Best Tips for Renting a Home


Renting a home: it means many things to many people. For some, renting a home represents freedom and excitement, while for others, it’s opportunity and upward mobility. Other will also view it has the first step toward home ownership and all the trappings of the American Dream. No matter how you cut it, though, renting a home can be confusing and challenging. It pays to have some expert help during the process.

5 Top Tips for Renting Your Perfect Home

Whether you’re an experienced renter or a new house-searcher looking for the ideal place to settle down, these smart rental tips can help:

1. Gather All Your Paperwork Ahead of Time

Renting a home can be a competitive experience. You’re more likely to land the place of your dreams if you come prepared. With this in mind, take the time to sort out your needed paperwork ahead of time. Ensure that you have it all on-hand when you go to meet with the realtor or landlord.

Depending on the owner’s preferences and the state you live in, you’ll likely need proof of income, references from previous landlords, and a completed rental application. Talk to the property manager about anything additional you’ll be required to produce. Bring it with you when you start the home search process.

2. Read the Lease Carefully

Not all contracts are created equal, and it pays to review yours to make sure it’s not hiding language that could hurt you down the road. Some leases, for example, feature restrictions on guests or pets that you might not want to agree with, so be sure to read the fine print beforehand. If you have questions, consider booking a short appointment with a real estate attorney who can explain the lease’s legal language to you.

3. Know Your Rights

Renters have rights when it comes to living in a clean, safe, habitable place. If your landlord has been slacking on balding maintenance or upkeep, and it’s beginning to affect your quality of life, say something. You may be able to require the landlord to fix the problem or withhold a portion of your rent until he or she does.

4. Don’t Settle

Most leases stretch for six months to a year. While this might not seem like a long time, it can feel like forever if you’re stuck in a place that makes you unhappy. With this in mind, don’t be so rushed to find a place that you settle for the first one that comes along. In addition to being disappointing, this can also make your rental experience a living nightmare.

5. Get Everything in Writing

If your landlord tells you that you can paint the walls, get it in writing. Whenever you make any verbal changes to the lease agreement, get it in writing. If you talk to your landlord about getting a pet, get it in writing. Writing acts as legal currency and can help protect you in the unfortunate event that anything goes wrong with your landlord/tenant relationship.

Renting Done Right

While most landlord/renter relationships clip along smoothly, these best tips for renting a house can help you find a place you enjoy, and protect your rights in the process, which makes the rental experience happier, more enjoyable, and safer for you.