A lot of things may go through your mind before signing the rental agreement on your new home. After a potentially long search, there are still questions to make sure you ask while you are looking for homes, and conversations to have with your landlord while you are in the process of signing your lease. Transparency is always key and will make your life so much easier. Being transparent and creating mutual respect between you and your landlord will make your time as a renter much easier.
While looking for a new home:
Check the appliances
Something that is often overlooked when viewing homes is whether or not the appliances work. Appliances include things like water pressure, the stove, the refrigerator, the dishwasher, and the washing and dryer unit. While not all homes will include all of these appliances it’s important to make sure the ones that are included are working properly to avoid any issues later. In many situations, landlords don’t find these to be important to the house. Because of this, they fall to the side and only get fixed once something malfunctions. It may seem daunting to turn on the shower to make sure the water pressure is working or make sure the dryer doesn’t shake the whole house when it turns on, but spending a little extra time thinking about it now will save a lot of hassle later.
It is important to be upfront with your landlord and his or her policies when it comes to pets. Obviously, it is important if you already have a pet to disclose that right away. The same goes for if you are seriously considering getting a pet while you are going to be living at the property. Personally, I learned this the hard way. After visiting a dog at an adoption shelter, we wanted to bring him home so we reached out to our landlord with high hopes. After a few days of not hearing back, we were told no. After pleading for a few days, we were eventually told that because she had told other residents in our building they could not have pets, we could not either. Looking back, I wish we had been more transparent about the issue from the start. While the lease agreement said that there was a potential to allow pets, it was going to be a losing battle from the beginning, and we could have known that had we asked earlier.
Neighborhood after dark
Most house hunting happens during the day. Because of this you often won’t see the neighborhood where you are choosing to live after the hours of 5 pm. Depending on the city, this can make a drastic difference. It doesn’t hurt to do a drive-through or a little walk through the neighborhood once it gets dark to make sure you feel safe. This will not only ease your mind but also give you confidence as a new renter.
Roommates and Sublets
Life happens and transparency is key. There could be many different scenarios where you would need a subletter or maybe rent out another room in your home. While it is easy to assume that your landlord will be okay with that, it is always better to ask ahead of time. Also, reading your lease carefully before signing can help any future confusion or frustration. You should also keep your landlord updated with the process as you are looking for a subletter or roommate. Again, the more transparency the better. Even though the responsibility for paying rent each month and avoiding damage to the property will still fall on you, it never hurts to be upfront about what is going on inside of the house in case there are any surprise inspections or maintenance.
Is there documentation of what the house looked like before?
Lastly, it is important to check for any damage that might be present in the house. While the damage might not make your life more difficult, it may not even be something you see every day, it is important to be aware of it and document it as soon as possible. Apps like RentCheck can help prove that damage already existed on the property. Once you complete the inspection process in the app, all of the photos are time-stamped so that there is no question about when the damage occurred. Like I’ve said before, transparency is key and apps like RentCheck ensure that there are no misunderstandings once it comes time to move out.
Renting doesn’t have to be scary and you can avoid a lot of confusion and frustration by being transparent with your landlord upfront and checking for any possible malfunctions before they become too daunting of a problem.