If you're like many people, you may have heard horror stories from both tenants and landlords about what can go wrong concerning rental properties. Perhaps you've even been burned yourself as a renter and want to avoid unpleasant situations in the first place, or maybe you're new to the renting game and want to make sure you to steer clear of the pitfalls you've heard others mention. Fortunately, strategies exist for making the best of a rental situation. Following are five things every prospective renter should do before he or she makes a financial commitment to an apartment or home.
Visit the Neighborhood During the Evening and Weekend
Most available rentals are shown during the day during normal business hours, particularly those that are handled by a property management company. Before you sign on the dotted line, visit the neighborhood during the evening and on the weekend to get a sense of its character during the off hours. If you'll be commuting to work or school, drive that route during your usual hours to get an idea of what your daily routine will entail. If the rental market is extremely tight in your area, you may not have the luxury of investigating the neighborhood further after the initial showing, so check it out before your scheduled appointment to see the apartment or home.
Being passed over in favor of another tenant for a place that seems perfect for you is highly disappointing, but you can reduce the possibility of that happening with a few preactive precautions. For instance, be prepared to rent the place on the spot if it's passed your personal litmus tests by having written references from past landlords on hand, proof of employment or school attendance, and a copy of your credit report.
Purchase Renters Insurance
Not only will renters insurance make you more appealing to potential landlords, it will protect you in the event of personal property losses due to natural disasters, theft, injuries to visitors to your rented home, and even in the event that personal items are damaged or destroyed by your own carelessness. Renters insurance is usually fairly inexpensive if it's purchased as an add-on to your vehicle insurance policy, and you can further reduce costs if you've got safety measures in place such as fire extinguishers and an alarm system.
Don't hesitate to reach out to your local residential listing agent for more advice on finding residential real estate for rent.