Renting a home can be a difficult thing to do. One could argue that renting is less commitment then buying but it often entails a lot of the same considerations. It is still expensive to pick up your things and move from home to home whether you are renting or buying.
While a home owner will potentially be able to change things about their home that they do not like, a renter is much more limited when it comes to making renovations. Even very simple changes such as paint, or putting up picture hangers often require the landlords consent and that the tenant will have to incur the expense of undoing the changes before they move.
While a renter doesn't have to worry about closing costs they do often have to put down a deposit. Though the land lord is supposed to give that money back when a tenant leaves there is no certainty that he will. Therefore, tenants need to use great care in finding a rental home and think ahead to make sure that not only will the home fit their needs today, but also into the future.
First, a tenant should narrow down the neighborhood that he or she is looking to live in just as he or she would for buying a normal house. Is it a safe neighborhood? Does it have the things they are looking for in a neighborhood? What is the traffic pattern like? Potential tenants can search for rental units online, in local papers and they can also use a realtor.
Tenants should make a list of what they are looking for in a home. They should also think beforehand about safety features in a home. Are they concerned about potential environmental hazards? Consulting with a realtor first may help a tenant find out about what to look for if they do not already know.
A tenant can ask the landlord to disclose any potential health hazards. The law varies in different states as to what a landlord has to disclose. Many landlords will make standard in their leases language to absolve the landlord of responsibilities arising from environmental hazards. Potential tenants should know that they have the ability to negotiate the terms of their lease and if they would like to make their lease conditional on inspecting the property themselves they may do so, providing the landlord agrees.
Besides strictly environmental concerns, a tenant should also be concerned about energy efficiency. A lot of rental units have not been recently renovated and do not have extra insulation or energy efficient windows or appliances. The result can be thousands of dollars a year more in overall living expenses.
You can do a quick inspection yourself by knocking on outer walls and looking at the windows to see how energy efficient they are. You can inquire about the type of heating system. You can also call the utility companies and find out how much energy this property has used in the past. Make sure to find out first from the landlord whether the unit was occupied during the time you are inquiring about. Also check out any water leaks. A leaky pipe can also costs hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Among other things these simple steps will help you in renting a home. Good luck in your endeavors and do not sell yourself short. You deserve a good place to live.
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