Both buying and renting houses have their downsides. If you don’t have the means to purchase a house right now, renting is the next option for you. But how do you find a good rental in these economic conditions?
There are tons of reasons for you to search for a rental. Maybe it’s your first time on your own or you just need some extra time to build up your finances before buying. Either way, renting is a great option to consider.
The issue is that it might be difficult to find an affordable rental that isn’t unsafe, unclean, or unwanted. There are a few tips you can learn for your rental search that may help you find your next home.
Why should you rent?
Many people are against renting because you don’t get a return on the money you spend every month. This is true, and it’s something to keep in mind if you have the means to purchase a home. However, there are plenty of reasons why renting is a fantastic option depending on what your situation is.
The first reason to rent is that you simply don’t have enough money for a home. The down payment on a home is expensive enough even before you consider the mortgage rates. This kind of spending just isn’t possible for many people and that’s okay!
Another reason to rent is if you plan on moving in the next few years. This is what makes it such a great option for young adults. Low cost and low commitment is the best option for people who don’t really know what they’re doing with their life yet.
Maintenance is another big factor in renting. If you own a home, you aren’t only responsible for paying the mortgage, downpayment, and individual utilities. You’re also responsible for every single repair it needs.
If you rent, however, you’re not directly responsible for fixing those issues. If something in your rental breaks unexpectedly, your landlord is responsible for fixing it. This takes a huge weight off of your shoulders as a renter.
Renting can be really great for a variety of circumstances, but it’s only as good as the rental you find. Here are some tips on how to find rentals that are actually worth your money.
Tips to Find a Good Rental
Finding a good rental can be challenging, especially when the market isn’t so good. Use some of these tricks to cut out the bad apples to find your next great rental.
1. Know what you want.
Make a list of things you want, things you will not settle for, and things you’re willing to compromise. Include price, location, and any other factors you can think of.
This is the first step in finding the best choice. If you know what you want, what you don’t want, and what you’re willing to compromise on. You’ll work far more efficiently this way. Make a physical list of these things and adjust it if needed as your search for a rental continues.
2. Organize your searches.
It can get overwhelming and confusing to dive into house or apartment hunting. There are tons of details to keep in mind and you don’t want to accidentally mix them up.
One of the best things you can do is start a spreadsheet, document, or file full of organized information. Keep a section for each rental you’re interested in and write down the pros and cons. This visual will help a ton when it comes down to making the big decision.
3. Keep the calendar in mind.
You don’t always have the luxury of moving whenever you want. However, it’s still important to know the best times to move.
Renting prices may change depending on what time of year it is in the area you’re searching for. Summer is typically the most expensive time, so try to avoid those summer months if possible.
The “off-seasons” of renting are typically in the winter months. Because fewer people are interested in moving during the cold holiday season, it’s easier to find a cheap rental. The lowest rates of the year are typically between October and April, but especially around December.
4. Be smart about your searches.
It’s not hard to be scammed or gypped in this kind of search. There are a few key things to keep in mind so you can be confident that your money is safe.
First, and most important, is to read the leasing agreement. You might be tempted to skim it and sign on the dotted line as fast as possible, but don’t!
It’s vital to read the agreement completely before agreeing to anything. You never know what sneaky, hidden agreement you could’ve made unless you read the agreement entirely and ask questions if necessary.
Second, know the signs of scammers. There are plenty of pop-up ads that claim to get you the best deal if you give away your personal information. There’s no need to give out your information this early on in your search.
Make sure the landlord is willing to answer questions, give a tour, and share documents or pictures. If a landlord isn’t willing to do those things, it’s likely they’re hiding something.
5. Use a real estate broker.
You may not know that many real estate brokers can help you find a place free of charge. Find a few brokers who specialize in rental properties if the market is competitive in your area.
6. Take a 13 or 14-month lease.
Taking a slightly longer lease may be a great negotiating piece that could get you ahead of the competition. If the landlord has a guarantee that they can get that extra cash in the off-season, they may want you as a renter.
7. Ask for information on any special offers.
You may get the first month free for signing a slightly longer lease, certain free utilities, or waived fees. You never know what offers and deals you could get until you ask!
8. Trust your gut.
Lastly, it’s important to trust your instincts. Everything on paper could look great, but if you have a gut feeling that something’s off- listen to it.
Be thoughtful about each decision and agreement you have to make in this process. Research what you can and make sure you feel comfortable with each choice. If you put all of this into practice, you’ll find a good rental in no time!