Finding the right rental home
Space, location and your lifestyle are primary factors you should consider during your rental search.
Types of rental homes
There are many different types of rental properties, and some will likely work better than others for your budget and routine. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each property type and envision how your home will fit into your daily life and long-term plans.
Apartments and condominiums: Apartments and condominiums can provide you with a maintenance-free, on-the-go lifestyle. Those located in urban settings often offer walkable access to shops, restaurants and public transportation. They may also offer varying degrees of amenities from gyms to the reliability of an on-site property manager. Condos tend to offer more amenities — such as pools and concierge services — though they usually come with a cost called homeowners association (HOA) fees. If you are looking at a property that is part of an HOA, be sure to find out if you will be responsible for that monthly fee or if it is already included in your rent.
Townhomes: Townhomes can offer the benefits of condominium and single-family living at a more affordable price. They typically offer two levels with good living space and frequently include amenities such as parks and playgrounds. They tend not to require a lot of outside maintenance, but with that comes less privacy than a single-family home.
Single-family homes: Typically, these are the largest of the property types, providing the most privacy, quiet and space. However, more space may mean a higher price and greater upkeep, because you may be responsible for some of the home’s maintenance and the yardwork.
Finding the right location
Different locations offer different benefits, so it’s important to think about what you need and want in your neighborhood and community. Do you care about schools? Is walkability a must? Make sure you’ve determined your priorities before looking at a property and consider ranking them in terms of importance. Key location features you should take into account are:
Urban or Suburban. Do you want the convenience and walkability of city life? Or do you want a larger home with a yard, away from the hustle and bustle?
Schools. Do you have school-age children? If so, you’ll want to consider the schools in the community.
Proximity to your job. Are you willing to make a 45-minute drive to work, or do you want a shorter commute?
Access to Public Transportation. Do you need access to public transportation? Look at local transit schedules and maps to understand what locations could work well for your routine.
Size. Is a three-bedroom home with a fenced-in yard for your dog a priority? If so, you may need to consider homes farther from a city center.
Safety. Conduct research to determine if the property is an area where you will feel comfortable living. When touring the property, check that windows lock and deadbolts work.
Who will be involved?
Depending on who you plan to live with and where you’re looking to rent, there are a variety of people you may consult with during the rental process, including:
- Landlords. These can be individual property owners or large property management companies. Sometimes an individual landlord will hire a property management company to handle the rental.
- Real estate agents or brokers. They help you find a property for a fee. Sometimes the landlord pays the fee and sometimes the renter pays the fee.
- Neighbors. They are great resources to help you learn more about a neighborhood or a rental community. When touring homes, don’t be afraid to chat with your potential neighbors.
- Roommates. They can help you cut down costs but may have their own set of must-haves. Be sure potential roommates understand the responsibilities you agree to when signing a lease.
When deciding on a rental home, you’ll have to prioritize what’s right for you and your lifestyle. Remember to consider how location will impact things such as your commute, nearby amenities and the type of rental homes available.