Renting a home is often as much a rollercoaster ride as an investment. Mistakes can be costly and make your expenses go up. But with some planning and due diligence, you can avoid the most common mistakes that renters make when looking for a rental home. Here’s a look at the eight mistakes to avoid when searching for your next house or apartment.
1. Not Knowing Your Credit Score
Your credit score is the key to getting approved for a rental home mortgage or even renting without having to pay cash upfront. Few people think to check their credit score before renting, but it can make a big difference in their rental experience.
2. Not Checking Apartments for Repairs
Most apartment complexes have a list of things that typically need to be fixed for the apartment to be safe for an applicant. Make sure you know these maintenance issues before signing the lease.
3. Not Learning the Landlord’s Policies in Advance
If you haven’t read the lease agreement and talked to the landlord about how they run the property, you may be surprised when a bill comes out that you were not expecting. Make sure to ask all of your questions before signing an application.
4. Not Checking with Neighbors/Landlords/Managers
The best way to find out problems with a home is to ask your neighbors and previous renters what they think. You can also do property and previous renter checks from the city to see if it has ever been a concern.
5. Not Considering the Price of Rent
People often get surprised by the cost of rent at their first apartment. It’s great to have a place to live, but be careful that you don’t buy one too quickly. There are always deals to be had when looking for your ideal home, and you may find that renting is less expensive than buying.
6. Not Considering Lease Length
Many people don’t realize the lease length they are signing when renting. The longer the lease, the more features you get from the landlord. Before you move in, ask all your questions about lease length, return policy, and deposit requirements.
7. Not Getting the Landlord’s Contact Information
The number one thing you want to look for when renting a property is the landlord’s contact information. In many cases, it is easier to make common contact with a landlord than with a property manager. Make it easy on yourself and write down all of your essential details in case you have any problems down the road.
8. Not Checking for Rental History
Most properties you find online or in the classifieds have an online rental history. If a property has had multiple complaints about bed bugs, there could be a problem before moving in. Your best bet is always to check your potential rental or home for previous issues before committing to a lease.
As a renter, it is up to you to know your rights and responsibilities when finding and renting an apartment. By doing your research, you can avoid the most costly mistakes when looking for a rental house.