Are you and your partner looking for a home for rent in Northern Colorado?
No matter if it’s your first rental home together or you’ve been married for 10 years, renting a home as a couple is an exciting step that can further your relationship and help you save on rent. But it can also come with stress as you make a major decision.
Taking time to plan, communicate, and get on the same page can create a smoother process to get you into a great rental property.
Here are seven tips for renting a home as a couple:
Make a Wishlist Together
Before you start your hunt for a rental home, make a list of everything you want in a property.
Start with the basics of the size and how many bedrooms. You can even narrow it down to a certain neighborhood or part of town based on your jobs or where you like to spend your time.
Think of other characteristics you want in your rental home, such as a yard, garage, or offsite parking. These are your must-haves.
Next, consider the style of the home you want to rent together.
Do you prefer a historical home or something newer? Do you want an open floor plan or divided rooms? Do you want a home with natural light, or do you prefer something cozier?
Then, make a list of the wants. These are things that would be nice to have, but that won’t break the deal.
Wants could be items like extra space for a hobby, a fenced-in yard, a porch, an updated kitchen, a walkable neighborhood, and a number of other qualities.
Remember that your wish list as a couple may be different than your own personal wish list, but work together to create a list of needs and wants you can both agree on.
Getting on the same page with your wish list puts you on the right path for a smoother rental process. When you and your partner have the same vision about the type of house you want to rent, you can quickly take some properties out of consideration and narrow your search.
Set a Budget Together
One of the biggest qualities of a potential rental home is the cost. Before you start looking for a rental property, have an open conversation as a couple about money to establish a realistic budget.
Individually, you both might have your own ideas of how much you want to pay for rent. Make sure you are aligned with that budget.
Consider your monthly income, both individually and as a couple. Look at your bank accounts, both individual and shared, to see how much you can afford to put down as a deposit and how much you can pay for rent.
Some couples pay rent from a shared bank account while others each contribute from their own accounts. You may decide to split the rent evenly or have one partner pay a larger share.
Aside from the deposit and monthly rent, there are also utility costs to consider. Don’t set your maximum budget without considering your other monthly expenses.
You’ll also want to consider the cost of moving and any new furniture, appliances, or décor you may want to purchase.
Review Your Credit Scores and Backgrounds
Before accepting your rental application, the property management company will check your credit scores and criminal background.
As a couple, go over your credit scores and financial history so you are aware of any issues that may prevent you from getting the rental home you want. If one or both of you have a low credit score, you may need to try to raise it or find a co-signer to increase your chances of getting the rental home.
Other potential issues could be if one or both of you has a history of not paying rent on time or an employment history with lots of gaps.
Being honest about your credit scores and financial histories helps you get on the same page and have a realistic view of what type of rental home you can afford and be approved for.
Search and Tour Potential Rentals Together
You’re in the rental process as a couple, so be sure to see potential homes as a couple. You may want to search for house rentals individually or together, both online and in-person by walking around the neighborhood.
No matter how you find the properties, make sure you tour potential homes together so you can both get an idea of the home and neighborhood to see if it will be a good fit.
Looking at photos of homes for rent online is one thing, but seeing it in person and walking through the space gives you a much more accurate feel of the property and all it has to offer.
Touring places together lets you both form your own opinions instead of being influenced by what the other person thinks.
Plus, you have two sets of eyes to make sure the home would be a good fit. Afterward, you can share your thoughts and what you liked and didn’t like about the home.
If your schedules make it impossible to tour potential rental homes together, at the very least have your partner include you on a video call so you can tour the home virtually and get a feel of the layout and features.
When touring potential rental homes, be sure to walk or drive around the neighborhood to get the full picture.
Look for the nearest grocery store, walking path, and even drive your commute to work to get a feel of what it would be like to live there.
Choose a Point of Contact for the Landlord
As you are looking for apartments, it can be helpful to have just one of you be in contact with any potential landlords.
You can divide potential properties up between the two of you and have one person be in charge of scheduling and communicating for each property to simplify and streamline the process.
This can be especially helpful if you are renting in a competitive market where you need to move quickly and can’t get hung up on missed calls and poor communication.
Having a single point of contact continues after you have chosen a rental home.
You may both be named on the lease, but choose one person to be the main point of contact for the landlord or property management company. This is the person who will get the first call for any updates and maintenance issues.
Having a single point of contact creates smoother communication with the landlord and reduces the chance of messages getting lost between the cracks.
Be Willing to Compromise
Renting a home as a couple is an exciting step, but it’s different from renting a property on your own.
You will likely have to compromise on exactly what you want to find a place that works for both of you and matches your style and wish list. There are some things you may not be willing to compromise on, such as location, price, or a must-have feature.
But understand that your partner also likely has things they aren’t willing to compromise on. Look for a property that checks the most important boxes and understand that you may have to give up some other features to get a place that works for both of you.
As you compromise, aim for open communication. You don’t want to hold back an honest thought and have it lead to resentment later.
Renting a home together can be stressful, but focus on communicating clearly and thinking about your partner to help the process go more smoothly.
Make a Decision Together
After going through the entire process of searching for a rental home, be sure to make the final decision together.
Depending on the timeline of the rental market, you may have some time to think about each place you’ve seen before completing an application.
Or you may have to decide quickly. Whatever the timetable, think through the pros and cons of each rental house and how it matches your wish list and will impact your lifestyle.
Many couples find it helpful to make a list of their top three properties individually and then compare those lists together.
You may find you both have a favorite rental property. If not, you can talk about your reasoning and decide together.
When making a decision, be open and honest and don’t let one person steamroll the conversation. Your rental home is important to both of you, so think clearly and work together to decide.
Renting a home as a couple is an exciting step in a relationship. These seven tips can help you find a great rental home that meets your needs and helps you grow as a couple.