It can be difficult and time consuming to find a place to live that fits all of your criteria, and especially a place that will be just perfect. You can only imagine that great feeling when you finally find a place that seems perfect at first sight, but do not get carried away and rush into that lease. It is very important to check under the hood and do your homework before you decide to sign a lease.
So, this is why we have written this article, to help you speed up the whole process, read on to keep your rental search on track and to make sure that you will sign a lease that will work for you.
Your First Visit Needs To Be an Inspection
Before you sign anything, you need to make sure that you have put everything to the test. It is very important that your new place meets all of your criteria for safety, function and comfort. Your first visit needs to have a goal to identify all possible issues before you sign the lease so that you will be able to address these issues with the landlord.
Best case scenario would be if the landlord will be willing to address all of your concerns and you will be able to get improvements and modifications written into your lease agreement. Worst case scenario, the landlord will not or cannot resolve any of the issues you may have and provide you with the option to pass out on their apartment that may not be the best fit for you.
Relationships Are Important, So Establish a Proper One
Being professional and polite is perhaps the best way to establish a relationship with a potential landlord and create a rental negotiation that will be successful. You need to have in mind that the way you conduct yourself during a phone conversation and a property visit is a reflection of you as a tenant. Never strong-arm or bluff in a negotiation with a landlord because this can easily backfire, create tension, or even worse, prevent you from leasing the apartment of your dreams.
The landlord needs to trust you with their rental property and you need to know whether you can trust them to help you with your most important concerns and keep your potential home comfortable and safe for you. This is why you need to be open, ask proper questions and take some time to establish a proper relationship with the landlord.
Be Aware Of What Is Included
Some properties for rental include different things like utilities, parking and cable within the monthly cost, and some don’t. This can make a huge impact on your monthly budget and turn an affordable apartment into a not so affordable one. There are some properties that offer public transportation, discounts to local gyms, on-site health club memberships, and all off this can save you a lot of money. So, before you sign a lease, ask the landlord what will be included in the monthly cost, so that you will be clear about how this new place will impact both your budget and lifestyle.
Get Informed About their Pet Policy
If you are a pet owner, it is important to know in advance what kinds of pets are allowed to live on the rental property. Many properties have very strict rules as to the kinds of pets that are allowed and that includes the specific breeds and even weight limits. If you are not a pet owner, but you are interested in acquiring one in the future, it is still crucial to ask so that you are aware of what is allowed. Do not even think about sneaking a pet into a property, because this may result in lease termination or even worse, you may be forced to give up your pet.
Have In Mind the Commute
Many people who work in the city opt for living in the suburbs in order to save money on rent, because in many cases the rental deals are better in the suburbs. But, it is also important to consider what would be the additional cost to your everyday commute to work before you decide to take up a property in the suburbs.
Even though the rent can be in between $200-$300 cheaper in the suburbs, you may end up spending that much every month on gas or transit pass, depending on how far your rental place is. We know it sounds hard to believe, but in some cases it is cheaper to live in the city than paying all the additional transit costs.
Everything Needs To Be In Writing
Before you seal the deal and sign your name on the lease, you need to be sure that your lease agreement contains all the points you have previously discussed with the landlord, regarding the improvements, customizations, pre-existing conditions and any other revisions to policies that were not present in the standard lease agreement.
For instance, if you have received a verbal approval for having a pet, or customizing a property even though the lease agreement states otherwise, you need to make sure to modify the written agreement.
Read thoroughly through your lease agreement, so that you fully understand what your obligations are to the landlord and what are theirs to you. If there is something you are not comfortable with or simply do not understand, do not be shy, ask questions and talk openly with the landlord so that you fully understand what you are signing up for.
Before You Move In, Document Any Existing Damage
Once you have decided to rent the apartment, do not forget to document any existing damage before you sign the lease. If there is anything in the rental property that the landlord refuses to fix from your first inspection like broken blinds, strained carpeting or tiles missing in the shower, document all of that damage in your lease as pre-existing. This way you are protecting yourself from any potential charges for which you are not responsible.
Is There An Option Of Customizing?
Installing your own lighting or painting the walls without the permission of the landlord can result in loss of security deposit or lease termination. If you want to rent out a home where you will be living with your family and want to expand a room, make sure to look at some of the best construction estimation software to save some money. If you are planning to live there for quite some time, you need to discuss it with the landlord before you sign the lease. Perhaps the most important thing is to get approval in writing, so that you do not experience any problems when your lease ends.
Get Informed About Automatic Lease Renewal
If you are looking for more than just leasing on a month-to-month basis, your lease can include an automatic renewal clause that will provide you with the right to renew your lease when it ends, and thus keep you protected from being asked to leave without notice.
Automatic lease renewal clause obliges the landlord to notify you 15 to 30 days before your lease ends and to request feedback from you on whether you are interested in renewing your lease. If this is not present in your lease, but you want it to be, discuss this with your landlord before you sign anything.
Get Informed About the Out Clause
It is important not to forget to read the lease termination clause of your lease agreement, so that you are able to understand what the implications of breaking your lease will be before it ends and if you will have the obligation to notice the landlord when you decide to move out when your lease ends. It is easy to believe that you will always be in love with your new place and that there will not be any reason to break your lease, but after all, life is uncertain and anything can happen, so it is best to always be prepared.
A lease on a property usually lasts for one year, and that can sometimes be an extremely long 12 months, especially if you fall out of love with your new place. This is why you need to know what you are getting into before you sign a lease. We hope that this article will help you in making smart decisions when you are in search of a new home, just remember to take everything slow, so that you do not make any mistakes.