Here’s a question we get a lot. What to know before I sign a lease- Well, here you go!

Though to some it may seem noncommittal, the typical renter treats his or her property as their own.  A large demographic of people have never owned a home.  In fact 35% of all US households are occupied by renters.  Just as someone in the market to buy a home typically takes measures to become an informed consumer before making what will most likely be one of the most significant purchases in their life, renting a home is nothing to sneeze at.  So in order to be a savvy renter, what should you consider before committing to a lease?  So…if you’re wondering what to know before I sign a lease, here are a few points to keep in mind…..

Before You Sign A LeaseLease Terms-just what are you getting yourself into?  A 12 month commitment, 24 month?  What if my job transfers me out of state?  Will I be able to move without penalty?  If my rent is late is there a grace period?  Late charges?  Know the terms, read the fine print and ask questions.

Alterations-Can you build a fence?  Plant a garden?  Many renters want to make the space their own and plan on living there indefinitely.  To that end, there is usually a desire to customize the property with new finishes, appliances or maybe just a fresh coat of paint.  Know and abide by the owner or landlord’s demands, so as to not forfeit the security deposit at the end of the lease.

Repairs-If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…whoops!  It broke.  Now who fixes it?  Make sure there is an arrangement for maintenance, especially in dealing with landlords who live out of town.  We’ve all heard the horror stories of the “landlord from hell” who never fixes anything and let’s the tenant fend for themselves.  Don’t let that tenant be you.

Saving the best for last-the first rule of real estate applies to renting just as it does to buying-LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  Do your own research on demographic information and crime statistics before signing a lease.  Scout the neighborhood both in the daylight hours and at night.  Familiarize yourselfwith the main thoroughfares, highway access, the nearest gas station, grocery store, hospital and the like.  This is especially important when relocating from a distance.

Taking these steps to be an informed renter will save you from having a bad case of dreaded renters’ remorse.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles and