Factors to Consider When Seeking Out a Rental Home

Piran Tarapore
5 Min Read

Although homeownership is what most of us have been taught to strive toward, it certainly isn’t for everyone. For example, if you have a job that requires you to move around a lot, being saddled with a house stands to actively interfere with your livelihood. Conversely, going the rental route frees you from having to worry about costly home repairs and ensures that, if need be, you can relocate in an expedient fashion. However, as many lifelong renters can attest, not all rental properties are created equal. So, if this is your first time seeking out a rental home, make sure to consider the following factors.

General Condition of the Property

Few rental properties are perfect, especially ones that have had a fair number of previous tenants. As a result of negligence on the part of former occupants and general aging, most of the rental properties you come across are going to have small problems. Provided the landlord is willing to promptly take care of them, small cracks in the walls, stains on carpeting and other easily fixable problems can be overlooked.

On the flipside, if a rental property you’re considering has massive plumbing, electrical or structural issues, you’re better off turning your attention to other prospective homes. Such issues can take a long time to fully repair, and even if the landlord is amenable to tackling them, the fact that they allowed these issues to linger in the first place should certainly give you pause. So, before agreeing to sign a lease, make sure to thoroughly inspect any property in which you have an interest.   

Location of the Property

It’s easy to see why many real estate investors tend to value location over the condition of rental properties. After all, if they’re located in popular, in-demand areas, even subpar properties are likely to command high rents. Conversely, if they’re located in unpopular areas, even brand-new, amenity-laden properties will be relatively cheap to rent.

So, if the rent attached to a certain property seems unreasonably high, research rental rates in the area. It may turn out that high rent is an inescapable part of living in an area to which you wish to relocate. Of course, this isn’t to say you can’t get creative. For example, if you’re looking to move to a large city, looking for rentals right outside of the city can be a boon to your financial resources and expand the number of affordable options.

Reliability of the Landlord

As anyone who’s lived in their fair share of rental properties can attest, landlords are anything but a “one size fits all” affair. While some landlords are extremely communicative and attentive to tenants’ needs, others actively ignore tenants and regard them as nothing more than a source of passive income. So, no matter how nice a property is, do some research on the owner before proceeding to sign a lease. With the aid of your favorite search engine, you should be able to find feedback from a plethora of current and former renters. Although it’s not unusual for a landlord to receive a little bit of negative feedback, you may want to reconsider renting from them if you find that the complaints far outnumber the compliments. 

Proximity to Other Tenants

Depending on the type of rental property you’re seeking out, you may wind up living in close proximity to other tenants. For example, since they generate so much income, many property owners make a point of finding multi-family rental investment opportunities. So, if you’re interested in keeping a fair amount of distance from other renters, limit your options to single-family properties or multi-family properties with spaced-out units. Additionally, since you can’t apply homeowners insurance to a rental property, look into convenient, affordable renters insurance policies. 

While it’s true that rental homes generally don’t represent the same type of financial commitment as homeownership, this doesn’t mean you should settle for less when seeking one out. Whereas doing your homework and putting in a little research can help you net the right rental property, signing a lease unprepared is liable to result in massive regret. To help ensure that you don’t get stuck with a lemon of a property, remember to consider the previously discussed factors when searching for the right rental home.

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