Finding the perfect rental can be a difficult and overwhelming process. It can be hard to keep track of the most important things to look for in a certain rental. And while everyone has their own set of criteria, there are some vital aspects to consider while starting your rental search.
Evaluate the Location
An important factor when making a decision about where to live is location. Typically, the closer the unit is to your work, the better. However, living in a larger city can be more expensive than living just outside of it. Both urban and suburban locations have their pros and cons.
Urban areas might have a higher dollar figure for the rental costs, but suburban areas have more hidden expenses. For example, groceries can cost more in the suburbs than in the city. You also generally need to drive to get anywhere in the suburbs. This makes your transportation costs go up, whereas, in the city, it is generally easy to walk or use public transport.
Check Into the Area’s Safety & Security
An important feature that should come with any unit, security can be overlooked. It is always important to speak with your potential landlord or property manager to see what safety measures they have in place. Check and see if the locks on the unit have been changed between tenants. While this may seem like a requirement, it actually depends on the laws of each state.
It is crucial to check crime statistics for the area in which you are looking to rent. Depending on what those are, certain crime deterrents may take priority for you. However, there are a few safety features that should be met, no matter where the unit is located. For example, the exterior of the unit, the stairwells, and common areas should all be well lit enough to deter crime. Ideally, these units should also have cameras by the entrances as well.
An issue that is especially common in urban areas, parking specifically for your unit is something to be considered. If parking is provided, check and see if there are signs posted that explain these rules. Talk to the landlord as well to see what their measures are for protecting their tenants from unauthorized users.
Ask About Appliances
Landlords are not required to provide appliances in their rental units, which may come as a surprise to renters. Keep an eye out for units that have these provided. One thing to keep in mind with appliances is that, if they break, repairs will need to be scheduled.
Going to the laundromat can be a hassle, so keep an eye out for an in-unit washer and dryer. Even if there are washers and dryers located on the property, that’s a plus. Rentals that have these may end up being more expensive, but the convenience may be worth it.
While looking at the rental, try to check as much as you can. This includes light switches, faucets, and toilets. Issues like flickering lights or exposed wiring could be a sign of a serious electrical problem. Faucets should work properly and toilets should flush. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Look Into the Storage Options
Make sure that there is enough storage space for your needs. Check the closets and/or pantry to see how much room they have. If there is limited space in the rental, check with the landlord and see if there is alternative storage. This can be in places like the basement or an outdoor storage shed.
Understand Your Needs Regarding Outdoor Space
Having an outdoor space is definitely a preference that varies person-to-person. If you love having an outdoor space, then prioritize that. If there isn’t a private backyard, then see if there is a balcony.
If having an outdoor space at your unit isn’t a necessity to you, but you still like having something nearby, check out local parks. This is especially necessary if you have a pet that needs exercise.
Figuring out your priorities is a huge step in looking for a rental property. Everything that has been listed in this article is important, but their order depends on you. Locating your perfect rental will become much easier once you have a rental search checklist. Always make sure the basics are there first before you move onto the specialty features you want.