After making the decision to rent a home, you will come to realize that there are tons of different things to consider when choosing where you want to live. From features of the house itself to the conveniences your property manager or landlord gives you, every aspect of your future living situation is important to think about.
The first things to think about as a prospective renter are the more obvious ones:
- Number of Bedrooms/Bathrooms
- Square Feet
- Rent Price
- Amenities such as yard space, garage, patio, etc.
- Location, including distance to city center, nearby schools, safety of the neighborhood
Make a list of everything that you find essential in a home and a list of everything that’s desirable. These will be your reference while looking at different listings online. Filtering by price and number of bedrooms is easy and gives you a starting point to begin searching for the things on your list. Using the price filter guarantees your budget won’t be stretched too thin by your wish list.
Now decide where you want your home to be. Are you trying to keep your commute under 30 minutes? Are you looking for your kids to go to a well-rated school? If you've lived in a city for a few years you probably already know what side of town you would like to live on, but if you're moving somewhere new, research different parts of down. In addition to safety and schools, consider stores and activities nearby. Don’t deter yourself from enjoying life by making your favorite parts of it inconvenient.
After deciding how much space you need, what price you need it at, and where you want it to be, let your wants guide your decision. One house may have a big patio in the backyard, while another has a two-car garage. These kinds of amenities are more subjective, non-essential, and make choosing a house more enjoyable. Meet your needs, then look for the more exciting aspects of potential homes.
Ease of Payment and Requests
Some less obvious things to consider when renting is how easy is it going to be for you to pay your rent, submit a maintenance request, or inquire about something concerning the house?
A nice aspect of renting through a property management company is that they generally make things like this easy. Paying can be done multiple ways, at Conrex you can pay cash at the office, send a check, or pay online. Some private landlords may have conveniences like this, but many only accept a check or money order in the mail.
Inquire about how maintenance requests are handled. Maintenance, while ideally infrequent, is not uncommon. Ask about standards for making requests and timelines of their fulfillment. Will you have a property manager to contact, an online maintenance request system, or do you have to call the landlord and hope he can come out and fix it in a timely manner? Understanding these things upfront saves headaches later.
Quality of the Property
After narrowing down your search, tour the house. Pictures are an insight, tours are an experience. Some owners or management companies will schedule a viewing when they can get someone out to the property to look at it with you, and some property management companies have self-showing options that let you go check out a house on your own time.
Touring gives certainty of the quality of the home. Take your time to inspect every aspect of the property and inquire about things you have questions about. Make note of things that the landlord could easily fix before move in. This is doubly important if renting from a private owner, as they sometimes lack uniform standards in property condition and maintenance responses.
Ultimately, the decision to pull the trigger and sign a lease for a property is yours to make. We've all fallen in love with a house before, maybe even from the first glance on the website it was listed on. Try to get what you want, what you need, and the best tenant experience possible. Good luck!