What to Look for When You’re Renting

When renting a home, it’s important to feel comfortable and happy where you live, but you should also have realistic expectations about what you want or need in a rental.  Tenants should keep in mind, you are not on the market for a forever-home.  Most likely the rental you find won’t be perfect, but keep in mind it’s also temporary.
You should start with a list of what you absolutely need in a rental.  The first item to consider is budget – what is the monthly amount you can afford to pay in rent?  The industry standard is that your gross household income should be 3x the monthly rent.    The second item to consider is the number of bedrooms or square footage you require. If you have a pet, you may need a fenced yard.
Also important is location.  Is the property near work, school, friends, family, an area of town that suits your lifestyle?  Is it safe?  Are there properties in your desired neighborhood that suit your financial and size needs?
Another list of items should include what you want in a rental.  This is where you may have to make some compromises.  Maybe you want a garage to store your bike, and a deck or patio for cookouts.  Does the paint color match the furniture you already own?  Maybe you prefer a ranch-style home over a split-level.  Sometimes an owner may be willing to work with you on small changes, like painting, or allowing a storage shed in the backyard for your bike, but there’s no guarantee.
Don’t get discouraged – it is possible to have it all!  The most important part of renting is to develop your list of needs and wants, and to get the most of those things in a good location.  You’ll start to feel right at home in no time!
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