If you’re considering a move, but aren’t ready to buy, you might want to consider renting a house instead. You might be surprised to discover that househunting for a rental is much like looking for a place to buy.
Finding the perfect rental home can be hard to find, especially when trying to find exactly what you want while staying within your budget. Once you’ve decided to rent, there are a number of things you’ll need to be aware of. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
9 Tips for Finding the Perfect Rental Home
Finding the perfect rental home isn’t nearly as challenging as one may believe. Here are 9 tips for finding the perfect home for your family.
1. Decide What Your Priorities Are
Just like when looking for a home to buy, when looking for a rental home you’ll need to define your priorities. These should include the kind of neighborhood you want to live in, nearby school districts, local attractions, and the safety of the neighborhood.
You’ll also need to consider your budget, and take an honest look at what you can afford. Obviously the lower your budget is, the less quality rental homes you will have to choose from.
2. Begin Your Search as Soon as Possible
Because of the fact that good rental properties are in demand, you’ll want to start looking as soon as possible and search frequently. Quality homes in good neighborhoods go quickly, so we suggest not wasting time.
Always keep in mind that if you find a rental home you like, be prepared to make a decision quickly, otherwise it can be gone within hours.
3. Consider Using a Professional
If you are moving from out of town, or have a full-time job that doesn’t offer much flexibility, it’s going to be difficult to find the time to house hunt.
The internet is a great resource for home rental websites that can help you find houses for rent in the community where you want to live. Another option is to contact a property manager. Property management companies keep their fingers on the pulse of particular neighborhoods.
They know everything that’s available, as well as homes that will be coming on the market soon.
4. Have Your Information Ready to Submit
When you’ve found a home that you’re interested in renting, be prepared to submit a rental application quickly. We suggest having all needed personal information ready to go.
Most rental applications ask for previous addresses, dates of occupancy, employment information, and names and phone numbers of previous landlords. The more information you can provide about your rental history the better.
5. Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score can have a huge impact on the types of homes you will be able to rent. A low score can be a red flag to potential landlords when considering whether or not they want to trust you living on their property.
You can’t improve your credit score overnight, but at least knowing your score allows you to be aware of outdated or erroneous negative marks that you might be able to explain to a rental owner or a property manager.
Landlords appreciate honesty and might be willing to accept a low credit score for an additional fee, or even several months of rent paid in advance.
6. Be as Upfront and Honest as Possible
When you submit your credit score and personal references, be prepared to be as open and honest with a potential landlord as possible. Some landlords are more open than others to considering a rental and credit history that are less than stellar.
Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a fresh start at some point. The key is to offer an explanation upfront so that landlords don’t discover these embarrassing shortcomings on their own.
7. Be Ready to Provide References
Believe it or not, the references you provide from previous landlords can sometimes carry even more weight with potential landlords than a poor credit score.
These references will describe you as a renter, such as how you treated past rental properties and if you paid rent on time. These are factors that really matter to a landlord.
You might also be asked to provide the names of employers, past neighbors, or even family or friends. We suggest you give careful thought to who you plan to include as a reference before providing their contact information.
8. Ask Them for References
It’s also a very good idea to ask for references from the property owner. There are many stories of landlords who wouldn’t return phone calls, failed to make timely repairs, or refused to return deposit money.
Typically, previous tenants are more than willing to discuss their experiences if you contact them with questions. And a good landlord should not hesitate to provide these names and numbers. Be sure to ask good questions, including would they be willing to rent from the same landlord again in the future?
9. Go with Your Gut
Once you have done your research, found a rental home you like, submitted your application, and contacted the landlord’s references, the decision is yours. This means that you ultimately have to take a step back and listen to what your gut tells you.
The rental house you choose will be your new home for a period of months or years, and even if everything looks great on paper, something just might not feel quite right.
Final Thoughts On the Rental Process
Finding the perfect rental home can actually be an exciting process. It’s really a simple process of defining your personal needs, as well as what you can afford, and deciding if the potential landlord is reasonable and trustworthy.
Remember to treat the search for a rental home the same as you would if you were wanting to buy. Be a smart consumer, do plenty of research, and find a home that you’ll enjoy spending the next phase of your life in!
Please feel free to contact us to learn how we can help you find a great rental home.