Although renting tends to be less intensive than navigating the home buying process, there’s still plenty to think about before signing on the dotted line and getting the keys to your new apartment.
By investing time in research upfront, you’ll know what to expect during the leasing process and can avoid being caught off guard by any unexpected costs or unusual lease terms.
If you’re just beginning the search process, you may want to read our article about Finding Your Next Apartment. And if you already have a place in mind, continue reading for advice on what to do before touring the apartment or meeting with the property manager.
When it comes time to meet with the property manager, be sure to have a list of questions prepared. And, remember, there are no stupid questions.
Think about the additional costs that could be included: will you have to pay for utilities? And how much do they typically run? How about a fee for pets or parking? Some other things to consider are access to transportation, trash collection, mail pickup and safety measures. Don’t leave any stones unturned.
Renters insurance may be optional, but many properties are now requiring it. Regardless, it’s a wise investment to protect against burglary, fire, water damage or some other cause for loss. And it’s usually affordable.
Understand Lease Terms
Allow yourself the time to thoroughly review — not skim — your final lease agreement. Pay close attention to the fine print that may include lease riders or clauses. Some lease terms to consider include:
- Security deposit: How much is it and how can you ensure you get it back?
- Rent due date: Is rent due on the first of the month, and when might a late fee apply?
- Lease length: Is your lease for12 months, or for some other length?
- Lease renewal: Do you have to provide 30, 60 or 90 days’ notice to renew or let it lapse?
- Remodeling: Are there restrictions around decorating or putting nails in the wall?
- Guests: Does the community allow for guests and/or subletting?
- Pets: Are pets allowed and, if so, is there a cost? Do they have weight limits or breed restrictions?
- Inspections: Will the landlord be conducting an annual inspection?
- Fixtures: What furniture or appliances are provided?
- Parking: Is parking included or is there an extra charge?
So there you have it: some important things to think about while navigating an apartment lease. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. Remember, this is a yearlong (or longer) investment in the place you’ll be calling home. Be diligent and ask questions!
If you’re curious to learn more tips to make renting more rewarding, check out our blog for renters. If you are looking for an apartment, we encourage you to check out all of the properties offering Rhove, where you can make money on rent.