How to Find a House for Rent: Short Guide      

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Renting a house is one of the most exciting parts of moving to a new city or neighborhood. However, if you’re not prepared, it can also be one of the most challenging and stressful parts as well! Before you sign that lease. Make sure you know what questions to ask yourself and your landlord to ensure your house hunt goes as smoothly as possible. These questions will help you narrow down your options and find the perfect rental home!

The Rental Market  

Rental marketplaces like Craigslist and Zillow can be powerful tools, but they also have their downsides. Be sure you are aware of all of them before you begin looking at potential homes. You may want to consider talking with a professional. In order to protect yourself against scams and frauds that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Additionally, these sites tend to attract landlords who rent out properties for short periods of time. This is not always a bad thing—but it does mean that your lease will likely end sooner than if you were renting from someone who owns their home outright. Always remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. When using rental sites, read carefully and make sure you understand. What rights and responsibilities come with signing on to use one.

Things to Consider When Looking for Rental Properties    

There are many factors that go into finding a rental property that will work for you. Keep in mind your situation and find what will best fit your needs. Consider these things when looking for properties. Location, Location, Location: It’s important to think about where you want to live before jumping right into renting.

Think about how far away from work or school it is. How long it takes to get there and if public transportation is available or needed. Also consider how close it is to shopping areas, entertainment venues, and other services you may need.

Parking, Utilities, and Safety: Make sure to look at apartments with parking spaces available for tenants. Is it easy to access? Is there adequate lighting? Security measures taken like cameras or key-card access? Also consider utility costs like electricity, water, and gas (if applicable). Is everything included in rent or are they extra fees? Will utility bills be expensive? Will additional costs like cleaning fees apply? Most importantly, check out the safety features of an apartment complex such as well-lit walkways and covered entrances.

How big is Your Budget?

When trying to find a house for rent, know your budget. This can help narrow down which neighborhoods you can afford and which apartments might be within reach. If you don’t have much money. It might mean looking outside of prime locations or having not all amenities in rent.

You could also look into getting roommates who can split some expenses with you or try looking at houses instead of apartments since they tend to cost less on average per month than do comparable rentals.

Does Size Matter? Be realistic about space. Do you really need a three-bedroom place? Or would one bedroom suffice while you save up for something bigger later on? What utilities come with a unit and are they more affordable if shared by multiple people living together? Does location outweigh size, especially if it means saving money each month on rent? Don’t forget to factor in utilities like electric and gas too!

Credit Check

Before signing any lease agreement, ask about credit checks or screening procedures. Many landlords run credit checks on potential renters, so make sure you understand their policy beforehand.

Some landlords will only run background checks and others may require financial information like bank statements or tax returns. This can vary greatly depending on where you live so make sure to research your state’s laws regarding landlord-tenant relationships first!

Security Deposits: Some places require a security deposit upon move-in, but most don’t until after you stay awhile.

The Application Process   

Once you have your eye on a few houses, it’s time to apply! You can usually start your application by submitting an online rental application. And don’t forget that you’ll also need to pay a security deposit and the first month’s rent when you make your application.

Many landlords will accept less than 30% of the monthly rent as a security deposit. Which is usually non-refundable should you choose not to follow through with renting the house. If you are using an agent, they will typically take care of most of these details for you; however, if you are working directly with a landlord or property manager. Be sure to ask about any hidden fees before signing anything. Also, check out our guide on what questions to ask while looking for a new home.

You Can Expect To Pay… An Application Fee (often $20-$30) A Security Deposit (usually 1-2 months’ rent) First Month’s Rent the Cost of a Background Check (usually $15-$40) For Landlords: Depending on how big your property management company is, you may want to consider hiring professional help in screening potential tenants.

Tenant screening

Tenant screening companies can save you time and money by helping weed out problem renters before they become problems. Some of these companies will run credit checks and criminal background checks while others will simply conduct interviews and references. Checks with previous landlords or employers. If you do decide to hire a tenant screening company. Make sure that they have a license from your state. And that they provide all of their reports directly to you so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to approve someone as a tenant.

Also, be aware that there are some things you cannot legally ask about. When conducting a tenant screening report such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability status. This is why it’s important to work with reputable companies. Who knows what questions to ask and what information they can legally gather. These companies should also have ways for you to customize your tenant screening package based on your needs.

Tenant Screening Package

Here are a few examples of services provided by these types of companies. Income verification Employment history Credit checks Criminal record check Social security number search Date of birth search Court records/lawsuits Reports from references, former landlords, neighbors, and current employers That said, even if you don’t go through a company like this, it doesn’t mean that you can’t perform at least some kind of basic background check on prospective tenants yourself.

