Whether you’re looking for your first home, relocating, or just need a place to stay in a pinch, renting a home is a big decision. You must consider the location of the property, the condition, the proximity to work/school, the cost of rent and much more. Although renting a home gives you a little more freedom than buying a house, it can also come with its own set of restrictions and rules. If you’re about to start the house hunting adventure, take these 5 tips into consideration before you sign on the dotted line.
Set Your Budget
Before you go driving around looking for “For Rent” signs, you should take a serious look at your finances to determine what sort of rent payment you can afford each month. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a house that is way beyond your budget. To prevent this heartbreak, take an evening to use helpful calculators like HelloWallet or Mint to get a visual of your income and expenses. This way, you’ll know how to start your rental home search. For most renters, your rent should not be more than 30% of what you’re bringing home as income each month. But remember, it’s not just rent you’ll be paying. Take utilities, moving costs, and other extras like parking or storage (if applicable) before you set a strict price point.
Make A List Of Needs Vs. Wants
Of course it would be great to find a home with everything you want PLUS everything you need, but more often than not finding a rental home comes down to compromise. Make a list of things you need in a home (4 bedrooms, one story, safe area) vs. the things that would be nice to have (a pool, gourmet kitchen, fenced in backyard) Be prepared to make sacrifices to make everyone happy. Would you be willing to have a slightly smaller kitchen if it meant getting a pool? Would you settle for a smaller master bathroom if it meant having an incredible backyard? Your home is a major part of your life, so you should be selective, but not so picky that you can’t find anything.
Think About Location
Looking at properties on map won’t give you a realistic picture about what the commute will be like from home to work, home to the grocery store, or home to school. Drive to the home at different times of the day and on both the weekends and weekdays to get an idea of what your daily commute would look like. Look into innovative apps and websites allow you to search for properties based on commute times to make the process easier. Also factor in things the condition of the neighborhood, the crime rate, the school district, etc. Think carefully about what you like to do in your free time and make sure your rental makes it easy and convenient to get there. Is walkability important to you? What about proximity to public transportation? Take all of these things into consideration to make sure your rental fits in with your lifestyle.
Decide On Details
Once you know how much you want to pay, what features are important to you and where you want to be, have a clear idea about the type of rental you’re looking for. Are you only looking at houses or are apartments an option too? Are you thinking long or short term? These things will help narrow down the sea of rental options to a short list of properties that work best for your budget and lifestyle.
Read Carefully. And Then Read Carefully Again
Renting a property is a big financial step that involves a lot of small details, rules, and expectations. When you sit down to sign your lease, make sure you read the fine print and ask any questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if something doesn’t make sense, and you should never feel pressured (by the landlord or a real estate agent) to sign something you’re not ready for. The landlord will probably do a background check and require a deposit, so make sure you put some wiggle room in the budget to pay for these and other small pop-up fees towards the end of the transaction.
Renting a home doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Whether you’re doing it solo or working with a realtor, being as educated as possible about the process and the local market will help you feel confident in your decisions and make finding the perfect rental a piece of cake.
Benefit National Property Management | Temecula