Renting guide: Tips for getting the best deal!
Finding the perfect place to rent may be a challenging task, as no one wants to move from one place to another endlessly. What is more? The rental market appears to heat up as more and more people choose renting instead of buying a place of their own.
Irrespective of the reasons you too chose to rent a place, a fact is certain – you need to be aware of several factors in order to make the best decision. Thus, check out this article to see some of the tips that can actually make your life a lot easier.
An eye-opening clue can make a great deal when everything appears to be perfect. Thus, you need to roll up your sleeves and be prepared to research the market before getting into in blindly.
Here are some useful tips and tricks that should guide your search!
Renting guide: Steps to follow!
What to check and what to look for in your viewings…
As any search, this one too requires that you know some of its secrets to make it a profitable one. Find your rental place with minimum effort and few risks. Why make a mistake when you can take it all step by step? Here is what you have to do!
- Take your time and do your homework
Don’t rush and jump at the first rental place you find. You need to start your research with at least one month in advance to get a slight image of how the market looks like. The first factor that should influence your search is the location. Find a flat appropriate for your needs and future plans too.
Make sure that the properties you view are well maintained and ask yourself how secure it really is. If the property passes all your ‘tests’, then you can go on to the next step. A fact is certain – make the most of your opportunity to see the place that will become your home.
- Get a real estate agent
A professional is always needed to make things easier for you, irrespective of how much you think you can handle the entire situation. Get an agent to assist you and do all the footwork. He/she will make sure to find the place that best matches your demands and needs.
Trying to do everything by yourself has great chances to end in a genuine nightmare, so plan your actions wisely. Even if you are in search of a flat, a house, a shared accommodation or one single room, you’ll be a lot better with a specialist guiding you throughout the process. Dealing directly with landlords can be stressful and more than that – do you see yourself skimming through adverts in newspapers all day?
- Set your priorities
As you already know there are few chances you’ll get to have everything you want at a low price, therefore you may be forced to compromise on several of your demands. Therefore, take your time and set your priorities before your Realtor will point it out for you. What are the things your new place must have at all costs? Enough storage space? Two bedrooms or a large kitchen? Decide… Now it is the perfect moment, but remember good places go fast!
- Get ready and run the numbers
Once you have found a place that appeals to you, get all your paperwork ready and make sure your application for your future home is valid. Run your numbers and get your credit check ready. It’s pretty discouraging when an application is rejected because something is missing, so pay attention and don’t miss your opportunities.
Budget carefully and make sure you know what bills are included in your rent! What is more, you should see how the place is heated and how well insulated it is, this will also affect your bills.
- What about the landlord?
Try to find out as much information possible about him/her. Have a chat with the ex-tenants or with the neighbors. Is him/her always there when problems arise? Getting along with your landlord is also an important piece of the puzzle, think about it – finding your new place is all about a perfect timing, planning ahead and understanding both your rights and your landlord’s.
- Inspect the place and evaluate the property’s value
Closely look at any small details that might perturb your future living there. Check out for any possible damages made by the ex-tenants. You wouldn’t want to pay later on for damages you didn’t make, would you? If necessary see the property at least two times before you decide. Sometimes, a second visit will tell you a lot more than the first one.
Hint: The appearance of the place provides an insight into the way the place was kept.
Before signing the papers, you should play your cards and try to negotiate the asking price for the place. You’ll probably get a discount that will make your life a lot easier. Ask your Realtor to make an attempt and see how things go, you never know… The things that you can attempt to negotiate are the utilities, the parking space or the appliances. Try to point out other comparable places in that area that ask less money. It might work…
- Is the price fair?
A way to select only the appropriate listings is comparing the prices. Can you afford it? Is it the right price for that specific area? Is the place worth it? If not, get on with your search, you have where to choose from, for sure.
You can bargain the price by pointing out the things that are not in a tip-top condition, for instance! Hint – you won’t get a good deal if you don’t ask for it.
- Check the crime level
You don’t want to live in a neighborhood with a high level of crime rate. For this, not to happen, research the topic online and ask your Realtor. You can never be sure of what will happen next, but the least you can do is to take all necessary precautions… Getting the best deal includes thorough research, which makes a lot of sense and difference too in the end.
- Are there any job opportunities?
Places with a lot of job opportunities should be of great interest for you. Check out the most competitive environments in terms of available jobs and see which fits you the best. A large corporation in the area means a great deal! At the very least, this can get you an idea of the business environment of that area and of how profitable is to live there.
- Are there the amenities you need?
Another way to tell if a rental property is right for you is to check the available amenities nearby. Otherwise said, see how much the new place will impact your lifestyle. Any parks, gyms, malls, theatres?
Another thing to check is the cell phone signal. Do a test run and see if you have a signal in any room you’ll be making calls if living here.
- Too many vacancies?
Too many vacancies in the area? Well, then there are two main reasons –seasonal fluctuations or a clear sign that the neighborhood is bad. Make sure you know the real reason before you move. Any way you take it, this is an alarm sign that should not be ignored. You must be sure you can handle this before you sign the final papers. Is the neighborhood stable or improving? Then, this is a plus.
Don’t let the idea that it was easy to find this apartment fool you, you may realize it has a lot of problems later on.
How to get a lower rent?
There are indeed some compromises you can make to obtain a lower rent. Here are some of your possibilities!
The suburbs may be a suitable solution for you if you can’t afford to live in the city center. However, get a convenient location which is also close to your work. You don’t want to waste a lot of your time commuting… At any time you can ring this impediment to your landlord!
Either that you choose to live in the city center or in the suburbs, you should also take into account the transport that you’ll be using on a daily basis. Public transportation or money for gas should be also part of your moving plans.
With a roommate you can be sure to have all your rental expenses cut into half. Sharing your flat may reduce a lot of your worries… Of course, you need to have your landlord’s approval and also a trustworthy roommate as well.
How much space do you really need? Some of us are accustomed to live in flats that we don’t actually need. By taking a smaller place, you may be saving enormous amounts of money monthly. Even though you don’t realize this yet, by comparing prices on the market, you can find the flat that you really need based on your visitors, your pets and your lifestyle.
Renting. Final word
Unless you are 100% sure you have found your dream rental, then don’t rush. From having a great real estate agent by your side, to researching the area or being ready to make some compromises you can also make an attempt to lower your expenses.
Untruths or misunderstandings always float around this industry. Make sure your information is correct and take your time. One thing is certain – renting offers more flexibility, than owning a house.
All in all, before hitting the road, set carefully your priorities and think what type of property you would like to find. The above-mentioned strategies will make your efforts efficient and in the end successful.
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I began at the age of 10 helping my great aunts and grandmother rent their properties in New Orleans. This is a great article and check list for all agents, even 35 year veterans like me. I learned these things with on the job training the hard way. Renting is a part of our business and I treat my renters in the DC Metro area as if they were buying Million $ properties–some of them do eventually!