and renting a house involves many steps. Understanding exactly what to expect can make the process much easier. With proper preparation, it can be surprisingly simple to finish the job. On top of that, you’ll be much more likely to find a great deal on a home to rent. Check out these 5 essential tips that’ll make your house hunt much easier.
- Don’t wait until the last minute
Giving yourself enough time to find a house to rent is essential if you want to avoid stress and find the best possible deal. Start by deciding on the latest possible date you can move and then determine the earliest day you’ll be able to move. The vast majority of renters start their search between 2-4 weeks before the time they’re looking to move. Ideally, you should start looking about 4 weeks prior to your move date. Any longer than that and landlords may not be willing to hold the house for you. Any shorter and you risk not finding the best place and settling for something that doesn’t meet your criteria.
- Know your decision-making criteria
For many people, a budget is the main concern when looking to find a home to rent. However, it’s crucial to lay out all the other criteria that are important to you. Here’s a list of some of the more common things people look for in a house before making a move:
- Commute distance
- Pet policy
- Number of bedroom/bathrooms
- Neighborhood safety
- Things to do in the area
In the end, everyone is different and has their own preferences. Make a list of your preferences in order of most important to least important. Not only will this help you make the best decision, but also it will help you communicate your preferences if you have a Realtor assisting you in your search.
- Have your application and documents at the ready
As homeownership rates are declining, competition for the best homes for rent is increasing. Some of the more desirable homes may be on the market for as little as 3 days before they are rented. Keep this in mind as you start your search. Have all the information available to fill out rental applications and have access to supporting documents commonly requested with rental applications. These can include pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and driver’s license copies. This way, when you come across your dream rental home, you won’t miss out by taking an extra few days to get all the information together.
- Always offer less than the asking price
If you’re someone who is well qualified for renting a home in terms of credit history and income, you should strongly consider making an offer lower than the asking rent. This is especially effective for houses that have been on the market for a while (over 30 days). Chances are, the landlord has been unsuccessful in finding a qualified tenant. If you’re working with a Realtor, he or she should be able to assist you in making such an offer to rent the house. Alternatively, you can sometimes ask for less security deposit.
- Do a thorough inspection before signing the lease
Finding a home to rent is not as serious as purchasing a home, but you should still take care to check out the condition of the house before you get locked into a 12-month lease. First, you don’t want to get stuck in a run-down house with a landlord who refuses to fix anything. Second, you should do a walkthrough with the landlord and make note of any problems with the house. This can pay off big time later on if the landlord tries to withhold your security deposit for damages that were already there before you moved in.
The Bottom Line
Hunting for a home to rent doesn’t have to be a pain. By following these 5 tips you can make the experience more fun while also saving money. In the end, you’ll find an awesome house to rent where you can be happy.
Michael Lucarelli is a Pepperdine MBA graduate. By day, he is kept busy working hard on his real estate company. By night, Michael enjoys sharing his expertise with the world as a freelance writer.