There are many reasons why people choose to rent. For some, it’s because they may not have decided if they want to settle in a particular area yet. For others, they may be saving up for the down payment on a home. Still, others simply prefer to rent and avoid some of the hassles of homeownership.
Whatever your reasons for renting, you should consider a few things before signing a lease.
First, ask yourself if this is the neighborhood you wish to live in. Are there amenities nearby, such as groceries, gas, and other essentials? Is there a park or additional public recreation space in the area? Is there public transportation nearby if you need it? And, if you have children, how are the schools?
You will want to look into local crime statistics if they’re available and drive around the neighborhood to see if it’s well-kept. People who take pride in the appearance of their community—even if they’re renting—tend to make better neighbors.
What’s life without a bit of paperwork?
As a prospective tenant, you’ll be expected to produce valid identification and have some references ready. Don’t be surprised if a background check and credit check are required. In fact, you should expect it. Many first-time renters aren’t prepared for this, so it’s best to be aware.
Other crucial documents to understand are the lease and the rental inspection report.
You’ll want to examine the lease to make sure everyone understands everyone else’s obligations. For example, you’ll not only want to make a note of the starting rent and security deposits but also any additional cleaning and repair fees. In addition, it would help if you also understood how trash removal, yard care, snow removal, and parking work. Other things to look for in a lease include:
A lease is not a boilerplate document you sign without reading. There is often vital information within the lease that can significantly impact how well you’d enjoy living on that property.
When landlords prepare to show prospective tenants a property they’re considering, they often inspect the unit and document their findings in a move-in rental inspection report. This outlines any repairs needed, any damage left behind by previous tenants, and notes on recent upgrades or repairs. Go over this document with the landlord and request a copy for your records. If the landlord does not have this document ready, insist on getting some kind of written record about the state of the property before you move in. You’ll want this for your protection when you eventually move out.
Things to look for when going through the prospective rental property and documenting or checking items for the rental inspection include:
Not every house you view will be a good fit, but some issues will be more severe than others. If you spot any of these red flags, take heed and consider looking elsewhere.
Charlotte, North Carolina, is the perfect place to live whether you’re a working professional, raising a family, or looking to retire. It’s an affordable city with a lot to offer.