While owning a home is still the dream for most Americans, there are many times when it is necessary, or even favorable to rent a home, instead. This is especially true in situations where career or family decisions could mean moving again within a short time, as well as when family finances are not yet stable enough for purchasing a home. But finding a rental that will be a comfortable home base for a family can be difficult, especially in today's crowded residential rental market. If you are currently searching for a rental home, or planning to do so soon, the following tips can help you narrow your search and make a great choice.
Determine your rental housing budget before beginning your search
The easiest way to narrow your rental property search and make the best use of your time is to determine your rental housing budget before beginning to search.When figuring rental housing costs, make sure to also include line items for utilities and services. It is wise, also, to pre-determine how you can save money on these items. For instance, if electricity rates are high in your area, but natural gas prices are low, choosing a home with gas heat may result in a significantly lower heating bill during your rental period.
Get a feel for how the property is managed and what you can expect as a tenant
Before making a final decision on any property, it is wise to get a feel for how it is managed. If the rental home is managed by a property management company, talking with other tenants can help you understand the management style and their level of responsiveness to tenant needs. In addition, speaking with current or past tenants can also help prospective renters determine whether the properties are maintained properly, before signing a lease agreement.
Consider location carefully to make sure it fits your family's needs
Location is just as important when renting as it is when buying. A rental home that is well-located should be within a favorable distance to the schools, shopping, and basic care needs of the family, as well as being within a reasonable commute of employment. Homes that are poorly located will be less comfortable and more expensive over the rental term.
In addition to the factors listed above, prospective renters will also need to make sure that the square footage, layout, and basic services and amenities are suitable for their needs, as well as making sure they understand and agree with the leasing terms. To find out more about choosing the perfect rental home or apartment, ask a real estate professional for a list of available real estate listings that would be well-suited for your family and rental situation.