10 Things You Should Do When Renting a Property
1. Research the neighborhood
Before making a firm decision on a property, be sure to research the neighborhood it is located in and the surrounding area. While renting may be temporary, you certainly do not want to spend six months to a year of your life in a less-than-desirable part of town. It is first important to look into crime rates to gain an understanding of safety. Also consider the proximity to necessary amenities like grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and dental offices. Take your interests into consideration as well, and check out the local retail stores, entertainment, restaurants, nature trails, and gyms.
2. Read the lease terms
Read the property lease thoroughly before signing to ensure you understand all the rules and regulations listed in the contract. It may also be helpful to have a real estate expert or attorney to make sure it is fair and to explain any concepts you may not understand. Rules to look out for include pet policies, maintenance expectations, form and time of payment, and how to break the lease before the expiration.
3. Inspect the property
If you are required to put down a security deposit, you will want to document the property’s current condition before you settle in. Take photos to submit to the landlord, and ask for a move-in checklist that specifies the features the landlord will examine before you enter and after you leave. This can protect you from having to pay for damage that was caused by previous tenants.
4. Get renter's insurance
Anything can happen upon moving in, no matter how prepared you are; natural disasters, fires, and break-ins occur too often to not be protected. Invest in renters insurance upon moving in to protect your belongings in case of water/fire damage and theft.
5. Set up automatic payments
If your landlord accepts online bank transfers for payments, set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about missing a month. This will allow you to think about one less thing during the month, and maintain a good relationship with your landlord by being timely.
6. Keep up with maintenance
Don’t wait til the last minute to submit a maintenance request! Notify your landlord immediately when something breaks or shows signs of damage. Depending on the cause of the damage, the landlord may cover the cost of repairs (daily wear and tear, for example, is typically covered). If you do not receive a timely response and the repair needs taken care of right away (like a leak), have a repairman take a look, and tell your landlord afterward.
7. Do a deep clean
Cleaning your new rental thoroughly is important for a fresh and clean start, especially since you don’t know how well the previous tenants cleaned. Before unpacking and settling in, clean up the dust and dirt, then get rid of germs and bacteria by sanitizing or disinfecting.
8. Learn about customization rules
Before you start painting walls and hanging pictures, talk to your landlord about the customization rules of the property. Any desired change in the look of the property should always be discussed with a landlord ahead of time. It is also helpful to review the lease for restrictions in order to get your full security deposit back.
9. Talk to the landlord
Strive to form a solid, respectful relationship with your landlord that encourages communication. By being open and honest about issues with the property in civil conduct, the landlord is more likely to work with you. Maintaining this relationship may also prove helpful in the long run if you would like the lease to be renewed.
10. Request your security deposit
Once your stay has come to an end, don’t forget to request your security deposit back. You may be able to speed up the process by asking the landlord for a walk-through of the property to assess any damage together. If there is damage, you may be able to negotiate how much of the deposit should be used for repairs and how much should be returned.
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