The internet has made it very easy to search for rental properties.
There are steps every renter should take to make sure looking for — and finding a new place to live — is safe and successful.
Location, location, location
You've heard it before — it's considered the first rule of real estate. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this location make sense in terms of my day-to-day life?
- How far away is it from work or school?
- Is there a grocery store nearby?
Location makes a difference mostly in regards to safety. The apartment should be in a part of town where you feel safe. It should be clean and close to school or work.
Do your research
Visit potential apartments in person when possible and go online to access customer reviews on management companies. If you're deciding between two apartments, a bad review of one management company could sway your decision.
Also, keep your eyes open while you tour. Are the hallways clean? Is there trash piling up in the parking lot? You can learn a lot about a management company that way.
Ask what's included
You might be ready to jump into a lease when you hear about a low rent, but find out what's included in that cost. Does it include heat, electricity, cable, internet, sewer or trash collection? Do the math to figure out if a slightly higher rent makes sense if more of those things are included.
Read your lease carefully
Ask any questions you have about the lease prior to signing it. Know what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line.
You hear it a lot, especially from college students — renters get into an apartment, then four months later they want to leave when a friend asks them to move into another place. But they don't realize what their lease says (preventing them from moving to the new apartment).
Some leases auto-renew every year, others require a 30- or 60-day notice in writing to vacate.
Just make sure all your 'i's' are dotted and your 't's' are crossed.