Finding Your New Home | A Rental Property Search Checklist
Renting property comes with many benefits. From financial flexibility and low maintenance costs to low market risks, the list of why so many people choose to rent instead of buy is surprisingly long. If you’re currently looking for a rental property, don’t drive through one more neighborhood or check one more website without consulting this list.
About The Area
Before you even step through the front door of your potential new rental home, there are things about the area you should consider first. A property management company is a good source of information on this topic.
How accessible is it?– Think about coming and going from this home multiple times a day. What is the parking situation? Will there be extra fees for more than one or two cars? What’s the traffic like during rush hour or in the mornings when everyone is trying to get their kids to school? If the property is located in a region where it snows, how easy will it be to come and go when the driveway and sidewalks are icy?
How Close Is It To Where You Need To Be?– The house may be beautiful and perfectly priced, but if it takes you an hour to get to work or is located in a less than desirable school district, is it worth it? How close are the nearest grocery stores and medical offices? If it’s a little further from work than you’d hope, is public transportation an option? You’re not just committing to the house; you’re committing to the community. So make sure it makes sense for your lifestyle.
What’s In Store For The Area?– If you’ve fallen in love with a property because it’s tucked away from major developments and crowds, make sure it stays that way. Ask if there are plans for big developments in the pipeline or anything that could disturb your peaceful, construction-free zone.
How Are The Neighbors?– Even though you’re renting, you probably have plans to be in this house for at least a year. A year is a really long time to be living next to neighbors with a dog that barks non-stop or plays loud music until 2 am. Pay the neighbors a visit and get an idea about who they are. You may not end up being best friends with them, but as long as you can tolerate each other, you should be able to live peacefully. A visit to the neighbors will also give you inside info about the property and the area that the landlord may “forget” to tell you.
About The Exterior
If the community seems like it’d be a good fit for your family, it’s time to take a thorough look at the individual property. But before you walk through the front door, consider these things about the exterior of the property
The Yard– The first thing you’ll notice about the home is the yard. And while an unkempt yard isn’t a deal breaker, you should still pay attention. Is it big enough for you to enjoy? Is it too much to take care of? Who is responsible for yard maintenance? What is the sprinkler situation? What about bugs? The yard plays a big role in the first impression of the home, so make sure it’s something you’re willing to take on.
The Structure– Some of the most expensive (and annoying) repairs involve the exterior of the home. Things like the roof, the walls, windows, and doors should be checked carefully for stability. Even if it’s not your job to repair a leaky roof, it’s still your family that is inconvenienced if there is one. Things like a new paint job on the outside or some upgrades to outdoor lighting are small issues that can be done rather quickly, but make sure the big issues are taken care of before you commit
And The Inside
If the community is great and the outside of the home meets your expectations, it’s time to do a thorough walkthrough of the interior. Here are some things you should be on the look out for?
Walls, floors and overall vibe– If you notice right away that the floors and walls aren’t up to par, that’s your first red flag. There’s a difference between hating the carpet choice and noticing that all of the wood floors are warped. Some things can be easy to replace; others may be signs of costly work to come.
Lights and Plumbing– Again, little things like running toilets or burnt out lights can be easy and inexpensive to fix (usually by your landlord) and shouldn’t be cause for alarm. However, if you notice loose wires or electrical work that looks like it wasn’t done by a professional, be careful. When it comes to water, turn on the faucets and check out the water pressure. Check for leaks and signs of water damage throughout the home
Kitchen Appliances– It could be awkward, but open up the fridge. How does it smell? You don’t want to move into a house with a semi-working fridge. Don’t feel weird about checking other appliances too; stove, microwave, oven, etc. The kitchen is one of the most commonly used rooms in the home, and it needs to be in working order and be able to keep up with the demands of your family and lifestyle
The High-Tech Check– In a world where we’re constantly plugged in, making sure the rental property can properly handle all of the technology your family uses is a must. Where are the outlets? How many are there? Does the home have Wi-Fi and how strong is the signal? If you’re a family of TV watchers, is there a cable hook up in each room?
Laundry– If you don’t plan on making weekly trips to the Laundromat, having laundry facilities in the home is critical. If the landlord doesn’t provide a washer and dryer, make sure there are at least the proper hookups so you can bring your own.
So the area is great, and the inside and outside of the home are in good shape too. Time to sign the lease? Not quite yet. Make sure you’re crystal clear on the financial expectations so that there are no misunderstandings when it comes to payment:
- How much is the rent? When is it due?
- Are there other fees you’re responsible for?
- What are the details of the deposit?
- How long is the lease agreement? When can the landlord up the rent? And by how much?
- Is there a property management company involved? (Benefit National Property Management is a popular choice in the Murrieta and Lake Elsinore areas!)
Although one of the perks of renting is not having to commit to an area or home for the long-term, you still want to live in a place that is safe, clean, and comfortable. Make sure you ask about how much leeway you have when it comes to decorating the home, so you know how much wiggle room you have to make it feel like home. If the house you have your eye on passes this inspection, chances are you’ve found a good one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request to see how something works in the home. After all, whether you’re in this property for six months or 6 years, it’s your home, and you want to make sure it’s a place you’re excited about.
Benefit National Property Management Has A Vast Inventory Of Rental Homes In The Murrieta & Temecula Area. For A List Of Inventory Visit benefitnational.com