Ah renting, (pause for dramatic effect) a time that can be stressful and nerve racking. That’s why I’m here to take some of that stress away. Over the next couple weeks, I will be in the process of moving to a different apartment. I thought it appropriate to write about all the things I wish I knew to do before I moved into my last place. Here is a list of 6 things to look for or ask about before signing the lease.
#1. Ask When the Place was Last Inspected.
This simple question can save you so much trouble in the future. Most landlords will fix almost everything while you live there, but just in case you have a landlord who isn’t around a lot or to save you from getting blamed for something that’s not your fault, it’s good to ask. Better safe than sorry right? Landlords usually have places inspected once a year, some even twice, so if they say it’s been longer than a year, insist they get the place inspected again.
#2. Check the Water/ Water Pressure.
Instead of finding out after you move in that your shower will only work normally half the time and the other half be scalding hot, check the water, especially in the shower. Sadly, this is what happened to me. When I asked the maintenance man to come fix it, he just said that it happens to him too and to try a simple fix he gave me. Unsurprisingly, the fix only worked half the time. It might seem awkward or imposing, but looking at things like that will actually show the landlord that you know what you are doing and make you seem more confident.
#3. Check the Cell Phone Reception.
Although I haven’t had any trouble with this personally, I do have friends that, where they live, they need WIFI or they aren’t able to use your phone. This might not seem like a huge deal, but you’re going to want it when you’re waiting for your internet to be set up or when your WIFI gets slow from having too many people on it. Phones have become such a huge part of our lives and although I’m sure many don’t want to admit it, we can go a little crazy if there is no signal.
#4. Take a Picture of Any Imperfections.
This can be done before or after you move in. If done after you move in, do it on the day of. Taking a picture of any knicks in the wall or ceiling, cracks in the flooring, or stains on a carpet will prove that they were there before you came in. It will save you from getting blamed for anything and they can’t make you pay for any damages.
#5. Make sure you’ll be able to afford EVERYTHING.
If it’s your first time renting, you might not realize how many factors go into having a place to live. If you have already rented, this is a good reminder. Most places, when they tell you how much rent is, don’t include utilities. On top of that, you might have to pay maintenance, common area, and/or parking fees. Then you’ll have to pay for internet, sometimes electricity (if not included in the utilities), and maybe even a package handling fee.
Now all of this can sound pretty scary and intimidating, however it doesn’t have to be if you think about it all beforehand. Instead of getting blind sided by the bill, ask about exactly what fees there are and if your landlord is responsible for paying any. The prices of everything can vary depending where you live, how your landlord manages things, and if you have a roommate or not. For me, utilities, including electricity, was an extra $70. Some people might be paying more or some less, just make sure you know exactly how much you will be paying in order to set an accurate budget.
#6. Check the Lease.
Lease agreements can be quite long and not very fun to read, but your future self will be thanking you. It is a very good thing to know all the ins and outs of your contract. This way, if you’re late paying rent, you know exactly if there’s a late fee and how it will be handled. You’ll know how long of a notice you need to give before moving out and you’ll know exactly what your landlord is responsible for. This means, you will know if someone is trying to pull one over on you. It might seem very tedious, however it’s probably the most important thing to do when renting.
There are so many more things that can be helpful to look at or know before renting. If you want to see a part 2 to this, please let us know in the comments or by contacting us on social media. Also, if you have any questions feel free to reach out. I hope these tips have saved you some future trouble!