Getting your hands on a rental in the US can be a tricky task, especially if you’re new to the process. However, with some careful planning, some specific tips and tricks and patience, you’ll be sure to get your ideal home. In this article we will discuss these ideas a little more in depth.
Create a budget
First thing’s first, you need to set a realistic budget, to make sure you don’t spend too much every month. Rent will be your biggest expense, so it’s important to choose correctly. Experts generally recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your gross income on rent. Keep in mind all other expenses relating to your home, from bills to maintenance.
Once you have a clear idea of your budget, you can begin your search with a targeted focus on your preferred location. To do so, many are now using websites like Rentola, that permits you to filter per price, location, size and much more. You’ll guarantee finding the best place without wasting any of your precious time.
Start your search early
One thing about the rental market in the US, is that it can be very competitive, especially in larger cities. Therefore, it’s important to start your search early to increase your chances of finding the perfect rental. If possible, start looking at least a couple of months before moving in day. This will give you enough time to find the right place, fill out the necessary paperwork, and make any necessary arrangements for your move.
Research your preferred location
When looking for a home, you’ll want to consider your preferred location. Research the neighborhoods you are interested in to get an idea of the cost of living, crime rates, public transportation options, and other factors that are important to you. Websites like NeighborhoodScout and City-Data can provide valuable insights about various neighborhoods, including demographics, schools, and amenities. Also, you can drive around or walk in the area to get a feel for the location. This will mean you can relax and feel comfortable in your new area.
Contact property managers
Once you’ve identified a few rentals that meet your needs and budget, you should contact the property managers to schedule a viewing. You can also ask them for additional information about the property, such as pet policies, move-in fees, and lease terms. Remember to be respectful and professional when communicating with the property managers, as they will be making the final decision on whether to rent to you or not.
It’s important you get all the necessary information during the viewing. Keep an eye out for the appliances included in the rental, as investing in expensive extras once you’ve moved in can soon add up. Check windows for double glazing as this will save you money in the long run. Also, check what type of water heating system is installed and how new the boiler looks.
Be prepared for the application process
When you find a rental that you like, you’ll need to fill out an application to apply for the property. Be prepared to provide personal information, such as your social security number, employment history, and rental history. You may also be required to pay an application fee, which can range from $20 to $50. If you have any negative marks on your rental history, such as late payments or eviction, be prepared to explain them to the property manager.
You can also get a guarantor, if your income or credit history isn’t ideal. This can be a family member or even a friend. They become responsible for any unpaid rent, so do realize it’s a big responsibility, not to be taken lightly.
Be ready to negotiate
If you find a rental that you like but the rent is a little too high, you can try to negotiate with the property manager. Be prepared to make a counteroffer that’s within your budget, but also be realistic. If you’re a good tenant with a strong rental history, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent or better lease terms.
This of course depends on the area you’re searching in. When looking in urban areas, it may not be the best idea, due to high demand. Landlords will tend to go for the easiest, most stress-free option.
Read the lease carefully
Before signing a lease, make sure to read it carefully and understand all of the terms and conditions. Ask the property manager to explain any clauses or provisions that you don’t understand. Pay close attention to the move-in date, the amount of the security deposit, and any fees or penalties that may be assessed if you break the lease. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the furniture, in case there’s a dispute further down the line.
With these tips, you’ll be sure to find your ideal pad, and move in sooner rather than later!
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.