Renting 101 – How to Make the Most of Renting a Home or Apartment

Homeownership may be considered part of the American Dream, but many people simply aren’t ready or eager to take on the responsibility of owning a home. If you’ve decided that renting is the right choice for yourself or your family, we’ve come up with a number of useful tips to help you make the most out of your rental experience, and maybe even save money in the long run. 

Before you sign a lease, determine your budget.

Establishing a budget is the first step – and one of the most important steps – to a successful rental experience. How much can you afford to pay in rent each month? What about utilities? Knowing what you can afford will go a long way as you peruse rental listings and decide on the best house or apartment to rent. If your budget is tight, keep an eye out for rentals that cover the cost of utilities. 

Create a list of “musts.”

You don’t want to move into a rental that doesn’t have the features you really need. A few examples of “must-haves” can include a gas stove, central air and heat, easy mobility access, hardwood floors, and so on. This list of “musts” can also include the neighborhood you choose – do you want to live in a neighborhood with a good walkability score, or are you fine with driving where you need to go?

Tour the spaces you like.

It is always key to visit any house or apartment you’re interested in renting before making any major decisions, as photos may not tell an entire story. You’ll want to view the space in person to see if it’s a right fit for your needs. 

Read your lease carefully.

This is important because a lease is a legally-binding document, and you could lose a lot of money if you don’t read each section carefully. Most landlords and property managers charge tenants for breaking a lease, and your lease may include stipulations controlling what you’re able to do in your rented space. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Property managers are eager to answer any questions you might have about their rentals, your lease, features in the rentals, and even the surrounding neighborhood. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have them – they are there to help you make the most of your renting experience.