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Finding the Perfect Rental Home

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Unlike buying a house, renting isn't as much of a commitment. You won't be agreeing to a 20- or 30-year mortgage, but, instead, signing a one- or two-year lease. This is beneficial to you, as a renter, because if you end up not liking the place you decide to rent, you just have to wait out the remainder of the lease. Of course, you can avoid that hassle altogether by making sure you find the perfect home to rent.

What do you need?

There are many different housing options available when it comes to renting. You can choose from houses, apartments, condos, etc. Each place you look at will have a unique combination of size, features, and location. You can make sorting through all these easier by making a list of the things you need to have in your new home. Doing this allows you to narrow down your options. For example, if you know that you need more than one bedroom, you can avoid looking at one-bedroom apartments completely.


Consider the following when making your decision about the things you want and need:

  • What utilities do you want? (Do you want gas or oil heat? Air conditioning? Are utilities included in rent?)
  • Do you need there to be a washer and dryer on the premises?
  • Do you want a dishwasher?
  • How many rooms do you need?
  • How many bathrooms do you need?
  • Are you willing to live on an upper floor of an apartment building?
  • Do you need a place that allows pets?
  • Do you need a place that is handicap accessible?

The real trick in finding the best place for you is this: locating somewhere that fits your needs but also your budget. You may have to sacrifice something for the sake of your budget: for example, air conditioning or onsite laundry.

Location

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when looking for a rental is its location. You may find a really nice place for very cheap, but that doesn't mean that's where you want to live. It could be cheap because the neighborhood is bad. Find out as much as you can about the neighborhood of each place you look. If possible, drive around the neighborhood to get a feel for it. You can also research crime statistics on websites like www.bestplaces.net/crime. You should also consider how far the rental is from your job, your kid's school, and local amenities like banks and grocery stores.

Where to look

Now, you know what to look for, but what about where to find listings? There are many avenues you can take in your search for a home to rent, and you should try them all. You can never know where the perfect place might be hiding. Here are some ideas for where to look:

  • Online: The Internet can be a valuable tool in your search for a home. You can compare and contrast rentals with relative ease just by pulling them up on your browser. Don't stick to just one site, though, as it may not contain all of the listings available in the area of your search. Using several sites for your search will bring more options to light.
  • Classifieds: Local newspapers are a great place to look as well. Just call the number listed in the ad, and set up an appointment to look at the home.
  • Community bulletin boards: Oftentimes, there will be ads or fliers posted on community bulletin boards for local apartment buildings or homes to rent. You could kill two birds with one stone here by scouting out the neighborhood and, at the same time, looking out for fliers and ads.
  • Use your eyes: Sometimes, the best method is just driving around and looking. If you pass by an apartment building, stop by the office to find out about rentals. You may also see for-rent signs outside of houses as you go.

When searching for a rental, it's best not to rush into anything. Carefully weigh your options before selecting your new home. That way, you'll be much more likely to end up in the perfect one for you.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on May 14, 2010

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