If you are looking for a home to rent for the first time, you should keep a number of factors in mind when making your decision. While you aren’t buying a home (you are renting one instead), choosing a home to rent is an important decision. So what factors should you take into consideration?
Costs: Obviously, you are looking for homes for rent that you can afford. Usually, you pay more to rent a home than to rent an apartment. You are paying for more space and you are paying for privacy. Instead of sharing a building with a tenant living upstairs, you or your family are the only occupants. When it comes to estimating your rental budget, be sure to leave a little bit of wiggle room. Remember, you have other monthly expenses and you don’t want to end up living paycheck to paycheck when possible.
Utility Costs: If you are relocating from one home to another, the utility costs might be similar to what you have been paying. However, if you are relocating from a small apartment to a larger home for rent, it is important to keep the increase in utility costs in mind. This is particularly important with heating, cooling, and electricity. If you ask, you might be able to get this information from the previous renters (how much on average they pay for heating, air conditioning, and electricity). Don’t find out too late that you can’t afford to heat, cool, and provide power to the extra space in your new home for rent.
Repairs: In most cases, a home for rent is just like an apartment for rent. Typically, the only difference is that you are renting an entire house and not just an apartment. That means the landlord should be responsible for all repairs and maintenance. However, it is important to verify this information beforehand. As for seasonal care, it is often your responsibility because you are renting the home and the property that comes along with it. This means you will usually be responsible for the lawn mowing and snow removal.
Kids and Pets: As with traditional apartment rentals, it is common to find restrictions on both children and animals. Most times, the only restriction with children is the landlord wants to ensure there is enough room for everyone to safely live on the property. You should be okay with children in a home rental. Pets might be another story. To protect their investment, many landlords prohibit pets or make tenants pay extra fees. Returning back to the children, it is also a wise decision to examine your wants and needs. Do you want a home rental that comes with a yard for your children to play? Is the nearby school district good? Is there a high or low crime rate?
Rent to Own: A number of home rentals in the United States are more than just homes for rent; they are classified as rent to own homes. Instead of making a traditional security deposit, you make a large down payment. Then, you make monthly rental payments. All or a percentage of your monthly rent is going towards paying for the home. You should have a contact that states you will “buy” the home on X date. At this time, the remaining balance of the for sale price typically needs to be acquired as a home loan. It is your decision if you want to enter in to a rent to own home agreement, but be sure to get a legal contact that protects your interests.
These are all factors you should take into consideration when looking to find a home to rent. Good luck!