There are many websites where you can pay a small fee to access people’s public court records and other publicly available information. Just remember that just because someone has no criminal record now doesn’t mean they never committed any crimes; however, if someone has a conviction of multiple crimes in different jurisdictions over several years, it might be worth taking extra precautions during your rental application process.

Once you’ve found a great house, signed a lease agreement, and made your initial payments, it’s time to move in! Make sure that everything works properly before moving your stuff into the new place—you wouldn’t want to get stuck paying for expensive repairs after moving day. Most importantly, though, enjoy your new home!

Landlords and Tenant’s Rights

Landlords and tenants have rights that are guaranteed by federal and state laws. While it’s impossible to discuss every situation that could come up in your search. We’ve highlighted some issues you should know about. We encourage you to do more research if you think there might be any doubt about your rights as either a tenant or landlord.

You can also contact your local legal aid office. Which will give you free advice on how to proceed with an issue related to renting. Here are a few things you should know before signing a lease Security Deposit. Before entering into a rental agreement, landlords typically require a security deposit (usually one month’s rent) to ensure that tenants pay their rent and uphold their end of the lease.

Security Deposit

The security deposit is generally non-refundable unless you break your contract early—in which case, most states require landlords to return security deposits within 30 days of termination.  If your landlord has charged you a pet deposit, make sure they explain what happens to it at move out. If they don’t say anything about pets in your lease, check with them first; otherwise, keep receipts for all pet-related expenses so you can get recompense at move out.

Late Fees: State laws vary when it comes to late fees; however, many require landlords to provide written notice prior to charging late fees and offer grace periods for payment without penalty. In California, for example, tenants must receive written notice seven days before late fees kick in.

 Tenants who receive public assistance may be exempt from paying late fees under certain circumstances. Maintenance Responsibilities: As a renter, you are responsible for keeping your living space clean and safe; however, landlords must maintain basic structural elements such as walls and roofs. Depending on where you live, landlords may be required to provide heat and hot water.

Check with your city or county government for specific requirements in your area. Renter’s Insurance: If you own valuable items like jewelry, artwork, musical instruments, or electronics, renters insurance is worth considering. It covers your belongings against loss due to fire, theft, and other covered events. There are usually deductibles with these policies; make sure you understand yours before making a claim.

Eviction Process

Unless you break your lease contract (for example, subletting), landlords cannot evict you without going through court proceedings. To begin eviction proceedings, landlords must file a complaint with a court. This complaint is called unlawful detainer and contains information regarding why your landlord wants you evicted. At least five days after filing, your landlord will serve you with papers notifying you of eviction proceedings via certified mail. Once served, both parties have five days to appear in court. Both parties then go through trial proceedings during which time each party presents evidence supporting their claims. If you fail to appear in court, a judge will rule in favor of your landlord.

If you win, your landlord must pay court costs and attorneys’ fees. You lose, and you are still liable for court costs and attorneys’ fees. Evictions take several weeks to process; Your landlord wins, they have 60 days to physically remove you from their property. Your landlord loses, he or she must wait 14 days before removing you.

If you move out before a court ruling, your landlord can sue you for double rent until a new tenant moves in. If you have a disability, your landlord must follow special procedures before evicting you.

These procedures are outlined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Discrimination: Federal and state laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. If you feel that your landlord is discriminating against you because of a protected status, contact your local fair housing agency for more information. If you face discrimination, you may be able to sue your landlord for monetary damages. For more information on discrimination laws, visit HUD’s website.

Credit History

While landlords are allowed to screen tenants for credit history, they cannot refuse to rent to a tenant because of their credit history alone. If you feel that your landlord is discriminating against you because of your credit history, contact your local fair housing agency for more information. If you face discrimination, you may be able to sue your landlord for monetary damages. For more information on credit history laws, visit FTC’s website.

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent: If you are unable to pay your rent, your landlord may evict you; however, it is illegal for landlords to lock out tenants or shut off utilities in order to force a tenant to move out. If you have been locked out or had utilities shut off without a court order, contact your local fair housing agency for more information.

Moving In  

Once you’ve found your dream home, it’s time to move in. Before you start packing up your life, be sure that everything is set up with your utilities. You’ll need water and electricity hooked up before you can take possession of your new place.

