What to Look for Before Renting a House or Apartment
Before you commit to and sign a lease for a new rental home or apartment, itâ€™s important not to just jump right into the first promising home you lay your eyes on. Donâ€™t jump the gun and go for a rental that seems good, but that might just have a lot of flashy amenities to distract you from things that might not be too great in the long run or that might be wrong with the place. Before committing to renting a place for the coming year, make sure you know what to look for to make your time there enjoyable and smooth.
So what should you check for when looking at rental properties? Weâ€™ve got the top things that will make your living spaces convenient and ideal – as well as what aspects of a property you might want to look out for or that might not be particularly ideal.
Things to Check When Renting a Home or Apartment
As we mentioned earlier, it can be easy to get caught up in a home that might look great but could turn out to be too good to be true. When touring or viewing a property, youâ€™ll want to make sure to be properly informed and in the know about what could be a red flag in a residence.
When it comes to looking out for the quality or integrity of existing aspects of a rental property, youâ€™ll want to look at the floors, carpets, walls, ceilings, and appliances to see what kind of shape the place happens to be in. What do we mean by this, you might wonder? Letâ€™s explore the quality of these parts of your potential home which can indicate issues later on.
When coming into a new home or apartment, take note of the flooring in place, or the state of the carpeting in your potential home. Especially in common or high-traffic areas, itâ€™s common and reasonable to have slight wear or a frayed area here and there on the carpet from people walking around.
That being said, if the wear or damage to carpeting goes beyond minor imperfections or reasonable wear and tear, this is cause for concern. If you walk into a home with worn flooring, damage, or stained or gross carpeting, you should definitely question the landlord as to whether this is going to be replaced, or why it’s in this state, to begin with. Donâ€™t just take their word for it either if they play it off. Nobody wants to move into a place with carpeting or flooring that hasnâ€™t been taken care of, and the lack of care in this department can indicate potentially larger issues with the caretaking of the place youâ€™re looking at.
In addition to checking the condition of the flooring and carpeting at the home youâ€™re viewing, you should also take a close look at the state of the ceilings and walls in the apartments or rental homes youâ€™re looking at.
If you notice staining, water damage, holes in the walls, or cracks in the ceiling or walls, this is something to question and talk to the landlord about. If you notice water damage or significant damage or cracking to the ceilings or walls, steer clear of this place, even if it otherwise looks nice. Having these issues can only get worse over time, and can result in huge issues during storms or inclement weather. This can also suggest that even a remodeled space can be of more quality or in disrepair beneath the flashy fixtures.
Always inspect and look at the appliances youâ€™ll be using daily at your potential new place. This goes not only for testing out the stove (especially for gas fixtures) but for something as little as looking at the inside of the fridge and checking its internal temperature. This might not seem like much to worry about, and might be frequently overlooked by a lot of potential renters, but it makes a huge difference in your day-to-day life.
Remember, looks can be deceiving, especially in kitchen areas. Landlords can put in nice countertops or flashy cabinetry, but then cheap out on appliances and install those that donâ€™t work well. Having appliances that are up to date and that work at their best level will make a huge difference in your day-to-day, as opposed to fighting with poor quality appliances that donâ€™t work well in your daily routine.
In addition to inspecting the quality of your appliances, you should also talk to your landlord about what their policies are regarding appliances, and who is responsible for the overall upkeep and repairs of these appliances. After all, you donâ€™t want to move into a place with a faulty fridge and be blamed for its poor condition.
Most potential tenants do not check the water pressure or plumbing of a place theyâ€™re viewing, but having poor water pressure or faulty plumbing can quickly turn into a huge annoyance in your everyday routine.
If you move into a nice-looking place, only to find inconsistent or poor water pressure plus a malfunctioning toilet (or one that wonâ€™t stop filling!)These factors can quickly turn from annoyances into genuine interference with your quality of life.
Look for Pests
This one is a bit tough to truly assess, as youâ€™ll hopefully be walking into a freshly cleaned and prepared space for your showing, but itâ€™s very important to check for evidence of pests in any home or apartment youâ€™re looking at.
Obviously, common household pests like ants, cockroaches, or mice can become a huge issue very quickly if not dealt with – especially if theyâ€™ve already been at a residence before youâ€™ve moved in. Everyone agrees that pests are disgusting and unsanitary, and are not something anyone should have to deal with upon first moving into a space.
When doing a walkthrough of a property, you should always check the inside of cabinets to look for any droppings or evidence of bugs. Check the baseboards of the home youâ€™re viewing for evidence or bugs, or for crevices they could potentially hide out in. Ask your landlord to also see copies of recent pest control treatments to cover all of your bases.
Cell Phone Reception
Another commonly overlooked aspect of the home viewing process that can make a huge difference, later on, is the quality of cell phone reception in the place youâ€™re viewing. You might not notice it at the time of viewing, but if your potential new home is located in an area with poor reception, it can be a huge hindrance to your everyday function in our digitized world.
Try to check your email, send texts, or make calls (or at least check the quality of service) in every room of the home youâ€™re viewing to make sure your phoneâ€™s services are up and running at their highest level throughout the property.
It might not seem like a big deal to have good cell reception or connection at your home since youâ€™ll be on wifi, but it can make a huge difference in your everyday life and in your guestsâ€™ ability to contact or call you or others while theyâ€™re at your place.
Examine Your Lease
If youâ€™ve viewed a property and all looks as it should, youâ€™re probably excited to sign a lease and get started in your moving process. However, if you donâ€™t thoroughly go through your lease and sign it too quickly, it can be easy to overlook important aspects or clauses that can cause you problems later on.
Make sure to go through this contract several times, and have others look it over as well to make sure youâ€™re not missing anything before you sign. Some of the most important things to take note of or ask questions about in your lease are:
- Subletting: See if you need your landlordâ€™s consent to sublet your room or a portion of the property.
- Renovations: See if youâ€™re able to freely make any amendments to the property, or whether youâ€™ll need the landlordâ€™s consent to do so.
- Security Deposit: Make sure to pay attention to how much your security deposit is, and when youâ€™ll receive it back when you vacate the property.
- Renewal Policies: This will be important if you decide to stay at the property for longer than your initial lease terms.
- Maintenance: Make note of who is responsible for maintenance on every aspect of the house, and who you can call in the event of broken or damaged parts of the home.
When headed into a new lease, itâ€™s imperative to be smart about your relocation and thoroughly go through and inspect all aspects of your potential new home and any leasing terms that might apply to your situation.
Once youâ€™ve found the right place with the right terms for you, make sure you have the right movers on your side for your relocation. Learn more about how Carey Moving & Storage can make all the difference in your relocation experience today.