Finding and renting a home for the first time can be an exciting and daunting process. There’s a lot to consider, from choosing the ideal rental space to knowing how to protect your rights under the property management company or landlord. All you need is a good deal for your preferred property.
It is vital to maintain a cool head to avoid paying over the odds by doing the research before signing any contract. If you ask yourself,” what to know when renting a house for the first time?” It means you want the process to run seamlessly, without experiencing deterrents like budget shortage and low credit scores, among many others.
Some of the factors to consider as a prospective tenant include rental rates of similar properties in your desired location to give you an idea of what to expect. The bottom line is to know what you want and what you can afford before signing a lease.
Whether you are moving off-campus or away from home, you don’t want to risk going in unprepared.
Whether you’re renting a single family home or an apartment, here are some tips to ease the complex process of finding the ideal abode.
Figure Out Your Housing Budget
Before renting your first home, you need to establish the bottom-line costs to ensure you kick start the process on the right foot. Whether you are looking for a shared apartment or group house, a one-bedroom apartment, or a live-alone studio, it helps determine the type of place you are looking for. The last thing you want is to spend more than you should on rent because you failed to do your research.
Since most landlords invest in rental marketing to try to fill vacancies fast, giving you the chance to find a place that’s within your budget. It would help if you didn’t spend more than a third of your after-tax income on rent, and utilities should be included in your budget. You can check with local utility companies to get an accurate estimate or ask the landlord if the rent includes utilities. Don’t forget to factor in renter’s insurance to guarantee the safety of your property in the event of a break-in, fire, or other disasters. All these factors can help you make informed financial decisions and avoid conflicts when the landlord is collecting rent.
Separate “Must-haves” from “Nice-to-haves”
If you are renting a home for the first time, it is advisable to list what you need and another for what you want. A list will help you figure out the impact each item has on your bottom line without compromising your budget or quality of living. Some of the things in your “must-have” list include a safe neighborhood, accessibility to public transportation or parking, and extra living space. On the other hand, your “nice-to-have” list should comprise amenities like a dryer and washer, proximity to a favorite restaurant, or a breathtaking view. The list is different from one person to another, and you’ll have to prioritize what you are willing to pay more for and what you can sacrifice without compromising your comfort.
Expenses to Consider
Some rental payments include certain utilities, but this is not found at all properties. In addition to your monthly rent, ongoing payments are required. These usually include electricity, water, and gas in addition to other optional bills such as cable. You may also consider purchasing renter’s insurance to better protect you in case of theft, natural disasters, or accidental damages to the property.
Again, be sure to read the agreement and find out if the rent amount covers any utility or maintenance costs.
Start Your Search Online
Now that you have an idea of how much you can afford and the desired specifications of your home, it’s time to start your search. Most cities in the United States have apartment-finder services to help you navigate quickly, especially if you are new to the town. Another effective way to get started is utilizing family, friends, friends-of-friends, social media, and alumni networks by putting the message out there that you are looking for a new place.
If you come across a good housing option online, your search doesn’t end there. The next step is vetting them by going through reviews to get an idea of their services. Online reviews can paint whether the property is well-managed or skewed to the negative, raising red flags. A property management company can help you find the ideal rental home, alleviating any concerns you might have after filling out the rental application.
Continue Your Search in Person
As inconvenient as it sounds, especially for people moving into a new city, scheduling a quick trip to check out viable housing options is advisable. If you can’t ask the landlord to send you pictures of the rental house or ask a friend to check it out, a personal visit is the next best option. It also lets you check if anything is damaged and compare how it appears to the description.
It would help if you were on the lookout for red flags like signs of rodents, bugs, water damage, and other issues that can become more significant problems in the future. Although they are not necessarily deal-breakers, they need to be dealt with soon as possible. It is advisable to inquire whether the landlord or property management company will cover the cost in the future for such emergencies before renting a house for the first time.
Understand the Rental Agreement
Make sure to not guess or simply glance through it. Rental property contracts are specifically prepared for the purpose of protecting both the landlord and the tenant. Be sure that you have a full understanding of everything mentioned within it. That way you have a clear understanding of all that is expected of you and what you can expect from your landlord. Failure to abide by the terms listed in a rental agreement will result in potential monetary and even legal consequences.
Rental agreements cover many important aspects of living in a rental home. For example, many first-time renters fail to understand that they cannot simply shift residence any time they wish. There are procedures to be followed with the landlord before moving out. Likewise, you can’t move in and paint the walls with your preferred colors or change the appliances and fixtures without prior permission. Landlords remain the owner of the house, requiring you as the tenant to adhere to their preset requirements. Make sure to read the lease carefully in order to set a foundation for a positive rental experience.
Be Prepared for a Landlord’s Demands
Most landlords require prospective tenants to provide a list of references to contact and check out if you are ideal for their rental property. A property management company or landlord will probably check your credit score and ask for a copy of your payment stub to avoid issues when collecting rent. Although requirements vary, it is crucial to ensure your credit score is above 660 in most parts of the country, and if you are moving for a new job, the offer letter serves as sufficient proof of income.
If you have a less desirable credit score or fail to meet the salary standards of your prospective landlord, there’s a chance for you to get into your chosen rental. All you need to do is find the details of a co-signer or guarantor who will take responsibility for the rent if you can’t make ends meet for whatever reason. This position often goes to a close friend or a financially stable parent to avoid being on the hook twice. If you want to sign the lease agreement on the spot, make sure you have two forms of identification and two checks. Areas with high demand don’t offer the luxury of coming back later to fill out paperwork.
The reality is that moving out as a first-time renter is a fascinating yet stressful and exhausting process for many people. Regardless of who you are, preparation is crucial when renting a house for the first time to avoid common mistakes like taking a mortgage immediately after you leave your parents’ house. If you are about to join the millions of Americans looking for a place to call home, you must research beforehand to prevent the pitfalls of renting a house for the first time.
Roommates And Pets
You may be renting your first home with a few friends. If you’re planning on moving in with roommates, all applicants are required to fill out an application and be listed on the rental agreement. Some landlords may have strict conditions about the number of people living in a house. Failing to abide by these requirements can provide grounds for eviction or other repercussions. It is also for your benefit that all tenants be listed in the rental agreement in order to protect yourself. A rental agreement is a legal contract, helping in situations where people might attempt to bail out on their contract. Failing to list tenants will leave you to bear the weight of the full rental amount if someone unexpectedly leaves or does not pay their portion of the rent.
Be sure to ask questions and inform your landlord if you plan on bringing a pet into their property. Many landlords do not allow pets, while others require a pet deposit to be paid prior to moving in. At many properties, you may even find restrictions placed on the types of pets allowed.
Northern Colorado Rental Property Management
These are some of the crucial things to know before renting a house since not having all the requirements or information can deter the rental application process. Consulting a property management company goes a long way in ensuring you get started with everything at your fingertips to successfully get through the process and move in without any deterrents. If you adhere to these guidelines, you are guaranteed a great start that is smooth and less stressful. Contact us today at All Properties Service, Inc. and schedule an appointment with the property experts for more information.