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If you are deciding to rent, do thorough research. In the last twenty-plus years, I rented a very nice condo and two apartments before buying a home. I miss being a homeowner due to the investment aspect of owning vs. renting. In the last six years of renting, I can provide some valuable tips. I know now that a great landlord is a major factor in providing the best rental experience.
Renting Tips – Part 1
- Check reviews of the property if available and reach out to the reviewer with questions if possible.
- Who handles the management of the property? a private owner? or a property management company? If they own or manage other properties check those properties as well. This is a good indicator of how they function as a landlord.
- Do they require a background check required with the credit application? This is a safety factor when renting any property with multiple tenants. How long is the lease? Does the landlord offer month to month?
- Visit the property, pictures are nice, however, seeing the property in person allows for any questions you may have about the property.
- If it is a building with a shared entrance, check the entry and exit points. Does the building have secured doors? by key? or keypad? Are there security cameras? If a private entry, ask if you can install a security system?
Renting Tip -Part 2
- What is the condition of the entry and exit points? Does it feel inviting upon entry? Are the floors clean and vacuumed? If carpet, is it clean and updated?
- Is there a laundry room in a building? If no laundry room, where are the washer and dryer located? Are there enough units for the number of apartments on the floor? Who maintains washer and dryer? If they are not in the apartment, can you purchase and install them? If a private unit, is there a washer and dryer hookup? Can you purchase and install? Who is responsible for maintaining? Where is the closest laundromat?
- Does the floor have fire alarms visible? Are the exits visible? Is lighting functioning on the floor?
- Where do tenants discard trash? in a trash room? or trash chute? Where are trash dumpsters located outside?
- Are there issues with pests in the building? Ask about exterminating for the property? How often? Are tenants notified prior to treatment?
Renting Tips – Part 3
- Are air conditioners in the property, ask about maintenance? filters? cleaning? and who is responsible?
- Check if the unit has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors?
- If there is a maintenance issue, how quickly is the turnaround for responding? Are tenants informed when maintenance is coming in? Does maintenance leave a note for tenants?
- What is the preferred method for paying rent? personal check? cashier’s check? Is online payment available?
- Do tenants have assigned parking per unit? Is there a monthly fee for covered parking? where do visitors park? Is there handicap parking if needed?
Renting Tips – Part 4
- Notice by tenants required to move out? 60 days? or 90 days? If more than 60 days negotiate 60 days on lease immediately.
- If smoking is an issue, check if the property is a no smoking building. This can be an irritant for those who do not smoke.
- Ask what is the best number and email address to contact management?
- Ask what utilities are tenants responsible for each month? Are there flat fees for certain utilities each month?
- Is painting permitted by the tenant? Is the property pet-friendly?
Websites for Rental Information
Some of the sites I used for researching properties for rent are Apartments.com and Zillow.com. The best way to check the accuracy of listings is to call or email the contact. Also, keep in mind what you can do as a renter?
Although we are in the midst of a pandemic, I was able to find a moving company. There are plenty of references for moving companies to use for a move. Check the references. Plan to budget a deposit plus the full cost of the move. It is a cost-saving if you can move out and move in on the same day.
My go-to for packing supplies is Home Depot, they offer free pick-up and delivery of packaging supplies. This will be my fourth move in the last ten years. The best advice for preparing for a move is to purge all the items you are no longer using.