There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages that come along with renting a home as opposed to owning one. The major benefits of renting include increased flexibility of location, the ability to shop around for the right combination of cost and amenities and that there is no long-term financial responsibility, like a mortgage. Downsides include a lack of long-term security for your living situation (rents can go up, buildings can be bought) and the inability to build equity via ownership.
Let's look at some crucial information that can help you make the most of living in a rental unit and avoid common pitfalls.
Renting a home can pay off, but you need to pay close attentin throughout the process.
Look closely at the financial details
Apartment, condo and other rental property prices can vary significantly based on the terms set by the landlord or person offering a sublease. The cost of some rentals includes nothing besides the unit itself, while others package a variety of utilities and services into the price. As you review the options on the market, keep close track of these differences. U.S. News & World Report pointed out the significant impact that necessary utilities can have on a budget. You can expand your search and stay within your budget - which should roughly be about 30 percent of your income - when you realize that a seemingly high-priced apartment you see listed will also save you a few hundred dollars a month on your utility bills.
Don't speed through the visit
A viewing can reveal all of the things that are unobservable in listings, from the general feel of the unit to flaws that don't show up in photos. Rent.com mentioned an important thing to pay close attention to is the presence of strange or pungent odors and stains. These issues don't necessarily have to be automatic deal-breakers, strong smells aside. If you point the problems out to the landlord and secure an agreement to have them fixed, or document them so you aren't on the hook for fixing them when you move out, you can still enjoy a space that is otherwise to your liking and in your budget.
Other things to consider include the strength and integrity of locks, doors and door frames, as well as windows and other points of access. Checking noise levels, both from neighbors and outdoors, is also important.
Consider the move-in process
A third- or fourth-floor walk up can give you a little bit of extra exercise each day, and if the apartment is otherwise great, it may not seem like a big deal. While it can make lugging the groceries upstairs more of a pain, the major issue is moving in. Not only do the number of steps lead to a more intensive effort, small landings on staircases and narrow corridors also need to be considered.
Working with professional movers can make the early stages of renting a home much easier. They'll handle the heavy lifting and have plenty of experience finding solutions for moving problems like tight spaces and lots of stairs. To learn more, get in touch with the experts at Atlas today!