Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What to Consider When Renting a House

What to Consider When Renting a HouseRenting a house can provide you more privacy than renting in an apartment. To make sure you have a good experience, take your time and think through your lifestyle objectives and your responsibilities to your landlord. Moving into a new place can turn into a nightmare quickly if you have expectations that are not based on fundamental realities. Asking a lot of questions before you sign the dotted line can save you from trouble later. Here are the very basic things to consider before renting:

The Budget
Take a hard look at your finances to determine your ability to make ends meet. Add up your monthly sources of income and make sure you have adequate cash reserve in your savings account if something goes wrong. In addition to your rental payments, budget for utilities, water and garbage expenses.

The House
Take a good look at the house you want to rent. Consider the time and distance of your commute to work or school. Ask about the utility costs and if any are included in your rent payment. Check out stairways for lights and security. Neighborhoods can project a distinct personality. Try to get a sense for the kind of neighbors you'll have. Consider nearby shopping opportunities and restaurant options if you enjoy the occasional meal out.

Rental Agreement
Your landlord will probably ask for credit references, personal references and your employment history. If you include a copy of your credit report with your application, you may gain an edge over other prospective renters. Your rental lease binds you legally to the terms it outlines. Read it carefully and make sure your understand everything you agree to when you sign the papers. If you are sharing the rent with a roommate, your signature could make you liable for your roommate's property damages or non-payment of rental obligations.

You can certainly cut your expenses by sharing your house with roommates. Living together can ruin a perfectly good friendship, however. Compatibility issues you never imagined can rear their ugly heads easily when you share living space. Does your prospective roommate have a history of paying bills on time? You'll want to trust your roommate to enter into a partnership with you to share expenses, but also to meet other living obligations.

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