Don't Sign a Lease Without Considering These Renting Tips

There are many reasons to choose to rent over buying a home. Renting may offer more flexibility and fewer maintenance responsibilities, and it doesn’t require a hefty down payment.

Before you choose an apartment or a house you want to rent, there are certain things you should consider. We’ve included some of the best items to consider when choosing a rental that will make a great home for you or your family.

Renting Tips infographic

1. Consider your options

When choosing a rental, you don’t need to immediately go with the first option you find. Instead, sleep on the decision and do some research before applying. Consider factors such as:

  • Location - Is the rental in a safe neighborhood? Is it located close to your work or good schools? How far will you have to travel for necessities?
  • Price - How does the rental price compare to other apartments or homes in the area? Will your rent include utilities or additional fees? Does the rent amount fit in your budget?

Needs - If you have a pet, do they allow pets in the rental? Does it offer space for your vehicle(s)?

You should also make sure that the apartment or house is available on the date you need it. You don’t want to be stuck without a place to live, even if it’s only for a couple of days.

2. Evaluate the rental and landlord

When renting a house or apartment, you shouldn’t assume that what you see is what you will get. A beautiful model unit may hide a complex-wide bug problem, noise problems, or an unresponsive maintenance team. The landlord or management company may be rude, uncooperative, or invasive. Looking up reviews or getting referrals from past or current tenants is a great way to understand what the rental is really like. You should also inspect the rental before signing the lease to look for any damages or issues.

3. Stick to your budget

If you are a first-time apartment or house renter, you may be tempted to choose a place that doesn’t necessarily align with your budget. Just remember that the monthly rental fee is only part of your expenses. You’ll likely need to cover costs such as utilities, internet, and additional bills such as renters’ insurance.

If the rental cost is out of your budget, try negotiating with the landlord. You may be able to get a deal such as a free month of rent, a move-in bonus, waived application costs, or discounts for long-term leases.

4. Know what you’re agreeing to

When you get the lease, carefully read through it to see what’s included. You may find conditions that you disagree with, such as:

  • Being held responsible for all repair costs
  • Restrictions on pets or guests
  • Limits on alterations, such as painting
  • Giving the landlord access to the residence at any time
  • Large financial penalties for breaking the lease

You should also note the rules regarding your security deposit and move-out requirements to ensure you can end the relationship on a positive note.

5. Follow the lease requirements

It’s important to comply with the renting requirements stated in the lease. Keep up with payments and requests for repairs. Stay respectful of your neighbors. Only keep pets in the residence if you are approved to. And above all, maintain open, respectful communication with your landlord to mitigate any conflicts that may arise.

If you follow these tips, you can have a wonderful rental experience in a home you love. For more advice on your finances and life decisions, visit the School of ACE blog.