Ah, that sense of freedom when you get your own place. Renting can be a long process but if you have a checklist, it will make things go smoother.
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself before signing a lease contract:
- What part of town is best for me?
- Commute time vs inner city higher rent
- What am I close to? Groceries, Entertainment, Restaurants, Schools?
- How much rent can I afford or will I need a roommate? Your budget should include:
- Personal Expenses: cell phone, memberships, car payments/insurance
- What is the annual rental increase within the area? Check out your local www.har.com and www.zillow.com listings for average costs.
- Is the annual increase negotiable?
- What comes with the complex or home?
- Trash Service
- Pest Control
- Parking – Guest and Personal
- Property and Home Maintenance
- Security Officer or Surveillance Cameras
- Referral Bonus
- Background Checks / Good credit
- What is the application fee and security/pet deposit?
- Your credit score has an impact on these fees – the minimum acceptance score is 620, anything lower is considered high risk and applicants are often denied
- Refer to Understanding Your Credit Score
- Are any of the fees refundable upon move out?
Find what’s important to you in a rental; this can help minimize the stress when looking. Most people rent short term while saving for a big purchase. But, there are those who would rather rent long term with the guarantee of the apartment or rental home amenities. With this check list and the help of a detailed budget, you can find a great space that meets all of your needs.