Following these four confidence-boosting tips will help first-time renters feel in control when renting a home for the first time:
An excellent rental agent generally has your best interests at heart, but ultimately, real estate professionals and property landlords want the same thing: to get their property rented.
On the other hand, as a first-time renter, you are looking for a fair deal on a quality home to lease. As such, you must be your advocate and watch your back.
Here are four ideas to help you keep focused and on track:
- Know what you want – this is the first rule to getting what you want.
- Ask questions – the only wrong question is the one you didn’t ask.
- Take pictures – document every flaw and take notes, or you may be charged for it later.
- Demand everything in writing – if it’s not written, it’s not guaranteed.
Show them you’re someone to be taken seriously, and chances are they will.
- Research the neighborhoods you’re interested in living in before you start looking. This will give you a rough idea of what you can expect from the local rental market (e.g., size, condition, rates, and lease terms.)
- Take time to learn all the local rental jargon to minimize the risk of misinterpreting what the landlord or rental agent says. You are committed once you sign the dotted line, and it will be too late to renegotiate.
Depending on your desired location, the rental market can be pretty hectic. Some properties move quickly, and others take longer to lease. Knowing which describes rent homes in your area can help you determine how fast to move through the process and help you time your move appropriately.
Be sure you gather all the necessary documents that you’ll need to finalize a rental before you go to view it. This will show the property manager that you are serious.
The items often needed to secure a rented home include:
- tax returns
- pay stubs
- bank statements
Be confident and ready to answer questions about your recent pay and credit history, especially if it isn’t perfect.
Unfortunately, plenty of rental scam artists target unknowing renters, particularly renters searching online.
Take care when looking for a rental home on Craigslist and the local classifieds. Remember, don’t hand over any personal or financial information before meeting with a qualified landlord or licensed rental agent.
Finally, and most importantly, never sign anything before reading it, and you should not put any deposit down on a rental property you haven’t first seen in person.