Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › Check Out These 6 Things Before Signing Your Next Lease!

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The hunt for the perfect rental can be a long process, especially if you have specific space, layout, room number, amenity, aesthetic and/or storage requirements. Even if you land a visit to a rental that offers everything you want and need, there are some other, less-glamorous aspects of the rental you should also note. Before signing the lease, ensure these few items are checked to save yourself money, headache and hassle after moving in!

Blinds. Love them or hate them, most rental units have blinds on windows and doors. Not only do they provide privacy (and eliminate the need to purchase curtains!), but they also help with temperature control. If your rental has blinds, ensure they are on all windows and doors (or at least the ones you need covered for privacy) and in working order. Test that each and every one can be opened and closed, as well as raised and lowered. Blinds can sometimes be pricey and difficult to install, so be sure any blind issues are resolved by your property manager/agency before moving in.

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Appliances. It can be very easy to become smitten with a rental’s view or crown molding or granite countertops and somehow overlook that it’s missing a microwave, washer/dryer or other costly and cumbersome appliance. While many rentals provide the major kitchen appliances, it’s not uncommon to have to provide your own washer/dryer and microwave. Also take note if the rental has anything extra that you will be expected to maintain (water filtration systems pool/hot tub equipment, air purification system, etc.). Account for what all is in the unit, and factor in any costs that may affect your overall move-in budget.

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Average Utility Costs. A unit’s rent may be right on target for your budget, but once utility costs are factored in, you might find yourself in over your head. So that you are very clear on your total monthly expenses before signing a lease, find out which utilities you will be responsible for, how and how often they are calculated, and what the average usage and cost is for your particular unit/layout/floor plan. Inefficient air conditioners, poorly sealed windows and outlets, leaky faucets and incorrect light bulbs are difficult to see during a walk through but can all lead to shockingly inflated utility costs come collection time.

Plus, check out our creative solutions for lowering your utility bills!

Internet/TV Permissions. While most properties are outfitted for TV and Internet these days, the offerings and specifications on what is allowed are not standard or consistent. If you have specific TV or Internet needs (because you work from home, have a current contract with a particular company or simply have preferences on speed, type of service or brand), be sure to ask what providers service the property, if dish installation is allowed and what type of high-speed options are currently installed.

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History of Pets. If you are sensitive to pet hair or dander, inquire whether pets have ever lived in the unit/property (even if there is a “no pet” policy!). Good professional cleanings can often eliminate a lot of the hair, but sometimes very sensitive folks can still have issues. Beyond just allergies, however, the presence of pets can sometimes leave behind hard-to-see stains on carpeting. Ask to have the carpet inspected with a black light, and ensure any issues are recorded in order to prevent charges passing on to you when you vacate the unit.

Neighborhood. Having the worst house in the best neighborhood is one thing. Having the best house in the worst neighborhood is entirely different. Even if you find a house that is seemingly perfect, spend some time driving in and around the community at different times of day to get a true feel for the surrounding areas. Pay attention to who is outside, when and how often. Talk to neighbors about schools, street parking, crime, etc. Find out what stores are nearby, and time your travel to your most frequented destinations (work, schools, favorite stores). If the house is perfect but the neighborhood is not, you might want to keep looking!

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Get to know your community using these tried-and-true tips!

Sometimes the most important aspects of a rental aren’t listed in the brochure or on the website and can easily be overlooked during a quick walk through. If you think you found the right rental, take an extra day or two to explore these six important considerations before signing on the dotted line. With these less common but nuisance items cleared, you can be sure you’ve found your perfect new home!

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About :

Hi, I'm Megan...wife to a U.S. Marine and mom to a high-energy baby boy! We are a military family, moving into our 5th home in 8 years! I started this blog as a way to chronicle the various "homes I have made" over the years, as well as to be a resource for ideas, tips, and tricks for making any temporary space a cute, cozy and comfortable home! I hope you'll stay a minute, take a look around, introduce yourself, and hopefully...find something you like! Have a great day!

Visit The Homes I Have Made

COMMENTS

Comments

  1. Vivian Pottinger says:
    Love the post really helpful
  2. Jena Pettigrew says:
    I get a disability check of every month. It has been very hard for me to live in apartment without my rent keeps going up. Is there anyway that the landlord can take into consideration about my disability check? As long as I do pay my rent on time. The landlord should take that into consideration.  Because when the landlord keeps rise the rent for someone who gets a disability check. It can get too expensive. Than that person have to end up moving because of the rent. To where that person might end up moving of few times until they are on the waiting list.
    • Hi Jena, thank you for your inquiry. Unless a landlord is participating in a government program that dictates rental rates, the landlord in most cases can charge rent as the market dictates. At lease renewal time it is a new contract between the landlord and tenant, and each party decides whether they agree with the other as to the terms and conditions. The landlord cannot make you stay, and if you want to stay you cannot decide the rent. If the parties do not agree with one another, then the tenant will leave at the end of the current lease term. The landlord is operating a business and needs to get the most rent possible as the landlord’s costs usually are increasing. Hope this helps!