The good news is that once you move into a rental property, many of these services include in your monthly rent payments. However, if you don’t want to pay for any utility service or prefer more control over how much you spend on them, then try looking at properties that have separate utility meters.

This way, if there are any problems with your utilities or if you want to upgrade certain features (such as installing solar panels), then you can do so without having to ask permission from your landlord first.

Also, while you’re moving in, check out your local area to see what businesses are nearby. It’s always handy to know where you can go shopping or grab a bite to eat when things get busy. Plus, having access to different amenities will make living away from home feel more like being at home.

There are other things to consider when choosing your next home. For example, think about whether you would prefer a private space or shared accommodation. If you would rather live by yourself, look for houses that come fully furnished and include utilities within your monthly rent payment.

sharing accommodations

On the other hand, if you plan on sharing accommodations with roommates or housemates, then look for homes that provide basic furnishings and also let tenants choose their own furniture—or better yet, buy their own furniture outright instead of renting from landlords. Either way, deciding between a furnished or unfurnished home comes down to personal preference.

But whichever route you decide to take, just remember that you should never sign a lease agreement until you’re absolutely ready to move in. Otherwise, if something goes wrong during your search process and suddenly you no longer want to rent that particular house after all, then your landlord might charge an early termination fee (which could cost hundreds of dollars). And even worse? Your landlord may not allow you to break your lease contract under any circumstances, which means you’d have to continue paying rent on a house that you no longer live in.

So unless there’s a very good reason why you can’t move into your new place right away, then wait until you’re 100% committed before signing anything.

After You Move In 

When you’ve made an offer on a rental house and signed your lease, congratulations! There are just a few more things you need to do before moving in. Here’s how.

Inspect Your New Home Before You Move In

If there is any question about whether or not you should move into a property, don’t take any chances—find another place to live. If possible, have a professional inspector examine it first (you can find them through real estate agents or online).

The inspection process is relatively inexpensive and can save you from headaches down the road.  It’s also important to inspect your new home before moving in so that you know what needs fixing before signing off on an agreement with your landlord. And remember, if something does need fixing, it will be up to you to fix it after moving in.

Get Your Utilities Set Up Before You Move In

If your rental comes with utilities included in your rent, great! If not, you’ll need to set up a service before moving in. This can be done through your landlord or directly through your utility company. Be sure to get information on how much it will cost each month and whether or not there are any deposits. The last thing you want is an unexpected bill after moving into a new place.

Get All of Your Belongings into Your New Home Before You Move In

While it may seem obvious, make sure that all of your belongings fit into your new home before signing off on anything. It’s better to know ahead of time than find out later that something won’t fit where you planned on putting it.

Sign Your Lease and Get Any Keys You Need Before You Move In

If you don’t have keys or haven’t signed your lease before moving in, do so as soon as possible. If you need copies made or lost any originals, now is also a good time to take care of that.

Start Moving Your Belongings into Your New Home Before You Move In

If you plan on having movers help with all of your belongings, schedule ahead of time. This will help ensure everything goes smoothly and that nothing gets damaged during transit.

Move-In and Get Settled Before You Move In

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning again—don’t move into a rental home until you are 100% ready to live there full-time!  There will be plenty of time to unpack and settle in after you’ve signed your lease. Get All of Your Belongings Out of Your Old Home Before You Move In

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to get all of your belongings out of your old place and into storage or another location.

Meet Your Neighbors Before You Move In

It can be tempting to just want to unpack and settle in after moving into a new home, but it’s important that you meet your neighbors before signing off on anything. Getting to know them can help make your transition much smoother if something comes up later down the road (and it probably will).

Take Some Time to Get Settled Before You Move In

If you’re moving from out of state or have been living with roommates for a while, give yourself some time to settle before starting work at your new job. This is especially true if you plan on driving instead of taking public transportation—it can take a few days and you will be driving in a new area!

Get Your Mail Forwarded Before You Move In

If you won’t be able to access your mail after moving into a rental home, make sure that it gets forwarded to another location ahead of time.

Final Thought

A house is much more than simply four walls and a roof. Rather, it’s where you live. When looking for your next home, consider both cost and quality of life while also taking into account local surroundings (climate) and safety records.

And remember: You will likely have to pay extra fees associated with moving from your current home, so be sure to factor that into your budget as well. It may take some time, but once you find your ideal rental property, move in and make yourself at home!   


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related posts:

The Five Easiest Ways to Get a Loan for a New Home   

Buying a New Home? Check the Old HVAC System Before You Make an Offer  

Get Your Home Ready to Sell: Tips to Maximize Your Profit

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