When you rent a house, the last thing you want is for there to be any nasty hidden surprises. Renting a house is a big decision and a big financial commitment, so it’s important to make sure that you do your research beforehand. There are several things you should watch out for before you make that commitment. Here are a few things you should avoid when deciding whether or not to sign that lease.
Before signing your lease agreement, carefully go over the fine print. Something that seems too-good-to-be-true might actually include hidden fees which you’ll later regret agreeing to pay. Some fees, such as amenities or installation fees, are usually legitimate. Others, such as guest fees, nonrefundable deposits, repair or cleaning fees, and administrative fees, fall into the category of fees which may not be appropriate, and which you will want to avoid. If you feel confused or uncomfortable about any part of your lease, bring it up with the management. It is always better to ask for clarification than to regret your silence later.
Rental scams are another problem to look out for. It can be easy to spot them—if the landlord avoids meeting you in person, wants you to move in without seeing the property first, asks you to send money through the mail or wire money to them, offers an unrealistically good price, makes typos in the listing, and lacks a screening process, chances are they’re dishonest and want to cheat you.
In order to avoid falling victim to a scam, meet your prospective landlord in person and be sure to see the property with your own eyes. Ensure legitimacy by using credible avenues—you can avoid scams by working with a legitimate home rental company. Look them up online and check their reviews.
Damage in an apartment or house could indicate that the landlord is unreliable when it comes to making repairs. Only sign a lease if the home is move-in ready, not mid-renovation or in need of maintenance. The same principle applies to bad odors or stains—you don’t want to move into a home and find it has problems with mold or mildew. Signs of neglect could end up being just the tip of the iceberg.
When you’ve decided on a property, do a careful walk-through and document any damage from previous tenants. This way, you can protect yourself from illegitimate damage charges which could result in the loss of your security deposit.
When looking for a rental home, you’re looking for a home that will keep you safe and a landlord that will treat you fairly. Watching out for scams, hidden fees, and other red flags such as property damage will help you find the best home for you.
Here’s another article we think you’ll enjoy: The Benefits of Buying a Condo
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