Deciding on a property to rent is a BIG decision. If you’re renting with a group, you’re making a decision for all of you. But, also, you’re making a decision that you have to enjoy (or hate) for, generally, about a year. If you’ve never rented before, here are the top 5 questions that you should ask BEFORE you rent a property.
- What is the rent?
Ok, this might seem like a basic question, but sometimes property managers misquote or advertise a property incorrectly. Always confirm the rent when you view the property AND when you sign the Lease.
- What is the security deposit?
Every landlord or property manager decides the Security Deposit for their property and the range can be pretty wide. Its also a good idea to confirm if any deductions are automatically deducted from the Security Deposit.
- What appliances are included with the property?
Just because you see appliances in a property, it doesn’t mean that those appliances are provided with the property. Always ask what is included and make sure that those appliances are listed on the Lease.
- Besides rent, what other costs do I, as a renter, need to pay?
There are LOTS of costs, besides rent. Water, electric, gas, cable, mowing, yard maintenance, repairs. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to questions about additional costs, but its important to understand what is or isn’t provided by the landlord and what you need to pay.
- What is the term of the lease?
Generally, a one-year lease term is pretty standard, but it can be variable. Again, there isn’t a right or wrong answer, but you do need to make sure that the date works with your living plan. In addition, you want to check the lease start date and the renewal/termination options in the Lease.
Keep in mind that this list isn’t inclusive of all the questions or issues that should be addressed before you rent, but it’s a good starting point.
One note: if you ask these questions and the property manager won’t give you a straight answer (or won’t include the information on the Lease), consider that a red flag.
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