5 Things To Cross Off On Your Rental Checklist
How did you find your last apartment?
Chances are it was with a lot of time and energy thrown in.
Looking for a rental—home or apartment—is one of the most exciting and stressful times of a person’s life.
It can mean freedom for those who are moving into their own place for the first time, and happiness for those just switching to a new location.
No matter what it means to you, finding a rental requires diligence and hard work.
It means sifting through newspapers, online rental websites, downloading rental applications, and talking with many property management teams to find out what rental might be right for you.
To find a home you’re happy with, take a look at these five key points for rentals to ensure that you’re content with your decision.
Like all properties, rentals are talked about in square footage. Unfortunately, square footage is often confusing for people who don’t have any visual comprehension of what it means. However, knowing the square footage and the price point for your area is important in knowing whether or not you’re coming up on a steal or a scam. Discuss your options with a property manager in your area to find out what the square footage/dollar amount is for the rental areas you’re considering. Discuss with your current property manager, parents, or someone who knows square footage to gain a better understanding of what the square footage size means to you. For example, knowing that the current home you’re in is 665 sq feet, will give you some understanding of what an 1100 sq foot rental looks like. Knowing square footage is an important step in deciding a price point and size for your new home.
Number of Bedrooms and Baths
Chances are you have a pretty decent idea of what you’re looking for in terms of bedroom and baths, but even then you might be surprised at what you’ll actually need. Here is where keeping an eye on the square footage will come in hand. While some one bedroom rentals might be over 1000 square feet, other two bedroom rentals might be just 1000 sq feet. Sure, you’ll have the extra bedroom to be used as an office or for guests, but you’ll also be cutting back on your personal space for a master bedroom and living room. Get an idea of the number of rooms you’ll need before you start looking at square footage. If you have kids, for example, then you’ll probably be fine searching for rental with multiple rooms, but if you’re just one person or a couple, then you may find the more spacious one bedroom up to your standards.
Keep in mind that not all condos, townhouses, and apartment rentals are created equal. Some are more updated than others, which can be a real stress-saver in the long run. Keep a running list of your “must haves” available. Things like an in-unit washer and dryer may be a deal breaker when it comes to finding an apartment, while a fireplace you might be able to slide on. Find something that suits your needs and the needs of your family and you’ll wind up happier in the long run.
Some Things To Consider:
- Pet friendliness
- Newer/older floor plan and décor
- Central air
- Assigned Parking
- Guest Parking
- Washer/Dryer In Unit
What’s the key to getting things done in your rental and getting them done well? Knowing who owns your rental or complex in the first place. While previous owners own many home rentals, property management teams typically own condo and apartment rentals. The difference, however, is in the response time. When things go bump in the night, leaving your home flooded, you locked out, or things in disarray, then you’ll want a property management team who works quickly to get things done. While family-owned rentals might have a more “personal feel” to them, they tend to fall prey to things like their own personal schedule, or the schedule of their family and friends. Property management teams, in contrast, work around the clock to ensure that their renters are happy and safe in their rentals because it’s their job to do so.
Maybe the biggest thing people look for—and rightly so—when looking for a rental is the cost of the rent. Rent is one of, if not, the biggest chunk of our incomes. Even for a shared rental, where you live in a single bedroom and split the house, you’re likely to spend upward of six or seven hundred dollars a month. That’s not even including the cost of living that is not included in the cost. Make sure to check on the utilities that your rent covers and be smart about what you’re willing to spend. In places like San Diego, for example, spending on water will cost you a lot because of the current drought, while in the Midwest it might not be that big of a deal. Likewise, places like Arizona and Inland San Diego will carry a heavy electric bill for most of the year to keep the home cool. You’ll also want to pay attention for hidden expenses, such as pet deposits that will run you an extra two or three-hundred dollars at a time.
Hidden Expenses To Look Out For:
- Pet Deposits
- Extra Key Fees
- Pool Keys
- Gym Keys
- Parking Spaces
- Trash Pickup