    • jena, I have two incomes one, of which is a military pension. In Seattle, there is no rent control and I fear having my rent raised arbitrarily. Do Veteran’s have an advantage according to Seattle regulations on landlords?Can I have a contract that protects me?

      • Hi Andrew, this link may serve you some good on further information concerning veterans and housing in Washington state. Check out this one as well .
        Looking on to state veteran programs can offer you further information on your situatuin. All the best Andrew!

    • Hi, Jena,

      I agree with Pam. In addition, I would like to encourage you to see and feel your self in a position of greater power:

      If a property holder raises your rent, and you suspect it is Because of their response to your being disabled, or having a currently limited income, you may call an Office or Agency of Fair Housing to file a report.

      You may also consider that if this Is the case, you may just be better off movimg to a place where this is not an issue, and view your next move as Your Choice, even if the way your Choice and need for it may have been a response to external factors. This, alone, may help you to feel, and rightly so that you Get To Choose where and how you will Live. Along these lines, I would urge you to consider that you may Not always be dis-abled, or restricted by income. If you are today, that is Today. If havimg a restricted income is your reality today, then, I believe that There Is a Better place for you to Live regardless of your current position and the possible drawbacks of it.

      This is Not to say that moving or finding a truly comfortable place to call “home” for a while will be easy Or hard, but rather to say tbat it is possible, and, that you are Worthy of Safety, Security, Comfort, Health, Love, Joy, starting from Inside of Who you are (a Person, More Than an ability level; a Person, More Than an income level). Finding a home can be more or less difficult with all such factors aside. You are not alone. You Can get through this, And find a comfortable place to Live, And a place to get all of your most important needs met (1st, within your soul & self).

      Actually, you Are just another renter. As your comments seem to indicate awareness of, there are places designed to house persons with restricted incomes. Only you can decide if That sort of environment is “for you.” If it is not, then, I would hope you ‘hold your head high’ and keep up the search, aware that rents Can go up.

      From a place of empowerment within, please recall also, that you may be an Excellent Tenant, taking exceptionally good care of the property where you dwell, and,as said, pay your bills on time… These are important to those who collect rent. With these things and more of what make you The Tenant Anyone Renting Would Want in mind, remember that when you sign a lease, probably especially with one who owns the property you wish to rent, it is Appropriate for you to ask if you can get in your contract a sentence stating that the rent you sign on for will stay the same for at least two years. That is Not an unreasonable request. If that kind of an assurance is important to you, then, you Can skip any searches where a rent increase is likely.

      Either way, here’s wishing you only the best in all respects.

  3. hi, looking for Town house three bedrooms at Ariving dallas tx.
  4. Donald Perpignan says:
    These are some very helpful tips for everyone
  5. Hi, Jena,

    I agree with Pam. In addition, I would like to encourage you to see and feel your self in a position of greater power:

    If a property holder raises your rent, and you suspect it is Because of their response to your being disabled, or having a currently limited income, you may call an Office or Agency of Fair Housing to file a report.

    You may also consider that if this Is the case, you may just be better off movimg to a place where this is not an issue, and view your next move as Your Choice, even if the way your Choice and need for it may have been a response to external factors. This, alone, may help you to feel, and rightly so that you Get To Choose where and how you will Live. Along these lines, I would urge you to consider that you may Not always be dis-abled, or restricted by income. If you are today, that is Today. If havimg a restricted income is your reality today, then, I believe that There Is a Better place for you to Live regardless of your current position and the possible drawbacks of it.

    This is Not to say that moving or finding a truly comfortable place to call “home” for a while will be easy Or hard, but rather to say tbat it is possible, and, that you are Worthy of Safety, Security, Comfort, Health, Love, Joy, starting from Inside of Who you are (a Person, More Than an ability level; a Person, More Than an income level). Finding a home can be more or less difficult with all such factors aside. You are not alone. You Can get through this, And find a comfortable place to Live, And a place to get all of your most important needs met (1st, within your soul & self).

    Actually, you Are just another renter. As your comments seem to indicate awareness of, there are places designed to house persons with restricted incomes. Only you can decide if That sort of environment is “for you.” If it is not, then, I would hope you ‘hold your head high’ and keep up the search, aware that rents Can go up.

    From a place of empowerment within, please recall also, that you may be an Excellent Tenant, taking exceptionally good care of the property where you dwell, and,as said, pay your bills on time… These are important to those who collect rent. With these things and more of what make you The Tenant Anyone Renting Would Want in mind, remember that when you sign a lease, probably especially with one who owns the property you wish to rent, it is Appropriate for you to ask if you can get in your contract a sentence stating that the rent you sign on for will stay the same for at least two years. That is Not an unreasonable request. If that kind of an assurance is important to you, then, you Can skip any searches where a rent increase is likely.

    Either way, here’s wishing you only the best in all respects.

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