Tips for First Time Renters
By Colin Ryan
While it may not be as intimidating as buying, renting your first home presents a number of challenges and pitfalls. Here are some tips for overcoming them.
A good rental agent has your best interests at heart, but ultimately Realtors and landlords want the same thing: to get their property rented. You, on the other hand, are looking for a fair deal on a quality apartment. As such, you’ll need to be your own advocate. Know what you want. Ask questions. Take pictures. Demand everything in writing. Show them you’re someone to be taken seriously.
Do some research about the neighborhoods you’re interested in living in before you start looking to get a rough idea of what you can reasonably expect from the local market. Take some time to learn all the rental jargon to minimize the risk of misinterpreting what the landlord or rental agent is saying.
Depending on your location, the rental market can be pretty hectic, with properties moving quickly. Be sure you have all the documents you’ll need to score a rental before you go to view it. This includes a checkbook, tax returns, paystubs, and bank statements. Also, be ready to answer questions about your credit history, especially if it isn’t exemplary.
There are plenty of scam artists in the rental game, particularly with so many renters searching online. Take care when looking for a rental on sites like Craigslist, and don’t hand over any personal or financial information before you meet with a landlord or rental agent in person. Finally, never sign anything before reading it, and never put money down on a rental you haven’t seen in person.
Published on July 3, 2013