Whether you’re a first-timer or a pro, renting a home is a stressful situation. Many times, a rental agreement lasts for at least a year or longer, so you want to make sure you’re getting what you want and there are no surprises.
Before you sign on the dotted line, there are questions you should ask your future property manager. If you don’t then, you could end up paying more than you intend or have an unpleasant rental experience.
Don’t take the chance and ask these important questions. You could dodge a bullet or find the home of your dreams.
1. Renting a Home 101: What’s Included in Your Monthly Rental Payment?
Every month you pay rent to your landlord to live in your home, but it’s not as simple as that. Many first-time renters are caught off guard when they find out that they need to pay for water or electrical utilities. Isn’t that covered by your rent?
It depends on what’s in your lease. Some property managers cover the utilities, some pay a portion and others pay none at all. Ask your leasing agent what your rent covers and what you’re expected to pay for.
2. Does the Home Come with Appliances or Furniture?
Rental homes sometimes come with all the appliances and some come fully furnished. It’s important to ask before signing the lease. If it doesn’t, then you’re on the hook to buy your own appliances and that’s a significant expense.
It may come with some appliances such as a refrigerator and stove, but not a washer and dryer. Find out what you’ll need to take care of what you don’t.
It can be misleading as sometimes the home can be staged with appliances and furniture to make it more appealing, but they don’t come with the house.
3. What Maintenance Does the Lease Cover?
It’s easy to assume the property manager/owner covers any major emergency issues such as heating or AC failure, etc., but there’s more to maintenance than that. Do you have to mow the lawn or take care of landscaping?
Does the landlord pay for minor repairs such as a leaky sink, burnt lightbulbs, etc.? If you must maintain the lawn, you’ll need a lawnmower. That costs money.
Also, ask about the timeliness of emergency repairs. If it’s the dead of winter and your heater goes out, then you can’t wait a week for him to fix it. Make sure a timeframe is included in the lease.
4. What Can I Do to the Home?
Your rental home comes ready to move in, but you may want to customize it. You may want to paint the walls, update some appliances, etc. This can make it feel more like your home, but it’s not your home.
The lease should outline what changes you can do to the home. Some landlords allow you to paint the walls and others don’t. They may allow it but ask that you paint it the original color when you leave.
5. How is the Neighborhood?
The rent covers the house, but don’t forget about where you live. If you have children, what schools do they go to and are they good schools? Is there a grocery store nearby or easy access to highways or interstates?
Depending on your situation, there are all very important questions to ask when renting a home.
The Home of Your Dreams Awaits
Renting a home isn’t easy, but by asking the right questions you can make sure there aren’t any surprises. Once you sign on the dotted line, your options are limited to get as much information up front.
If you want to learn more about renting or buying a home, then please explore our site.