If you’ve ever rented before, you’re probably well aware of the difficulties that rent-seekers face when trying to find a rental. Chilling tales of devious landlords swindling renters into years-long leases in apartments with hidden flaws abound, warning any naive would-be accommodation seekers: “beware”.
There are other pitfalls that should be avoided at all costs; apartments in high-crime areas can be problematic, much like apartments with bad neighbors or those managed by complacent or incompetent landlords. There is virtually no end to the cautionary stories and words of warning that experienced renters will share in hopes of helping others avoid the same fates that befell them.
If you’re new to renting, you likely have a cursory understanding of these pitfalls and the dangers that accompany them. What you might not have, however, is any idea of how to avoid them. After all, there are so many, ensuring that the process of finding a rental that meets all your prerequisites will be bound to be a difficult venture indeed.
To this end, we’ve put together some of the best words of advice experienced renters have to offer to their fresh-faced young counterparts. This article will encapsulate just about everything you’ll need to know in order to avoid the dangers of finding a good rental, and what you’ll need to do in order to keep it.
Finding a good rental
The first step in the process of finding and keeping a good rental is, of course, finding just such an apartment. Now, this isn’t as simple as it may seem at first glance; there’s a lot more to this process than just browsing the classifieds, finding a suitable place and signing a lease. If you want to avoid the pitfalls of renting, you’ve got to go the extra mile when finding a rental.
So what are these pitfalls, more exactly, and how can you avoid them? That’s what we’re here to tell you! In this section we’ll be going over the most common and dangerous pitfalls renters face when trying to find a rental, and in the next we’ll help you get a good grasp on how you can avoid losing it. There’s a lot to go over, so we won’t waste time with idle chatter; let’s get into it!
Know what you want
When searching for a rental, the most important thing to keep in mind is what you’re looking for in a rental. You need to know exactly what you want, what you don’t want, and what you’re willing to tolerate in order to get a good deal. It would be nice if we could all find an accommodation that suits all of our demands, but that’s rarely the case; if you’re going to find a place to live, you’re going to have to make at least a few compromises.
Once you come to terms with this fact and figured out what you’re willing to go without or learn to live with, you’ve got to figure out what you can’t compromise on. If you have a family, this might mean finding a rental in an area with low crime rates. For those without a motor vehicle, this could mean locating an apartment that is central in the city you’re moving to. Most importantly of all, you should know your budget and ability to manage your money accordingly.
Whatever your requirements may be, you’ll have a much better chance of finding a suitable accommodation that adequately meets your needs once you come to a conclusion on these details. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have to move on to the next important step: looking for a suitable rental.
Find a rental
Now that you know what your prerequisites are for a rental, you’re well on your way to finding a suitable rental. The obvious next step in your accommodation acquisition journey is finding a rental that suits your needs and your budget; but how will you go about this task, list of prerequisites in hand? Will you go it alone, or will you make use of the advantages that accompany hiring a real estate agent to do the job?
First and foremost, you’re going to need to research which areas are best suited to what you want from a rental, and what a rental must be in order to feel like home. There isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all area that meets each of your prerequisites for a rental and fits your budget, but with some hard work you should be able to find one that comes close to doing that.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and start your search for a rental. You’ll need to search everywhere: classifieds sites, newspaper ads, real estate agencies. You’re going to need to make calls, send emails and go check out apartments and homes in person. The search may be tough, but with persistence you’ll find something that suits you. If necessary, you can even contact a real estate agent specializing in rentals.
Read between the lines
It’s a well established fact that, when you’re selling something, it’s generally in your best interests to conceal any flaws or downsides to the product, service or property you’re trying to sell. While renting out a property is not technically selling, the same rule of thumb generally applies to properties being rented.
This isn’t to say that every landlord is a scheming deviant; quite the contrary, in fact! There are many landlords who do their best to treat their tenants fairly, to the best of their ability. Nevertheless, whether it be out of malignance or ignorance, there are often drawbacks to be found in rental properties that you won’t find listed in the advertisement. For this reason, it’s important to know where your rights end and your landlord’s rights begin.
Because of this, you’ll need to thoroughly inspect the rental to find anything that might prove problematic later on down the line. Whether they be shoddy construction, interior design flaws or sub-par furnishings, there’s likely to be something that you don’t like about the apartment, and it’s up to you to find it and decide whether or not it’s a dealbreaker. You’ll also want to have a chat with your prospective landlord, and ask any questions you may have.
Watch out for predatory leases
Once you find a place that fits the bill, you’re probably going to have to sign a lease that defines the terms of your arrangement. While this is an essential step, it’s also one of the most dangerous, as it represents an easy opportunity for predatory businesspeople to swindle you into a contract that isn’t in your best interests.
To avoid falling prey to such practices, it’s important to read over any documents that your potential landlord asks you to sign, doing careful research to ascertain whether or not the terms are fair to you. While combing through pages of obtuse and sometimes downright obfuscatory legal lingo, it’s sure to save you plenty of headaches in the future.
If you’ve got the funds or have any friends who work in the justice system, you could also get a legal professional to take a look at the documents and make sure they’re all above board and fair. This may prove a bit expensive and/or time consuming, but a legal professional is sure to give you a better idea of what your landlord’s intentions are.
Keeping your rental
Once you’ve found the closest thing to the perfect rental, you’re probably going to want to keep it. While this may seem like a simple affair, the possibility of losing your apartment to any one of a number of threats is bigger than you may realize. If you like the place, you’re going to have to do whatever you can to avoid losing your new rental.
First of all, you’re going to have to take a look at the terms stated in your lease, and make sure that you abide by all of them as closely as possible. This might mean refraining from taking pets, playing music late at night or smoking indoors, but whatever the rules are you should make sure you follow them as closely as possible.
If you’re planning on living in your new apartment over a long period of time, you’ll also want to make sure that your contract allows you to renew the lease once it expires. If possible, you might also want to try and find an apartment that is rent controlled, in order to avoid eviction due to unsustainable rent hikes.
When all is said and done, we think it’s clear that finding and keeping a good rental may be difficult, but it’s far from impossible. With a bit of hard work and some thorough research, you should be able to find a rental that suits your needs and your budget, providing you with a great place to live for as long as you choose to live there.
Speaking of finding property that suits your needs and budget, you might want to find a real estate agent in order to get the best deals possible on rental properties or even a permanent home. With the help of one of these real estate agents, you should be able to find a rental that suits your needs in no time flat. We wish you the best of luck in finding housing!
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