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Renters Beware ! Things To Look For When Renting.

If you can't afford to purchase a home or apartment just yet, your next best solution may just be to rent. Moving can be an exciting yet confusing time and finding a suitable place may be a daunting task and there are certain things that should be considered before making such a big step. Here are a few tips that should be considered before signing your name on the dotted line.

1. Budget - Decide how much you can afford to spend and try not to exceed your spending limit. Narrow your search according to your budget, it is understandable that at times you may have to compromise when it comes to getting a bigger apartment or getting an apartment in a better location, however, make sure it is worth spending that extra cash. If you have a smaller budget, getting a roommate is another viable solution, but make sure you know what types of people or habits you would like to avoid.

2. Where To Look - Using an apartment broker is a good choice when you are trying to find an apartment, but many people choose to avoid this avenue due to the extra cost attached. The more affordable option would be to check newspaper classifieds, rental websites or college notice boards. Checking out your options will allow you to have a better understanding of the rental market and you put yourself in a position for a better deal. Don't forget your about 'word of mouth', tell your friends that you're looking for an apartment and who knows, they may know of an apartment in their area.

3. What To Look For - It's easier to find an apartment when you know exactly what you are looking for, advice? Get a sheet of paper and write down a list of things you require. Do you want a place that allows pets? Do you want a place that is kid friendly? Do you want a place that is quiet? Do you want a place that provides Internet access? What about a dishwasher or laundry facilities? It's also good to visit the area at different times of the day, just to get an idea of what to expect.

4. Renter's Background - Similar to a cover letter when applying for a job, the renter's resume should include information that will give you an edge over other applicants and show the landlord that you are trustworthy applicant. Anything from references to your monthly income make you look good to and can be used as leverage.

5. What's In The Package? - This is probably one of the most important things to look out for, having a clear understanding of what is included in package will affect whether or not you take the property. Does the property provide cable or Internet? Is electricity and water included? Make sure that your landlord informs you of the average utility bill so you don't see any surprises.

6. Always Read Before You Sign - How many times have you ever signed a document without reading the fine print? Think about it. This is a big 'no-no' when it comes to renting, it's a common mistake that is made by a lot of renters who then end up getting the short end of the stick. Ensure that the landlord gives you a list of any rules or regulations and ensure that you thoroughly check before signing that new lease. Examples, the rental price, the beginning and expiration of the contract, repair responsibilities, is subletting allowed, is there a penalty for exiting the contract before the expiration date.

7. Contractual Issues - Renting is a big move, so you must ensure that you're covered, so never sign a lease without first seeing the apartment. Some contracts have an automatic renewal clause, your best bet is to stay away from these contracts, because you never know what the future holds. You can easily change your job or move and having a renewed contract will force you to pay even though you are not living there.

8. Inspect The Apartment - When looking for an apartment to rent or lease, it is important that you do not let the surface features deceive you. Look for any damages and ask for them to be repaired, otherwise you may just be blamed. Some key things to look for are leaks, whether it be water or gas, check to ensure that all electrical appliances are working, check to see if all windows open and close properly. The small things go along way towards having a happy home.

9. Negotiation - Once you have found a place that is to your liking and has the amenities you require, it is now time to strike a deal. If it's a landlord that has multiple properties it may be harder to get a cheaper price, but if it's a landlord that is just seeking steady monthly income from an uninhabited house, it may be easier to get a discount.

10. Sign On The Dotted Line - Now that you have agreed upon a price that is comfortable for both parties, it is time to put the finishing touches on deal. Remember to tie up all loose ends that are not specifically outlined in the contract.

New renter's may have more insight to add, so tell us what you think in the comments.

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