Since the qualifications needed for buying a home have become a bit stricter since the real estate bust of 2007, home rental has become a more competitive market then it once was.
If you have never rented a home before, this process can be a little intimidating so, knowing what lies ahead can take a bit of the edge off.
Know Your Rights
It is important to know your rights before you start the search for your new rental home. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has some great information that can help you get a grasp on what to expect when renting a home.
Know Your Credit Score
Knowing you credit score ahead of time, can reduce any surprises when you are sitting in front of a property management company or a landlord. Be prepared that some landlords/property management companies will run a background check on you, verify your employment as well as verifying your income. Sometimes the charge of this verification check is your responsibility and can run up to $50.00.
Know Your Lease
Once your background check and income verification has been found acceptable, you probably will be presented with a lease. Study this lease carefully and know what you are responsible for and what your landlord is responsible for. Who pays for the lawn care and pool care? Is cable/internet/garbage included in the rental price? Who is responsible for major appliance repairs? Keep in mind that many leases are negotiable, so don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure that you get EVERYTHING in writing.
Know the Terms
Typically you, the tenant, has the right to to stay in the home until the lease is up, even if the property is sold. There are also some leases that will allow the tenant to leave early with a viable notice. On the other hand, there are also some leases that will allow the landlord to end the lease without notice. Find out exactly what the terms of your lease are.
Know the Cost
Once the lease is signed it is time to exchange money. This typically consists of the first month, the last month and a security deposit, which is normally the amount of the first months rent. This too can be negotiable. Some landlords will allow you to pay the security deposit in payments, some will forgo the last months rent altogether. The security deposit should be returned to you at the end of the lease,in the amount of time that is stated in the lease. Minus any costs of damages to the home that the landlord will be responsible for.
Renting a house is perfect if you don't plan on staying in a place for too long or if you are checking out a new city before you buy. As with any new adventure, do your research and be prepared and the experience should prove to be a pleasant one.