Tenants have many choices when it comes to selecting rental property and knowing all their needs, wants and must have’s in advance will help in having a more rewarding and productive experience overall.
First a tenant needs to know what they do or do not want to address as a renter. Are you they type of person who is hands on. Do you like yard work, gardening or are you someone who prefers to just come and go without wanting to worry about exterior maintenance (yard work, trimming, mowing etc.). Are you the type of person who enjoys the city life or suburbs, Are you the type of person who enjoys cooking or prefer to eat out, are you looking for shops, restaurants, parks or schools in your rental areas. These are just a very few items that will need to be addressed prior to searching for a rental. You will want to make a list of all the items you know you must have as well as those you would like to have but can do without and your list should be kept to a minimum as the more options you require the fewer options you will have. The best recommendation here is to try keeping your list to under 5-10 main requirements. Also, many requirements may be a given and will not even be needed to be put on the list at all. Stick to the absolute essentials and if you are able to get a few extra then all the better.
The next step is to determine what type of rental best fits your needs based on your list you put together above. Are you more of a person who wants a single family home in a suburban area, or a condo in the city, or a townhouse in either, or are you more the industrial type and want the loft or commercial styled residence. Each of these types will have its own set of issues to consider from interior to exterior maintenance and who does what, to space needs, parking needs, storage needs etc. Then there are the external needs to consider, do you need a pool, gym, tennis, park, walking trials, garage, gated access, public transportation, etc. Again all these items will need to be addressed and will help in honing in on only those properties that meet your needs and requirements and will save you a significant amount of time, headache and issues once you actually select property to consider as your next home.
And last but not least is pricing. You will need to address what value you want to establish for your housing and what flexibility you have as to budget. Here you have a rule of thumb to keep your rental rates within 24-33% of your overall annual income. So when choosing your new accommodations keep in mind this does not always include many items such as utilities, (phone, cable, gas, electric, water/trash, alarm, internet, etc.), so make sure to address these expenses as well when determining the overall expenditure or your rental housing. The lower of this range you are the better off you will be when unexpected situations/expenses arise and the happier you will be with your choice.
Stay tuned for additional postings on this topic and many others in the weeks/months to come.